New solution aims to ‘simplify’ communication between old hardware and modern software during oil loading

Hamburg based Implico has launched a new system to allow its customers to connect legacy field technology with the OpenTAS terminal management system. The new TCP-X-Unit is capable of simultaneously converting signals from three serial-linked field devices for OpenTAS.

In a statement, Implico explains that older hardware and modern software often do not “speak the same language,” making it impossible for legacy field devices connected via serial links to communicate directly with the OpenTAS terminal management system. This usually necessitates an additional computer that converts the loading hardware’s software signals for the OpenTAS software.

The TCP-X-Unit is a compact solution which aims to simplify the previously required hardware environment. It is a suite comprising the Matrix-504 microcomputer and suitable software developed by Implico especially for OpenTAS connectivity. Apart from the pocket-sized computer, no further hardware is required for the connection. The TCP-X-Unit converts the field device’s RS-232 signal into a TCP/P signal and transmits it to the OpenTAS automation process via Ethernet protocol.

“The computer has three ports instead of just one and can therefore control up to three peripheral devices simultaneously,” said Frank Petersen, Head of OpenTAS Automation at Implico. This reduces the need for control hardware, simplifying the IT landscape and lowering total cost of ownership.

“The box’s modern processor is also able to handle more data in a given time than the predecessor model,” added Petersen.


Moving towards the Internet of Things

Providing remote access for maintenance, updates and configuration are key goals of the new solution, helping deliver the Internet of Things to oil terminals.

The included web service makes it possible to manage, configure, update or start the microcomputer remotely via a browser. “The solution’s set of useful features includes data throughput remote monitoring and the ability to display the most recently sent and received information,” said Petersen.

Should a TCP-X-Unit fail, it can easily be replaced by a low-cost backup device. Local staff do not require any specific IT knowledge to replace the box. After replacing, the preconfigured backup device is set to the failed unit’s IP address and restarted. The unit then automatically receives all the required settings and protocol information from OpenTAS and can be used immediately. This minimises downtime and ensures a continuous and stable loading process.


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