SAE – Automation OpcDbGateway in Flex4Grid

Flex4Grid project is co-funded by the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020 in the category “Innovative Action”.

Its aim is to create an open data and service framework that enables a novel concept of managing flexibility of prosumer (consumer and / or producer) demand and generation and to open distribution companies infrastructure for aggregators.

Innovative actions may concentrate on innovation of existing products or their use in new applications. One of the products to be used in Flex4Grid is our software product OpcDbGateway.

Flex4Grid infrastructure consists of hardware gateways placed by individual prosumers and an extensive system of Web services in the cloud. System shall be used for a variety of prosumer categories. For the category of domestic prosumer, local gateways implemented by known modules Raspberry Pi are used.

Another category are big prosumers that use intelligent building management systems implemented e.g. according to KNX standard. They can use gateways based on PC running Windows operating system. For most building management systems OPC server software applications that provide conversion of native communication to communication by the OPC standard are on the market.

The advantage of a local gateway that includes OPC client application is that it can work with intelligent building management systems from different suppliers. OpcDbGateway runtime contains OPC client as well and so it can be used in local gateways.

Intelligent building management systems usually works with very large number of monitored or controlled data points. Configurator of OPC server usually can automatically identify these data points to create an OPC server address space.

For further processing of data points there is a need for a simple efficient way to configure an OPC client. Here applies OpcDbGateway configuration application that integrates data points to OpcDbGateway configurations.

Local gateway software modules communicate with the cloud mainly through MQTT publish / subscribe protocol. Information from monitoring data points are transmitted to MQTT broker in the cloud as JSON messages.

OpcDbGateway can be used for this purpose in two ways:

  • Using configurable “event” reinitiated by configurable trigger for periodic starting of external application of a MQTT client.
  • User Enhancing Module (DLL) for runtime application of OpcDbGateway.

Communication in the opposite direction can only be ensured by the User Enhancing Module, which ensures the transformation MQTT JSON messages from the broker to the process of runtime application of OpcDbGateway.

Implementation of User Enhancing Module for OpcDbGateway for MQTT enables use OpcDbGateway for other IoT and IIoT applications as well.

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