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Bedrock’s Open Secure Automation Architecture Gets an Upgrade

Ease of configuration and SCADA redundancy added to Bedrock’s open, secure control system.

Quick hits:

  • Bedrock’s open secure platform strategy
  • Intrinsically-secure control systems starts at the semiconductor level
  • Bedrock firmware updates include improved SCADA redundancy and expanded universal EtherNet/IP capacity.

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Listen to the story here:

   Read the transcript below:

Hello and welcome to Take Five with Automation World. I’m Stephanie Neil and today I’m talking about the latest technology updates coming from Bedrock Automation, which just released a software upgrade of its Open Secure Automation platform that makes it easier for users to configure and run applications inside its secure controllers.

Before we get into the actual announcement, here’s a little background for you. 

The industry has been talking a lot about open and secure automation. For decades, industrial control systems have been built on proprietary technology that creates vendor lock-in and a closed architecture that makes it hard to interconnect other best of breed technologies.

So we’ve been reporting a lot on developments coming from groups like the open process automation forum which is working on developing a standards-based, secure, and interoperable process control architecture. I myself, have written a lot about this movement, which is why I received an invitation from Bedrock Automation to visit its headquarters located outside of Boston, Massachusetts. 

During that visit, Albert Rooyakkers, who is the company founder, CEO, and CTO, walked me through the history of the company, and how Bedrock reinvented industrial controls several years ago by building security from the inside out. You see, Rooyakkers has experience in  industrial automation, from there, he moved into the semiconductor industry. And that is where the concept of an intrinsically secure control system was born.

If semiconductor technology works to secure applications in financial and military segments, then why not industrial control?

Rooyakkers told me: “We literally started with a blank sheet of paper and had the muscle and might of a major semiconductor company to make it real. A key part of what we do starts with specialized cyber-hardened digital electronics…You have to start at the smallest common denominator, which is the transistor, and build that out.”

And, after years of designing, testing, and deploying this Open Secure Automation platform, Bedrock has already delivered what other groups are still trying to piece together.

With over 120 patents, Bedrock Automation continues to evolve its Open Secure Architecture, as we can see in its latest product release. New firmware enhancements improve SCADA redundancy, enable Transport Layer Security support for MQTT Sparkplug, expand universal EtherNet/IP capacity, ease flow meter proving, and assist in diagnosing large motors.

It also impacts functionality in several of Bedrock’s secure systems and modules, including: the control system, which is built on a pin-less backplane and scalable to support thousands of I/O; the Remote control system, which provides secure automation for applications requiring from 5 to 20 I/O; the Universal Ethernet gateway which supports Modbus TCP and EtherNet/IP; and the Remote Flow measurement and control system, which integrates flow computing and process control in a single module.

In addition, it contributes to simple, secure SCADA operations by moving redundancy management from the SCADA system client to the Bedrock controller firmware. This enables seamless SCADA client failover while simplifying configuration. That’s because, according to the company, most SCADA redundancy requires more than one IP address so if there’s a problem with one, the SCADA software or system engineer finds the active IP and switches to it. But the Bedrock set up allows for the use of virtual IP addresses, enabling a single end point for a redundant pair. The SCADA software point to one IP address and the Bedrock controller finds the active path automatically.

Well, there is way more to this story unfolding, and I’ll be reporting on that in later segments of Take Five. 

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