Back in the day when the IT folks wanted to gather data from my Modicon PLC's I put a seperate PLC on Modbus Plus Network and used Ladder commands to transfer what they wanted to it. Then I put a Gateway in between with custom built ROM that disabled the Modbus commands that could change or write to that PLC and left them with only Read Register (4xxxx).
A Phone and Android is not enough these days. In order to compete you need a network, an Application store and a stream of income that develops from that. Google sucks up all the added value from Android.
The whole of American Industry is reliant on international manufacturers like Foxconn and millions of good American jobs have been outsourced to places like India, China, Brazil , Korea, Southeast Asia, Russia and the former East European countries. The manufacturing machinery that I built for my former employer has been ripped out and shipped to Poland because of cheaper labor. American companies have no choice but to try to protect its intellectual property or see its standard of living fall to an equilibrium. It may already be too late. If you work in the Software industry their is no reason why your job should be done in a high wage country like U.S.A. or Canada. Their are many hard working programmers and developers in India who work for lower wages. Banking, Law research, Accounting, can all be outsourced. Something to think about on this Labor Day holiday. Strong intellectual property laws are one way to retain the incentive to invest in new ideas going forward. And rethink your attitudes to companies like Rambus who outsource fabs but try to retain rights to their Intellectual property.
LabView is not similar to a PLC. LabView is programmed by connect the dots picture drawing on a PC screen. PLC code is written and compiled and downloaded via a serial port into _Separate_ hardware that does not have variable output voltages that could be changed to be outside of the design range of the hardware device which was selected for a specific purpose. PLC hardware is engineered to do one specific job.
I concur with the overpriced hardware for most PLC vendors. I think AB/Rockwell is probably the most pricey.
The Software costs and Maintenance for software is also outrageous.
But when you look at DCS costs the PLC seems cheap.
You are correct the newer controllers can come with Ethernet although TCP/IP Modbus isn't the same protocol stack as Rockwells TCP. Regardless if you are going to do this I recommend that you keep the network cards seperate at least. An ethernet card is less than $50 these days. Then load different protocol stack on each card and disable bridging. Load the driver for the PLC and bind it to one card while the Other card can be used for internet. Disable bridging betwwen the two network interfaces. Use the firewall SW and block the ports. You may consider MAC Address filtering as well.
Yes I have seen those same issues in some of my work in Automated factories. The typical way to bridge Control Networks over to HMI networks is done haphazardly in many instances. The proper way would be through a Firewall router that would block ports used for PLC commands. I once commissioned a custom configured Eprom in a bridge for this purpose that allowed READ but not WRITE access to Modicon PLC's from SCADA system (operated by IT/ CS guys) to PLC's in the factory (that are the Domain of the Engineering and Maintenance people). There are PORTS that can easily be blocked in a firewall that would allow Web Email on port 80 but not allow PLC access on it's port. Also TCP/IP protocol stack may be on a different Ethernet card for Control HMI. Bridging between the cards should be disabled.
The Microsoft Windows code referenced refers to the PL7 Compiler which typically runs on a laptop and is used to download code to the serial port on the PLC.
The Windows laptop is used because it is ubiqutous and cheaper than the predecessor a customized PLC programming terminal.
Yes You could have this done over Ethernet TCP/IP. You could bridge the local Control Net to the internet and this is done in some cases. You could program from a central location in the facility. There are many reasons that you may want to do that but the safety consideration of someone accidentally remotely turning on or off a valve or causing a robot to swing into a new position means it is not commonly done in the most automated of factories. Of course each system is custom engineered for an application so anything is possible.
I would imagine in a Prison there may be a reason to program from a remote (safe) location. But I see no need to do that from outside the prison walls.
In the first place the prison control network is likeley not Ethernet. If it uses Allen Bradley PLCs in North America it is probably ControlNet a Token Passing bus topology. If it uses Gould/Modicon/SquareD/ Schneider it is probably Modbus Plus also a Token passing Bus Network. The PLC's will be executing Ladder Logic.
The Control Computer that the article talks about is only used to modify or create code for the PLC's and thereafter disconnected.It would usually only be reconnected for Maintenance reasons. The control of the unlocking or locking of cell doors is likeley by push button in the Guard control room and done through the PLC I/O.
The network is not going to be connected to the internet as that would be stupid.
The material in your dropbox account could be produced in a lawsuit by your opposition. Not that you have anything to hide but who knows what inferences and entanglements could come from that.
Patents and Monopoly are not just for the Big guys..... Witness the case of Rambus who own the rights to the Ram in your computer !
My Local brewery is Labatts !
Apple has problems, Just started re-calling the Ipad 2 . Remember Apple? That little company with 2 CEO's ? Now has one left and He's on his last legs?
The Iphone 4 was a real problem they never really solved the antenna issue. And now Samsung is cloning the next generation.
Android ? Just a hackers wet dream.
1. The infringers claimed RMBS did not invent the technology. It is now law that they did.
2. The infringers claimed there was prior art. It is now law that there was not.
3. The infringers claimed there was fraud at JEDEC. It is now law that there was not (by RMBS).
4. The infringers claimed they did not infringe. It is now law that they did and continue to infringe.
5. Now the infringers are admitting 1-4 above but claim they should not have to pay for the use of the technology they have been stealing for over a decade because they claim RMBS destroyed documents but cant point to any prejudice they suffered or any evidence of bad faith.