BehrTech and MAJiK Systems Devise a Brownfield, IIoT Solution for Legacy PLCsOctober 11, 2019 by Gary Elinoff
Legacy systems can now reap the benefits of the Industrial Internet of Things without PLC reprogramming.
BehrTechTM and MAJiK Systems have joined forces to bring wireless connectivity to legacy PLCs (Programmable Logic Controllers). Their new PLC solution combines elements of BehrTech’s MYTHINGS wireless connectivity platform with MAJiK’s PLC data monitoring and analytics software suite to enable massively scalable connectivity for complex industrial environments.
Most importantly, the solution does not require PLC reprogramming.
Wolfgang Thieme, Chief Product Officer at BehrTech, described, “This PLC integration solution enables you to tap into valuable production data that was previously inaccessible in isolated, closed-loop systems.”
MAJiK collects data directly from already functioning PLCs. Then, a MYTHINGS transceiver transfers this data to a remote base station. This information is then utilized locally on an MES (Manufacturing Execution System) or an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) solution. Or, the information can be relayed to an enterprise cloud platform where it can be stored and undergo analytics.
Greenfield and Brownfield
A greenfield environment is one that has no constraints from any prior infrastructure—for instance, a completely new IoT device. A brownfield environment is an established, working system that may need upgrading. A prime example of a brownfield environment may include the “data silos” created by legacy PLC-based systems that aren’t designed to connect beyond the local network. Yes, it works, but management is deprived of the benefits of the IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things), which entails that the plant can be monitored or controlled from remote locations.
But, if the existing system is functional, why tear it down when it can be effectively improved and brought up to date? As Jared Evans, COO at MAJiK Systems puts it, “Our PLC integration solution enables companies to transform their brownfield plants into digital factories without absorbing the costs and complexities of building an entirely new greenfield plant or reprogramming legacy PLCs.”
The MAJiK Integration Platform
MAJiK has also rolled out an integration platform that collects data directly from legacy (brownfield) PLC’s. The platform supports existing devices while eliminating the need to reprogram the PLCs.
MYTHINGS is a hardware-agnostic wireless connectivity platform for IIoT (industrial internet of things) networks. MYTHINGS is particularly useful for industrial applications (as opposed to other protocols) because the massively scalable platform can be deployed on cross-vendor devices and integrated into an application system of choice. To ensure security, MYTHINGS also includes a AES 128 encryption.
At the heart of MYTHINGS is MIOTY, a LPWAN (low power wide area network) protocol that reaches over nine miles. MIOTY was specifically designed to withstand the heavy interference inherent to operating in the congested, license-free radio spectrum. Messages carry through any hostile environment as well as through metal obstructions. MIOTY can even collect data from sensors mounted in fast-moving vehicles.
MYTHINGS networks employ a star topology with one or more base stations aggregating data from many remote sensors. Network management is scalable, either through SaaS or on the customer’s premises.
MYTHINGS network architecture. Image used courtesy of BehrTech
The partnership’s first deployment was at a remote Canadian mining site, where management wanted more viability into its processes. The extremely harsh environment of the mine rendered the use of Ethernet cabling infeasible. Through the use of BehrTech and MAJiK’s PLC integration solution, the company was able to gather and transmit PLC data from an out-of-the-loop lime silo around a 300-foot heap leach. The company can now monitor the silo in real-time, heading off any potential problems and garnering the opportunity to improve performance.
What Do BehrTech and MAJiK Systems Bring to the Table?
Together, the BehrTech and MAJiK Systems partnership is committed to facilitating manufacturing environments.
BehrTech offers a wireless connectivity software platform aimed at massive-scale IIoT networks. With its commitment to interoperability, BehrTech makes it easy for end users to retrofit its MYTHINGS platform into any environment.
MAJiK Systems enables enterprises to monitor, analyze, and optimize industrial processes in real-time. MAJiK's IIoT software interfaces directly to capital equipment and facilitates the retrieval and normalization of data from any PLC, CNC, HMI, or SCADA system. The company is active in sectors including consumer packaged goods, automotive, industrial supply, farming, process engineering, and mining.