Pharmaceutical Manufacturer Tunnels OPC Data Across Firewall

Using the OPC DataHub from Cogent Real-time Systems, TEVA Pharmaceuticals combines tunnelling and aggregation to network OPC data through its firewall and across multiple OPC stations.

Aw 4520 Cogent
Laszlo Simon, the engineering manager for the TEVA Pharmaceuticals Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) plant in Debrecen, Hungary, had a project that sounded simple enough. His task—connect new control applications through several OPC stations to an existing supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) network. The plant was already running several large Yokogawa distributed control systems (DCSs) and GE Fanuc programmable logic controller (PLC) control systems that were connected to a number of distributed SCADA workstations. However, Simon faced a couple of interesting challenges in this project.

His first challenge—the OPC servers and SCADA systems were on different computers, separated by a company firewall. This makes it extremely difficult to connect OPC over a network, because of the complexities of configuring Distributed Component Object Model (DCOM) and Microsoft Windows security permissions.

His second challenge—each SCADA system needed to access data from all of the new OPC server stations. This meant Simon needed a way to aggregate data from all the OPC stations into a single common data set.

After researching his solution options, Simon downloaded and installed the OPC DataHub from Cogent Real-Time Systems, based in Georgetown, Ontario, Canada. Very quickly, he had connected the DataHub to his OPC servers and determined that he was reading live process data from the new control systems.

He was also able to easily set up the OPC tunnelling link between the OPC server stations and the SCADA workstations, by simply installing another OPC DataHub on the SCADA computer and configuring it to connect to the OPC server stations.

“I wanted to reduce and simplify the communication over the network because of our firewall. It was very easy with OPC DataHub,” said Simon after the system was up and running. Currently about 7,000 points are being transferred across the network, in real-time, using the OPC DataHub. “In the future, the additional integration of the existing or new OPC servers will be with OPC DataHub.”

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