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PLCs are the most common intelligent system in the automation market. Most of them are not connected for 2 reasons: they are old or due to security concerns.

Business case

An automation solution provider needed to manage his PLCs in the market from the Web to provide a new level of service to the customer (24/7) with an annual fee.

Hardware Setup

PLCs are very reliable and a standard de facto in the automation market. Most of them installed during the '90s are still there up and running.
Just the modern ones are providing connectivity like LAN in general, but customers prefer to keep separated (via hardware) the PLC from the Internet.
In this case Iomote X400 Gateway is been the best choise since it's able to talk with the PLC via serial port (RS485) and its limited to read values (not to write) in order to guarantee max security.
The RS485 communication protocol is not a standard one (like Modbus for example) but the PLC offers a custom one with a simple request-response structure.
This protocol has been programmed on the X400 Gateway using the Arduino IDE in less than 6 hours, leveraging also on the libraries available across the Arduino community.
Packed data, in Json with a timestamp, are sent to the Cloud via a 3G connectivity since the customer preferred to avoid any connection to the company network.

Cloud & Application

Data coming from his PLCs fleet are generally stored into a database, but in the case of Alarms these are forwarded via an email notification to the company.
In this way the operator is always ready to answer the customer requests of support or to predict possible failures.

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