Direct OPC UA connectivity from field to network

08 September 2015

Softing has introduced a new version of its application gateway echocollect which provides direct connectivity between field level machines and databases or networks that are using the OPC UA protocol. 

The simplified symbols-import from a Siemens TIA Portal project accelerates the configuration effort and a redundant Oracle database connectivity provides high security data management. In addition, the safety standards for the data exchange via OPC UA have been enhanced. 

Version 7.7 of echocollect allows the use of symbolic names from a STEP 7 project or a Siemens TIA Portal project (Version 13 or 13 SP1) via the newly integrated dataFEEDExporter. This helps avoid the time-consuming manual configuration of data items. The dataFEED Exporter supports SIMATIC S7-1200 and -1500 controllers as well as the more mature Siemens controller types such as SIMATIC S7-300 or -400.

echocollect’s integrated native Oracle driver provides a number of new features such as redundancy, balancing of the network load and automatic switchover from the active database to the backup database in case of failure without data loss.

"The support of redundant Oracle database systems for bidirectional connectivity with echocollect offers customers a high level of security for their data management. This way, the availability of critical applications is significantly increased,” says Vaclav Bouse, product manager at Softing Industrial Automation.

Customers that use the OPC UA standard for their process data management will also benefit from enhanced security standards. "Our customers now have the option to use certificates or user name and password for authentication, or to encrypt transmitted data. In this way, echocollect supports the highest possible security during data exchange via OPC UA," said Bouse.

The echocollect gateway enables the serial and Ethernet based connection of controllers to databases and ERP applications. The gateway independently acquires process and manufacturing data through a variety of interfaces and passes them directly to a higher-level management system – without intervening in existing controller systems. Thanks to its bidirectional PLC database communication using query commands such as SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE and CALL for calling stored procedures, even complex application scenarios are supported. In case of a break in the connection, echocollect handles the buffering of the arriving data, provides them with a time stamp and writes them to the database after the connection has been reestablished. The device functionality also includes an embedded OPC UA Server, data logging on an SD card, and integrated visualisation. 

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