Leveraging the Cloud for WinCC OA
The SIMATIC WinCC Open Architecture (WinCC OA) is a versatile SCADA system that can be used to control, monitor and supervise plants and operations in almost any line of business. It can be used as a standalone system, or can be scaled to a distributed system, connecting up to 2,048 standalone systems. It can also be connected to a Databases to archive process data from machines and production flows. Having seen numerous companies leveraging the flexibility of WinCC OA to fit their custom needs, we at SAM IT Solutions have taken the initiative to help them further leverage some modern cloud platform capabilities, that might help them stand out in the industry.
With all modern technologies drifting towards the cloud, we try to identify a few areas within WinCC OA that might benefit from the cutting edge technologies being used worldwide. Here are three key areas of improvement:
- Data Analytics – There is already a powerful tool within WinCC OA for analytics – SmartSCADA. However, with so much advancement made in Big Data, using platforms like Elasticsearch and Kibana might help your company save valuable time and resources. Logstash can be used to gather data from all alerts. Once your data is migrated to Elasticsearch, graphs and visualizations can be created very rapidly, and you can easily see trends for key indicators from your WinCC OA setup.
- Reporting – WinCC OA has provided a SOAP(Simple Object Access Protocol) reporting interface to facilitate creating reports from third party tools. Some tools to integrate with are BIRT, Reporting tools from the Elastic Stack X-pack, or simply a custom made Python script implemented from Reportlab, Jinjas or/and WeasyPrint libraries.
- Dashboards and UI – Using web frameworks like Django, Flask, Ruby on Rails, Express etc. can give your web interface the look and feel of a modern application. Using these frameworks, you can create and host your UI in the Cloud. Below is an example of a Dashboard created by us for a customer using WinCC OA for their solar plant. This dashboard is directly connected to the WinCC OA server and displays real-time data and trends as you can see above.
Now you might be wondering how to connect the WinCC OA system to the tools and frameworks mentioned above. The answer is simple — really — transfer the concerned data points from the underlying database to a modern DB of your choice. If you use Oracle DB with WinCC OA, then your task ahead is even simpler. While some tools can readily integrate with Oracle directly, it is nevertheless easy to migrate data from Oracle to another database like MySQL DB, MongoDB or PostgreSQL. However, if you use History DB in your WinCC OA application, then you have to use some programming tricks to leverage some packaged WinCC OA interface libraries. To find out more, you can refer to our blogs below:
The possibilities of integrating a cloud infrastructure are endless, and not at all limited to the points above, maybe you just want to use the programming capabilities of the latest python libraries on your data points. If you have any ideas that you might want to share with us, or if you are curious about how we can help you with your custom WinCC OA architecture and needs, please do not hesitate to give us a call at +1-919-800-0044 or e-mail us at [email protected].
Control Infotech, our Industrial Automation partner applies substation automation domain expertise in the realm of utility grid-tie solar generation plants. Complete solutions from Grid-tie engineering, protection & Control panel build, relay programming and PV plant asset monitoring are among the solutions they offer. The SCADA system is technologically the most advanced. It offers user friendly features on a non-proprietary commercially available platform. Customers benefit from a stable and powerful monitoring and control platform that can be seamlessly expanded and deployed on a Cloud platform.
Suyash Kanungo, BTech, MS
SAM IT Solutions