Software platform

Simatic WinCC OA understands Raspberry Pi

Simatic WinCC OA understands Raspberry Pi

While digitization in the context of Industry 4.0 was previously often reserved for large, complex machines and plants, the trend is increasingly moving toward smaller projects with only a few data points. In many of these applications, the Raspberry Pi, which has risen from "hobbyist status" to industrial maturity, forms the central database. The platform-neutral Scada system Simatic WinCC Open Architecture from ETM professional control GmbH can now exchange data with Raspberry Pi without restrictions with the support of its long-standing partner Delta Logic Automatisierungstechnik GmbH.

The Raspberry Pi is being used more and more in industry. It has long since outgrown the image of the hobbyist board and has also gained a foothold in the professional environment. Its rise really seems to be unstoppable. This has less to do with the fact that it is technologically unique, and more to do with the fact that it is well-known and proven among young professionals. In later jobs, the experience gained during training can then be put to good use. Another aspect is the use of the single-board computer as part of Industry 4.0 concepts. As a panel PC, for example, it is very popular in manufacturing companies to display work instructions or to record data relevant to operations.

Communication library enables unlimited scalability

Simatic WinCC Open Architecture is well known for large, widely distributed high-end systems, such as at the European nuclear research center CERN in Geneva with over a million data points. However, to enable users of smaller projects with a low number of data points to also benefit from the advantages of Simatic WinCC Open Architecture, ETM has relied on the proven know-how of Delta Logic from Schwäbisch Gmünd. The Swabian software company develops the communication library Accon-AGLink, which has been providing the necessary communication of the Scada system with Windows, Linux and Embedded Linux as well as PLC-initiated orders in Simatic WinCC Open Architecture (formerly PVSS II) since 2004.

So it was time to also get Raspberry Pi projects running with the same communication capabilities as with the existing operating systems. For this purpose, Delta Logic ported the communication library Accon-AGLink to the operating system of the Raspberry Pi, so that the same API and thus the same source code for the communication link and even the same configuration could be used as before.

Managing Director Rainer Hönle from Delta Logic: "The requirement for this additional platform could be solved perfectly with Accon-AGLink, as the software interface remained the same. Overall, this means faster availability of the product and customers, for their part, can thus move forward more quickly with their plant integration."

Long-term partnership crowned by success

Many applications from virtually all industrial sectors have already been realized with this solution. One possible application, for example, is the use of the Raspberry Pi as an Industrial IoT gateway. Accon-AGLink ensures connectivity for the acquisition, analysis and provision of data for visualization in Simatic WinCC Open Architecture. Rainer Hönle attributes the basis for the success to the direct cooperation between the two development departments during the integration of this communication link. "It was extremely constructive and based on partnership. For me, a perfect prerequisite for the fast realization," praises the CEO.