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PUERTO: Experts in Empowering IoT with OPC UA
It’s a no-brainer that cyber-attacks on critical infrastructure pose serious threats. If a controller such as a DCS (Distributed Control System) or PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) behaves improperly, it can cause a serious incident. There are many machines that can obtain controller commands and information about the target of the attack and send commands to the controller, such as operational support systems, advanced control systems, MES (Manufacturing Execution System) servers, and SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) system engineering workstations. If the attacker can obtain information about the controller commands and the target of the attack and hijack these devices to send dangerous commands, a serious accident may occur even if the communication protocol is secure.
As an IoT vendor, the company leverages OPC UA to enable IoT devices in a safe and secure manner. “We are a start-up company, but we have been working on integrating OPC UA into the IoT for years,” says Mr. Toshiaki Honda, the Microsoft Windows Development MVP at PUERTO. OPC UA was developed in 2006 as a communication protocol that considered security at the time of design, and it was selected as a standard protocol such as Industry 4.0.
First in line is PUERTO UA Monitor, an OPC UA client that can be added to Excel. Users can seamlessly add the OPC UA client function to the Excel that they usually use where the OPC UA function is added to the Excel ribbon. The OPC UA client can use almost all functions such as Data Access (DA), Alarm & Condition (A&C), Historical Data Access (HDA), and Call. “By using the Excel screen of PUERTO UA Monitor and the function of saving and restoring the connection settings, we only need to start up Excel at the regular time every day, and the values in the daily report will be automatically entered instead of being entered manually,” mentions Mr. Honda. The second product is PUERTO UA Recorder. It is a product that focuses on the fact that data can be acquired with simple operations and can be connected to the OPC UA server and configured with drag-and-drop.
We are a start-up company, but we have been working on integrating OPC UA into the IoT for years
The third product that the company offers is PUERTO UA ClientCore. It has been modularized so that the OPC UA communication modules of PUERTO UA Monitor and PUERTO UA Recorder can be incorporated into other systems. The difference from the general SDK offering is that the API has been simplified so that it can be used even if there is no knowledge of OPC UA. Furthermore, this will make it easy to integrate into IoT devices as it can run on Linux.
Having carved a unique niche through its three competent products, PUERTO will add functions to the current OPC UA solution. In particular, OPC UA assigns a certificate to the application, but the company is working on improving the function of the certificate. In addition, the company will be adding functionality for the new PubSub specification. “As a niche function, we are planning to add a file transfer function using OPC UA,” states Mr. Honda. In the future, PUERTO will expand the OPC UA solution to North America and Europe. For this purpose, they are currently renewing its corporate website, which will be available in Japanese, English, and German.