James and I had the chance to check out the new SIMATIC 127E Box PC this week, and we are happy to report that it packs a punch! The SIMATIC 127E is tiny and provides endless application possibilities. In this blog, I will discuss a couple of standard applications and a few exotic ways you could apply this tiny device.
First, let’s talk about two standard possibilities.
- WinCC Open Architecture (OA) Client
- WinCC OA Distributed System
WinCC OA is a Siemens HMI, SCADA, MES, and IoT development platform. One of the benefits of WinCC OA is a common installer for single board computers up to high-end server systems. Standardizing on one platform across the enterprise allows you to consolidate systems, reduce maintenance, and reduce your overall total cost of ownership.
SIMATIC 127E as a WinCC OA Client
The SIMATIC 127E exceeds the minimum WinCC OA software and hardware requirements to be used as a client device. The 127E industrial PC contains no moving parts and offers long-term availability of 11 years. Why is this important? Moving parts attribute to failure in the industrial world and standard (non-industrial) PCs typically offer a 3-7 year lifecycle at best. By leveraging an industrial-grade PC and long-term availability offered by Siemens, you can increase lifecycle and reduce your overall total cost of ownership.
SIMATIC 127E as a WinCC OA Distributed System
The SIMATIC 127E industrial PC extends the range of WinCC OA’s distributed architecture by supporting a full installation. You can now leverage a WinCC OA distributed application that provides user-interface, alarming, data processing, and data archiving all on the SIMATIC 127E. Imagine if you will, a location with a minimal amount of data that you need to acquire. By adding this tiny device with an installation of WinCC OA, you can start to capture your data, visualize it locally, then connect it to a higher level WinCC OA or 3rd systems. Having highly capable commercial off the shelf (COTS) software that is supported on a small IT footprint, enables you to quickly acquire and standardize your data.
Now let’s talk about a few somewhat “exotic” ways we can apply the 127E device.
- IoT Data Gateway
- Edge Device
- On-Premise Architecture (OPA) IoT Device
IoT Data Gateway and Edge Computing
One of the decisions you have to make when creating a “device to a cloud” system, is where you process your data. In one scenario, you can send all of your raw data to the cloud and let the algorithms turn your data into information. Your costs will most likely surround your cold/hot storage, and network bandwidth decisions.
In another scenario, you can take a hybrid approach, to whereas you process your data on-premise (edge-near the data source), and in turn, only send “select” data to the cloud. Taking this approach can mitigate your costs and speed up information flow. Essentially, with the hybrid approach, you are reducing your storage and network fees associated with sending data to the cloud.
Last but not least, both the 127E and IoT 2040 industrial PCs can be set up as a “device to cloud” subscription service to Siemens IoT platform, MindSphere. The MindSphere platform offers a software agent that can be installed on your chosen device to enable quick cloud connectivity.
WinCC OA On-Premise Administration (OPA) IoT Device
Not yet released, but coming soon, is the WinCC OA On-Premise IoT Suite. The suite essentially gives you two main tools.
- The ability to manage on-premise devices through a web-based interface
- Simple WinCC OA data gateway devices configurable through a graphical user interface
Functionally, the WinCC OA IoT Suite provides auto-tag import, built-in rules engine, and automatic graphics generation. Both the SIMATIC IoT 2040 and now the SIMATIC 127E extend the Siemens hardware portfolio and are perfect for the WinCC OA OPA IoT Suite of software. If this sounds interesting, check out this video from WinCC OA User Days to learn more.