Flexible and Powerful Solution to Your Modbus TCP to Old SCADA Communication Issue

By Corey Foster

Abstract

Occasionally customers want to collect information outside of their SCADA systems due to complexity, processing power, or in this case, limited memory being available.  By using simple tools, many tasks can be performed outside of an existing network or supervisory system.

Problem

A large process plant uses a very old SCADA system with very limited memory available. On top of that, rather than using modern Ethernet-based communication methods, it relies on the old serial version of Modbus. 

When this customer adds some sensors or other type of data collection, they wish they could take the newer ModbusTCP communication and drop it into their SCADA system.

However, since they have limited memory addresses available, they want to digest the information into a more condensed set of memory locations so they don’t waste any of their precious memory.  Their desire then is to read the data into a spreadsheet and remove any blank or useless data variables and send the important information to their SCADA system.

Solution

To satisfy their needs, what the customer really wants is to read their data into a small data-collection computer (a simple supervisory HMI with database capabilities) that can put the data into a spreadsheet via ModbusTCP, but then send out specified parts of the spreadsheet out to the SCADA system via Modbus serial.

SCADA Modbus

Impact

The customer would have a very flexible and powerful solution that would collect their data, digest it into a different set of variables, and then interpret it into a different communication protocol. This will prolong the life of their ailing SCADA system while giving them the information they need in it.

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