Manufacturers’ Monthly speaks with Madison Technologies technical support engineer, Navin Pramkumar, about the importance of increasing network visibility and maintaining uptime for manufacturers.
Today, with the rise of smart manufacturing, intelligent and reliable industrial network communication has become the cornerstone for nearly every smart application.
Leading provider of network infrastructure solutions, Moxa launched MXview to support OT engineers by extending network visibility from network infrastructure to edge connectivity, helping simplify operations and improve network uptime.
Madison Technologies, a value-added distributor of Moxa’s reliable networking infrastructure has helped many customers across Australia in the manufacturing, power, and intelligent transportation industries.
Madison Technologies technical support engineer, Navin Pramkumar, said the key to maximising network uptime is to have full visibility of hardwired and wireless connections.
“It’s about bringing operational devices together, to help drive greater efficiency across the whole control process,” he said. “It’s mission critical to have the full picture of how industrial networks are performing on a daily basis.”
Moxa recently launched the MXview Wireless add-on module specifically designed for industrial network management. This new wireless add-on fulfils the requirements of both static and dynamic wireless applications in smart manufacturing.
Pramkumar commented the MXview Wireless add-on module provides context for the engineer by taking a complex wireless network and showing the connections between different devices, as well as how each device is operating.
“Better visualisation makes manufacturing environments easier to understand,” he said. “That’s important when you’re looking at so many different devices, otherwise it can get a bit overwhelming.”
The MXview Wireless add-on module ensures the troubleshooting process gets streamlined instantly. It allows engineers to resolve issues straight away to get a network running again with very little downtime.
“When an issue occurs, instead of having to look for the problem, the engineer receives an instant alert and knows exactly what’s going on,” Pramkumar said.
Previously with MXview, engineers could only have a visual overview of hardwired devices (only devices that have a network cable plugged into them). Now, with the new MXview Wireless Add-on module, shop floor managers can get full visibility. This is considered a new and powerful capability but it’s important to be aware the MXview Wireless add-on module is only compatible with Moxa AWK wireless access points.
“In the past, it has been difficult to get a centralised view of wireless access points critical operating statistics, such as number of clients connected or signal strength of devices. The MXview Wireless add-on module gives visibility, all on one platform,” Pramkumar said.
The MXview Wireless add-on module features a dynamic topology view to let users quickly see the status of wireless links and connection changes.
Since automated vehicles constantly roam between different APs around the facility, users can overlay the network topology on top of a floor map of the facility to easily locate the vehicle, by checking the client’s wireless connection. This significantly saves time when trying to identify a malfunctioning client device.
“The roaming playback function lets users review a client’s roaming history of the past 30 days to repeat an incident,” Moxa product manager Lyra Li said. “Users can leverage this function to find and address the root cause more efficiently, instead of having to consolidate and examine individual device logs.”
The two functions, exclusively designed by Moxa, meet the growing requirements of automated factories, smart logistics, and other intelligent applications.
At present, Moxa clients get the most customisation from MXview in their industrial network.
Pramkumar summarised, “The new features being introduced into MXview is a game changer for Moxa’s Wireless Access Point management. This allows Moxa users more control and visibility over their networks than ever before.”
How MXview improves operations
Easy integration with SCADA by supporting OPC DA tags or RESTful APIs, MXview can assist operation visibility cover machines, network infra, and edge connectivity. Once SCADA shows alerts, OT engineers can quickly verify whether errors relate to the machine, network devices, or edge connectivity, and implement fast troubleshooting to shorten system downtime.
Unexpected system disconnections can put pressure on OT engineers during daily operations. MXview offers a real-time dashboard display of the health status of key network components, including fibre checks and CPU usage monitoring, to assist OT engineers in unexpected issues prevention related to system failure due to overconsumption.
Security is a vital factor in industrial automation. Secure network devices with proper security settings save OT engineers much effort in cyber risk control. The security view function in MXview auto-scans all network devices and edge connectivity and provides a dashboard display of security settings and levels.
Network is a critical consideration when implementing IIoT. MXview supports OT operation managers with insights and analysis by offering dashboard displays and reports of network devices, edge connectivity security status, and key components consumption for better assets management and investment planning.
Overview of MXview – Features and Benefits
- Discovers and visualises network devices and physical connections automatically
- Central management of configurations and firmware for Moxa devices
- Multiple options for events and notifications with self-defined threshold and duration
- Comprehensive reports, including inventory, traffic, and availability reports
- Provides RESTful API and web widget to embed MXview into industrial applications
- Supports third-party Ethernet switches through SNMP MIB files
- Generates OPC 2.0 compliant tags automatically to integrate with SCADA/HMI applications
- Dynamic topology view shows the status of wireless links and connection changes
- Visual interactive roaming playback function to review the roaming history of clients
- Detailed device information and performance indicator charts for individual AP and client devices.
To learn more about how to increase network visibility and maintain uptime, click here or phone 1800 72 79 79 to speak with Madison Technologies’ Customer Connect team.