Monthly Archives: October 2023

Dynamic certificate management with the OPC UA GDS in the Device and Update Management system

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Easier identification, management, and security for OPC UA devices and applications

Easier identification, management, and security for OPC UA devices and applications

OPC UA is a machine-to-machine communication protocol. This protocol can seamlessly connect machine networks and company networks by transmitting machine information and defining data. Furthermore, it enables an efficient process setup between controllers and higher-level software layers. In addition, the software update model can be employed for asset management, encompassing tasks such as software installation, firmware updates, and backup. Finally, OPC UA provides certificate-based communication, ensuring secure data exchange with assets. Read more.

Access point to the central certificate management

Access point to the central certificate management. GDS

The Global Discovery Server (GDS) in OPC UA allows cross-subnet discovery services and interfaces for a central certificate management system. It manages CA-signed and self-signed certificates, trustworthy lists, and CRLs. The GDS plays a crucial role in managing CA-signed certificates, generating initial OPC UA application certificates, updating CRLs, trust lists, and renewing applications. It ensures the efficient operation of OPC UA systems.

Real-time client notification

Real-time client notification

The GDS Push Service is a feature of the OPC UA Global Discovery Server that provides real-time notifications to clients about new endpoints or changes in existing endpoints and applications. This service allows clients to subscribe to notifications about specific events, ensuring they are always updated on network adaptations. It can also work with the OPC UA Pub/Sub protocol for efficient event notifications. This feature enhances data transmission in industrial and IoT systems.

Identification of devices in a network

Identification of devices in a network. OPC UA GDS

The OPC UA Global Discovery Server (GDS) is a valuable tool for device management tools, such as the Device and Update Management system from Phoenix Contact. It supports identifying and managing OPC UA-enabled devices and applications, providing a central location for endpoint administration. The GDS also manages security, including certificates and security directives, ensuring secure communication. It also provides real-time notifications about network changes, allowing the tool to automatically adjust configurations when needed.

Remote configuration

Remote configuration. OPC UA .

Automated commissioning of new or replacement devices is crucial in the All Electric Society, as it saves time and money. Zero-touch or one-touch provisioning allows for remote configuration of intelligent end devices, saving time and money. An intelligent device management tool, combined with an OPC UA Global Discovery Server, enables this process. The OPC UA standard allows corresponding scenarios to be implemented regardless of the device manufacturer.

Read more about PLCnext Technology.

Secure remote access solutions on fleets operating worldwide

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Cost-efficient, quick to respond, and reliable with the mGuard Secure Cloud

Phoenix Contact offers secure remote access solutions for ship maintenance, allowing efficient work from afar. In addition, automation is becoming more common in fleets, enabling automated processes. As a result, manufacturers optimize these systems to improve efficiency. However, malfunctions or system failures can occur, demanding fast action. To address this, Phoenix Contact’s remote maintenance solutions utilize the internet for worldwide communication. Consequently, this enables service personnel to connect securely and reliably with maritime systems without detailed IT knowledge.

Implementation either on premises or in the cloud

The mGuard Secure Remote Service

Phoenix Contact provides users with two solutions for maritime systems: on-premises variant and public cloud. On-premises uses a private remote access infrastructure, like FL mGuard Centerport, for setting up VPNs or secure VPN connections. This allows users to store data locally and meet compliance requirements without external providers. Public cloud, like Phoenix Contact’s mGuard Secure Cloud, provides a ready-to-use remote maintenance solution and is always up-to-date, meeting European data protection standards (DSGVO, Datenschutz-Grundverordnung). IT-savvy employees are required to manage configurations, updates, backups, and restoration processes.

Flat-rate service for reliable VPN connections to China

Flat-rate service for reliable VPN connections to China

The mGuard Secure Cloud service addresses the need for secure VPN connections in China, enabling 99 percent availability without compromising access security. The China VPN+ flat-rate service allows end-to-end encryption in accordance with Chinese National Network Security, ensuring 99-percent availability without compromising access security. The robust security router of the new mGuard platform can transfer nearly 1,000 Mbps of data, allowing high-quality video transmissions. mGuard devices use trusted IPsec security protocol and advanced mechanisms, ensuring confidentiality, authenticity, and integrity of all communicated data. They can be easily integrated into existing systems using the graphic VPN Builder in the cloud.

Compatibility with PLCnext controllers

Compatibility with PLCnext controllers

The mGuard Secure Cloud is compatible with mGuard security routers, other VPN clients, and PLCnext controllers from Phoenix Contact. It allows users to establish a direct VPN connection to a PLCnext controller, which is certified by an independent accreditation organization in accordance with IEC 62443-4-1 and IEC 62443-4-2.

