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Remote Monitoring Devices Collect Data for Safety Monitoring and Notifications
John Lee,
Senior Manager

Monitoring devices are everywhere in manufacturing. There are devices for process monitoring, production monitoring, safety monitoring, environmental monitoring, and the list goes on and on.

The latest technologies offer easy-to-connect devices, referred to as “things,” which make up the industrial internet of things (IIoT). Some devices use standard languages like C or C# while newer devices use lightweight IIoT protocols such as MQTT that enable them to easily be connected and transmit (publish) data. However, there are many instances where the required devices are not that smart and still require some type of interface, often using the manufacturer’s software development kit (SDK).

A client recently had one such gas monitoring device where they needed remote monitoring for gas levels at the site perimeter. The devices offered an application programming interface (API) with their SDK to interface with the device and pull data remotely, which was just what was needed for safety monitoring and notifications.

Matrix Technologies was asked to provide a data interface application to collect the remote device data into a central database repository. The Matrix perimeter monitoring application uses the ProRAE Guardian System application program interface (API) to retrieve sensor data from the guardian gas detection system. The application allows for read/write access of the sensor data at a set interval and stores the data in an SQL server express database. The client was then able to copy the data from SQL server express database into the enterprise database.

The ProRAE data interface application consists of a Windows service and a user interface. The user interface shows ongoing monitoring information and provides some simple control over the information stored. Users can start and stop data retrieval operations as well as modify the read/write interval when needed.

The monitor application does not control any processes. The system is strictly for reading data made available by the ProRAE Guardian system and logging the information to a local database. All further data manipulation is the responsibility of central repository server.

The perimeter monitoring service connects to the ProRAE Guardian system via the ProRAE application program interface (API). Data is read for each monitoring device’s sensors from Guardian in an XML format, parsed by the service application, and stored in the SQL server express database. The frequency that data is read by the service is defined by parameters set through the perimeter monitoring user Interface. The user interface has configuration options to set up which devices to connect and have their sensor data stored.

Once collected to the central repository, the data is available for reporting across systems and available directly to the control room human machine interface (HMI) for visualization. The solution also offers extensibility where devices can be added and configured in the user interface. It provides for safety compliance through gas monitoring and ease of reporting with the increased visibility and availability of data. The data collected can also be used for alerts and notifications.

Matrix Technologies’ ability to provide solutions helps our client partners solve even the most difficult business problems. Our knowledge of various manufacturing industries and technologies enable our staff of experienced engineers to deliver quality and value with every project.

If you are interested in custom data collection applications and solutions, feel free to contact us to see how Matrix Technologies’ information systems engineering staff can help.

Matrix Technologies is one of the largest independent process design, industrial automation engineering, and manufacturing operations management companies in North America. To learn more about our manufacturing operations management capabilities and manufacturing process control solutions, contact John Lee, Senior Manager of Manufacturing Intelligence.

© Matrix Technologies, Inc.

John Lee
Senior Manager