Secure, Service-Oriented Architecture to Connect Mission Data to Plant Operations

Managers of larger wastewater treatment or water processing facilities sometimes prefer the data collected by Mission to be included with the client/server SCADA HMI that is part of their plant operations. Mission has provided this service to customers via the Open Platform Communications (OPC) Classic connection method for more than 10 years. In 2016, Mission released the newest connection method known as the OPC-Unified Architecture (UA). The Mission OPC-UA connection is based on the latest standard (v 1.03) from the OPC Foundation. No Mission software is required on-site because the OPC-UA server runs remotely within the secure Mission infrastructure.

What is OPC-UA?
OPC-UA is an industrial communication protocol developed for process control and is the successor to the OPC Classic protocol. It offers better security, stability, and software support with added features like multi-platform support. OPC-UA simplifies connections because it no longer depends on legacy Microsoft COM/DCOM technologies. The new protocol also makes firewall client-side configurations much easier.

What can it do?

Up to 240 data points per remote terminal unit (RTU) (based on RTU configuration) are sent to a SCADA-HMI once an OPC-UA connection is established. These include:

  • Digital inputs—labels and state
  • Digital outputs—(relay outputs) labels and state
  • Analog input—labels, absolute values, and scaled values
  • Hourly and daily information such as pump run, number of pump starts, flows, and rainfall information
  • Battery and AC voltage
  • Count of unacknowledged alarms
  • Many more enhancements

RTU data is continuously stored on the Mission data servers so the Mission web portal is always available for viewing, configuration, and other functions. Some OPC customers use Mission for telemetry and their SCADA-HMI for alarming and reporting. Others take a hybrid approach where alarm call-outs and acknowledgments are performed by Mission and their traditional system tracks history. Other managers use Mission as a backup system and only enable Mission alarm call-out functions when they are needed.

Current OPC customers can take advantage of this new technology now. For questions or more information, contact OPC@123mc.com

Advanced Multilevel Security
OPC-UA offers extensive built-in security known as UA Secure Conversation. This includes:
  • Authentication with X.509 certificates for both client and server before a connection is allowed
  • Session encryption where all messages are encrypted with 128 or 256-bit encryption before transmission
  • Message signing—meaning all messages are signed to ensure they are received exactly as they are sent
  • Sequenced packets to reduce opportunities for message replay attacks
  • User-access control—requires user authentication before a connection can be established, which further restricts access to individual data nodes
  • Auditing and logging of all user activities

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What You Will Need:

A native UA Client that is a component or plug-in to the HMI is the recommended way to connect to the Mission OPC-UA Server. Most UA clients offer advanced UA features such as multiple timestamps, function calls, or commands. For existing Mission OPC clients and HMIs without a native OPC-A client, a third-party middleware called UA Proxy can be used to translate data between the OPC-UA server and OPC Classic client. This can be obtained from multiple manufacturers. The following UA Proxy solutions have been tested and verified to work with the Mission OPC-UA Server:
  • Kepware KEPServerEX 5
  • Matrikon Matrikon OPC-UA Proxy
  • Unified Automation UA Gateway

You’re Never Alone

You will receive experienced technical support, including access to the people that built the system if needed. This includes comprehensive training, regular webinars, live support during business hours and after-hours support that is always available on a responsive callback basis for emergencies—at no extra charge.