Large-Scale PLC Data Simulation and Historical Playback
Remotely accessing PLC data is inherently dangerous. With most PLC protocols, any program that connects can both read and write PLC data -- with potentially disastrous results.
If you wish to safely access real-time PLC field data (for example, to test new industrial communications and control software), you can simulate up to 1000 PLCs (in a single commodity server), using both Modbus/TCP and EtherNet/IP CIP protocol access, with full access to real-time field data from your actual PLCs. You have full read/write access to the simulated PLC -- with no risk of writing data to your real field PLCs!
- Simulate network bandwidth limitations and failures
- Record and replay historical data
- Interact with PLC simulator data via Web interface
- Script automation and/or events using REST or Web Sockets API
Network Failure Simulation
We provision a full bridged IP network containing all the simulated PLCs, without the need for external routers or hardware of any kind. Just start the simulator, and dozens or hundreds of simulated PLCs appear in your lab network.
For each PLC, you can adjust in real time:
- Capacity in transactions/sec
- and optionally, the rate of simulated data changes
Historical Recording and Playback
As field PLC data is received by the simulated PLCs, and any data is changed in the simulated PLCs (eg. via PLC "writes" or Web API updates), all data is recorded. Later, any time range of data can be selected and "played back" in the PLC Data Simulator -- at any rate! Of course, any real field data arriving during historical playback is safely received and stored in the historical recording, so no field data is ever missed during historical playback.
The full playback control interface is available via REST or Web Sockets API, so automatic playback of historical events can be scripted. This can be extremely useful for regression testing of industrial control systems, for example to observe that the system responds appropriately to a previously recorded anomalous plant event.
Simultaneous Modbus/TCP and EtherNet/IP CIP Support
Each simulated PLC responds simultaneously to both protocols (other PLC protocols can be implemented). This is ideal for projects where conversion from one PLC protocol to another is required. The field data can be harvested using the old PLC protocol, and the simulated PLCs can be accessed using either the old (eg. Modbus/TCP) or new (eg. EtherNet/IP CIP) protocols.
Ultra High Performance Web Interface
Using the latest Web Sockets browser communication standards, the Web API is capable of responding to hundreds of data updates per second, using a standard Web browser such as Google Chrome! In fact, performance is almost completely dependent on the capacity of the client computer, not the underlying API. This kind of display update capacity is impossible using traditional browser-to-server communications technologies such as AJAX. It is possible to use this API to implement high-performance event-driven scripting around the PLC Data Simulator, if application-specific automation is required from the simulated PLC -- all without expensive and cumbersome PLC programming.
The PLC Data Simulator is available from Hard Consulting Corporation under a Commercial (Closed Source) license. Since we fully developed every aspect of our PLC Data Simulator in-house, we hold full authority to license the PLC Data Simulator library in whatever form is most suitable for each client.
To use the PLC Data Simulator, you must obtain a Commercial license, based on the total number of PLCs your product simulates. This provides you with a license authorizing you to retain full privacy of any application source code or system you develop around the PLC Data Simulator.
For example, if you develop and sell a product that simulates PLCs of a certain type, and you sell your application to 1,000 clients, and each client simulates 10 PLCs, you would require a license for 10,000 PLCs.
Our commercial license is very liberal, and is very simple. It allows your company to safely acquire the capability to develop and deploy PLC Data Simulator software or hardware products that speak Modbus/TCP or EtherNet/IP CIP protocol (but not systems that primarily just repackage and allow configuration of the PLC Data Simulator), and can be roughly summarised in one sentence:
Hard Consulting Corporation hereby grants to <Your Company> a worldwide, non-revocable, non-exclusive, non-transferable and non-sublicensable Commercial License to use and deploy current and future versions of the PLC Data Simulator, in whatever form they desire.
Should you desire ongoing support for your organization while developing and using the PLC Data Simulator, you can purchase an annual support contract. This allows you access to Hard Consulting developers for assistance in developing your application, custom enhancements to the PLC Data Simulator, etc. If you are developing industrial quality systems, it is recommended that you subscribe to the annual support during at least the development period. It is likely that you will require some development support, in order to integrate with your specific PLCs and their specific types of data.
Development of PLC simulation scenarios will likely require assistance from Hard Consulting Corporation; call us to discuss your PLC simulation requirements. We can also develop a turn-key system for you, to solve your specific PLC simulation needs.
We are actively looking for OEM Partners to work with, to assist in developing and marketing unique applications for this powerful platform. If you have a specific type of PLC or industrial equipment that you would like to develop a simulator for, the PLC Data Simulator may be an effective foundation for you to get to market quickly with a powerful and attractive offering.
PLC Data Simulator Non-exclusive Enterprise-wide Commercial License