The first large-scale implementation of the Cogent DataHub®, which ran for more than 20 years, was at a chocolate making plant in Toronto. Initially tasked with providing a fast and reliable connection between a Wonderware application running in Windows and QNX-based supervisory control systems, the Cogent team introduced a real-time middleware architecture that has since been continuously developed, making the DataHub the software of choice for industrial data communications worldwide.
Food and beverage processing systems often have diverse requirements that demand specialized hardware and software combinations. Making all of this equipment function harmoniously with minimal downtime can present unique challenges. The Cogent DataHub acts as a multi-purpose tool that can adapt to the limitations off-the-shelf software, pull different systems together, and deliver a final integrated solution.
In addition to its ability to bridge OPC servers, tunnel OPC, convert OPC UA and DA, and log data, the DataHub’s built-in scripting language provides a way to transform and manipulate data in real time as it flows through the system. The DataHub API offers a means to connect custom programs to the DataHub to support in-house development efforts.
Secure and Robust
Uniformity and high quality of product output are essential in the food industry. To achieve this, the control system must be secure and robust. A single software malfunction on one machine can shut down a whole line, costing thousands of dollars in lost time and material costs. A malicious hack could conceivably contaminate or destroy not only an entire production run, but the reputation of the company.
The Cogent DataHub runs reliably in the background, month after month, year after year, quietly maintaining the integrity of the aggregated data set. Its secure-by-design architecture allows engineers and managers to configure secure, outbound-only connections from the plant to central locations for monitoring and supervisory control.
Bakery: A European household-name bakery is using the Cogent DataHub to log system data and provide it to management on the web and by email.
Candy Factory: The Cogent DataHub was first used to monitor production in a North American candy factory, by connecting a real-time QNX production system to a Windows HMI.
Dairy Products: A dairy and ice-cream plant engineer uses the Cogent DataHub to monitor his system and run analytics on production data in real time.
Brewery: Brewery automation staff that began using WebView found that the DataHub could meet their needs for data integration in several key areas.
Bottling Plant: One of the Europe’s largest soft drink bottling plants is using the Cogent DataHub to log alarm data and create end-of-shift reports.
Sugar Mills: The Cogent DataHub’s Redundancy feature optimizes connectivity between sugar cane crushing machinery and HMIs used by company management.
Grain Mill: Using the Cogent DataHub, a grain milling company in Africa replaced their PLCs and HMIs with no shutdowns―running old and new systems simulaneously.