Keeping industrial operations running amid the Internet of Things


By Quintus Potgieter. Virtualization of industrial operations data will be a very important feature of industrial control systems in a future that will see another layer of added interconnectivity thanks to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). The efficiency of data mining and analyzing is exactly what engineering entities need to keep their operations running. Wonderware’s InTouch platform is used in one-third of the world’s industrial facilities. 100,000 plants and factories around the world use it. Wonderware’s InTouch HMI software displays operational data in graphs and easy to understand animations. Something that would have taken months to comb through in the past now takes a matter of minutes or even seconds.

Engineers require Human Machine Interfaces (HMI) to display data efficiently and in an easy to understand manner. The premise is: Man meets machine, and machine talks to man in a language he understands. HMIs physically display graphical data at the actual industrial control systems, but also, are able to be ported to smartphones so that engineers can log in and analyze data wherever they might be. Wonderware’s InTouch allows for remote web HMI and Mobile SCADA so that engineers and employees can stay up to date with the industrial output of a company no matter where they are in the world.

Furthermore, any problems that arise - for example, at a machinery level - can be communicated company-wide in seconds. After that, the higher ups can decide the way forward. The data can be accessed in real time, allowing employees of an operation to stay up to date and on the same page. The more complex an engineering operation becomes, the more situational awareness is needed. Engineering and operational productivity are improved thanks to Wonderware InTouch.

Cybersecurity of SCADA systems and other ICS systems rely on HMI interfaces so that engineers are cognizant of when their systems have been targeted. HMI is central to the SCADA database’s visual representation. Automation company, Schneider Electric, who own Wonderware, have been warned by security officials that their industrial control kits are potentially vulnerable to hacking attacks. This made possible through “physical flaws” in the HMI hardware and its PLC programming. Wonderware products are not affected by the bugs, however, Schneider Electric’s Magelis Advanced HMI Panel products are.

The company who warned Schneider Electric said that the system could easily be taken down by one computer through a non-sophisticated denial-of-service attack. It is ipso facto easy to take down a company that is using the industrial control systems. Hackers are able to freeze the control panel and kick connected devices off of the SCADA system.

Therefore, cybersecurity is a big area of concern for HMI and SCADA manufacturing companies, and the companies that utilize the industrial control systems. Entire energy grids, water distribution systems, and other industrial operations could be stopped by an attack. The industrial automation revolution (Industrie 4.0) is here, and getting acquainted with the software that runs these facilities is an invaluable thing engineers and technologists can do.



Professional Certificate of Competency in Wonderware InTouch HMI

Here at EIT we offer the Professional Certificate of Competency in Wonderware InTouch HMI course that will teach you how to develop a full HMI application from scratch. You will also learn how to design graphics and animations that make it easier for fellow engineers to make sense of what is happening inside an industrial control system. The design of cyber-secure HMIs and SCADA systems are paramount in industrial operations of the modern world. You would be closely learning how to make sense of the software. The operational performance will be made more efficient in the next industrial company you work for if you master Wonderware today. You will also be able to develop a SCADA/HMI system, setting it up to show the digital data output of an industrial operation, and ensuring an operation runs smoothly. The course will also teach you how to connect the Wonderware HMI software to a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC).

As with all EIT courses, the HMI training is done 100% online, in an interactive presentation format that will train you in Wonderware InTouch. Industry experts are waiting to teach you the software from the ground up so that you can be proficient in the things that make the world of industrial automation go round. In the three month course starting on February 13, 2017, you will also learn about alarm events and management so that in the future you can save an industrial company money by minimizing downtime. You will also learn disaster recovery, backup and restore procedures. If you are in an electrical and instrumentation maintenance role or a design engineer or a system integrator, this course would be perfect for you. View full course details here.

If you have any questions about this or any of our courses, simply complete the enquiry form here and one of our qualified Course Advisors will be in touch with full details and pricing.