Control over all remote access

The mGuard Secure cloud

The mGuard Secure Cloud allows secure remote maintenance by requiring a security router or PLCnext controller. VPN connection configuration is done using VPN Builder wizards, requiring no in-depth knowledge. Service personnel need an end device with a certified VPN software client and a secure standard browser with internet access. Remote maintenance is performed on an intuitive web interface, saving costs compared to on-site visits. The premium license for the mGuard Secure Cloud includes China VPN+ costs around 3,600 euros per year, and every flight not taken is better for the environment.

Find out more on our website.

Learn more about the mGuard Secure Cloud.

Phoenix Contact automates a scalable hydrogen electrolyzer system

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hydrogen electrolyzer system.

Automation and electrification from a single source

Green hydrogen is set to replace fossil fuels in many industries, and Enapter AG has developed the AEM Multicore to make production cost-effective and flexible. Phoenix Contact experts assisted in engineering, programming, and outfitting the electrolyzer system with key components for automation and electrification. Green hydrogen’s intrinsic value stems from its ease of storage and on-demand transportation. Enapter specializes in AEM “anion exchange membrane” electrolyzers, which are more cost-effective than PEM electrolyzers while being just as flexible. The company plans to mass-produce these stacks in the medium term using a highly automated process.

Automation and electrification from a single source

Fully developed AEM stacks for series production

Enapter has introduced the AEM Multicore 450, a modular, preassembled container capable of producing up to 450 kilograms of hydrogen per day. The multicore consists of 420 AEM stack modules, each with a 2.5-kilowatt power, allowing for greater flexibility and greater process redundancy. The container also includes power supply, regulation of the electrolysis process, heat dissipation, and monitoring of process parameters, including hydrogen purity, through sensors. The fully developed stacks have already been sold in large quantities.

Close collaboration in the area of functional safety

Phoenix Contact supported Enapter, a company that developed a power supply and controller for a 1-megawatt system. The company’s services range from the development of the first small test system to the commissioning of the 1-megawatt system. Phoenix Contact’s project manager, Ayhan Birinci, highlighted the importance of functional safety in these projects. The team started working on a risk assessment before the design phase, which laid the foundation for essential design elements, including the controller. The software for the safety controller was compiled by Phoenix Contact engineers. Andreas Lautmann, Business Development Manager for power-to-X, emphasized the importance of a structured, well-documented process for design and engineering for the safety of the overall system. Furthermore, two Phoenix Contact programmers assisted the Enapter team in building a smaller test system with ten electrolysis stacks.

A challenging market situation, particularly regarding microchips

The team worked on planning control technology, which was revised seven times before the control cabinets were built. The departure of the original system planner in spring 2022 added extra work. The final changes were made during the design freeze in December 2022. Constructing the control cabinets was challenging due to supply chain issues, particularly with microchips. Phoenix Contact and Enapter worked together to keep the ambitious commissioning date, with the AEM Multicore 450 system inaugurated on May 24, 2023.

The safety portfolio includes SIL-certified components and control technology as well as comprehensive services

Control cabinets fully equipped with Phoenix Contact components

Phoenix Contact has installed components and systems in an electrolyzer, including connectors for sensors and controllers, and a PSU compartment for control. The control cabinets are equipped with Phoenix Contact components, including real-time and safety-oriented control technology up to SIL 3. The superordinate system controller is built with PLCnext products, fulfilling functions like ventilation, water pretreatment, emergency shutdown, fill level monitoring, and electrolyte solution supply. In-house 24 V DC power supplies, signal converters, and connection technology are also included.

The separate PSU compartment contains the electrical and electronic systems for the electrolysis process

Compact AC/DC converters

Phoenix Contact’s Charx power system converts 400-volt AC voltage into direct current for electrolysis. The original converters were not suitable for controlling electrolysis, leading to a replacement with a Charx series converter. The converter is more compact and efficient, ideal for installation in larger systems. Enapter ordered a complete set of AC/DC converters in mid-2022, enhancing efficiency and optimizing the PSU compartment’s cooling system.

Compact AC/DC converters.  phoenix-contact-automates-a-scalable-hydrogen-electrolyzer-system

Smooth modification of the first system

Enapter has received orders for seven more AEM Multicore systems since its first system was inaugurated in May 2023. Phoenix Contact is also able to play its part here by supplying a complete solution package of services. Enapter CEO Sebastian-Justus Schmidt stated that AEM technology will make hydrogen more economical than fossil fuels. Pre-series maturity for AEM Multicore is projected for 2024 due to strong demand. Andreas Lautmann expects IT security importance with IEC 62443 certification and integration into existing systems.

Find out more on our website.

