Industrial Data and Custom Hyperledger Fabric Networks
Using industrial gateways to measure sensors and pull PLC data
The following is a proof of concept (PoC) that can be expanded to create your own Hyperledger Fabric (Fabric) network that can pull industrial data as, required by your application.
As blockchain and distributed ledger technologies (DLT's) start to find their way into industrial processes, with the potential future requirements from regulators, suppliers, customers, and more, it is important to know how to gather this data for yourself.
ADT has created a PoC to complete exactly this. Using an Opto22 groov RIO, data was able to be pulled from an Allen Bradley PLC (MicroLogix 1100). Local sensors were also used to replicate the addition of other data points that could be required for additional DLT resolution. Such sensors could include temperature, process measurements, quality inspection results, and more.
The following network was utilized:
For those interested in creating your own concept, you can follow these high-level steps. Please note, an understanding of Fabric, Node-RED, and PLC's is required.
1) Download all Fabric dependencies required to run the fabric-samples test-network
2) Run a Fabric network (in this case we chose the Fabcar example with modified code to use industrial data (not cars))
3) Utilize a REST-API gateway to connect to the active network
4) Program the RIO to communicate with the AB PLC (Node-RED used here)
5) Program the local IO
6) Create a Node-RED dashboard for visualization and additional control
7) Set trigger condition for data being sent to the DLT (we also included a button to send/read data on demand for debugging)
8) Before sending data to the DLT, make sure the data is configured properly and packaged correctly (based on settings in configuration files on the Fabric side)
9) Spin up the API Server
10) Send data using GET/POST HTTP requests using Node-RED, pointing at the IP address of the PC or Server running the network
*Practically this would be a peer on the network and the commitment of data into the DLT would be completed by the Ordered Node.*
There you go! You can now add data to the DLT and query the results to make sure it was completed properly.
This is a simple but effective PoC to see the potential of merging industrial devices into a custom business Fabric consortium.
As DLT's become more commonplace in the industry, it is important to know how to interface with these networks. It is also important to understand how to efficiently package data from devices and sensors. Examples of this could be a production report at the end of a production run that has all important data (or a hash of the data) sent to the DLT. This could also include a quality inspection report that highlights a pass or fail (with process values) of the process completed.
Stay tuned as more examples are highlighted in the future, using blockchain, DLT's, and more!