Carbon neutrality through data-driven optimization

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A Digital Factory approach that conserves resources and is economical at the same time

Digital-Factory. Carbon neutrality.

Phoenix Contact focuses on sustainability and balancing its carbon footprint by developing automation solutions. The company aims to help other manufacturing companies achieve carbon neutrality by electrifying loads, creating energy transparency, and using renewable energies in daily operations. The All Electric Society concept describes a future where renewable energy is available worldwide in sufficient quantities and economically. Phoenix Contact’s holistic digitalization concept, “Digital Factory now,” integrates consumption data into distribution, visualization, and control of process data, aiming to control energy consumption and achieve carbon-neutral production.

Recording, evaluating, and managing loads

Carbon neutral production.

Phoenix Contact has developed an architecture called “More than Measure Energy” to integrate existing systems into modern IT systems. This architecture includes a Data Collection Box for secure integration of process and consumption data. Users can choose between a standardized Data Collection Box or a fully customized version. Phoenix Contact uses a programmable logic controller (PLC) from the PLCnext Control product family in its Digital Factory at the Bad Pyrmont location for secure communication with the OT world and IIoT devices. The company also provides solutions in the immediate production environment as well as its own EMMA cloud service for energy management.

Turning findings into optimization measures quickly

Turning findings into optimization measures quickly

A soldering system in the Digital Factory in Bad Pyrmont integrates energy-saving measures by analyzing energy data from a Data Collection Box. The system identifies standby energy consumption and allows for dynamic switch-off and switch-on times based on order data and energy data analysis. This allows for more efficient order planning in the long term. Phoenix Contact’s “MLnext” machine learning solutions can help predict field-level information, such as manual workstation utilization status, ensuring data availability. A holistic approach to optimization involves collecting and analyzing data throughout the entire production process using AI-based algorithms.

Energy data reflects the system behavior

Energy data reflects the system behavior .

Energy data can be used to evaluate machine performance, availability, and product quality using artificial intelligence (AI). Anomalies can be detected and quantities and operating states can be predicted. Collecting and storing data benefits users differently, accelerating the payback period and revealing potential. The Big Data approach applies, focusing on data-driven patterns and providing suggested solutions to domain experts. Collecting energy data leads to direct and indirect benefits, ensuring resource-efficient and competitive production.

Find out more about Digital Factory here.

Find out more about PLCnext.

Gigabit Ethernet extender with technology

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Cost-saving solution with lots of potential

Cost-saving solution with lots of potential. technology. technology expands network range and speed by extending the physical limitations of Ethernet transmission. This enables distances of up to 1000 meters over simple 2-wire cables at a maximum data rate of 1 Gbps. This technology is beneficial for industrial applications, such as computers, automation controllers, surveillance cameras, traffic regulators, building automation, and household appliances. It provides longer communication paths and a more simplified cabling structure.

High data rate and good transmission quality, or Gigabit Home Networks, is a carrier frequency method originally designed for home networks. It offers high data rates and good transmission quality on every line. It can adapt to existing line attenuation. Moreover, it can bridge cable lengths up to 1000 meters, This value exceeds the standard Ethernet range by a factor of 10. offers greater flexibility for retrofitting systems and simplifies network structure, allowing complex topologies to be implemented even with passive connections. Thanks to these benefits, the end result is a standard that will become more important in future industrial, infrastructure, and IoT applications.

Further use of the existing cabling technology.

Phoenix Contact’s new Gigabit Ethernet extender product family allows users to convert Ethernet communication to communication. This reduces effort and costs. The technology allows for the use of various transmission media, such as twisted pairs, coaxial conductors, or unused power cables, making it a cost-saving alternative to fiber-optic cables for Ethernet connections exceeding 100 meters.

Especially suitable for video surveillance systems

Especially suitable for video surveillance systems. technology is ideal for applications with high data volumes, such as those found in video surveillance systems due to its bandwidth and transmission distance. It can integrate remote cameras with high bandwidth requirements into the network, reducing the distance between cameras and network components. This technology replaces analog cameras with IP cameras. Consequently, allowing existing cabling to be used and maintaining high video image resolution without sacrificing resolution.

Easy plug-and-play installation

Easy plug-and-play installation., a technology that distinguishes itself from other technologies like SHDSL, VDSL, and SPE, describes both the physical layer (first layer) and data layers (second layer) of a network. This way, opens up the option to build and manage more complex network topologies. Phoenix Contact’s Gigabit Ethernet extenders allow you to interconnect network devices in various topologies, including line, star, and tree structures. They can manage up to 15 devices, which do not require any settings to be made, However, users should note that the maximum data rate of 1 Gbps may decrease as the number of extenders increases.

Find out more about Gigabit Ethernet extenders.