The Kimberly-Clark production facility in Niederbipp, Switzerland, is the leading tissue paper producer for Switzerland and Austria, supplying Hakle, Tela, Scott, Kleenex, and other popular brands of tissues for consumers throughout Europe.
In a recent upgrade to their video-based quality control system, Kimberly-Clark needed to connect their existing ABB QCS (Quality Control System) to a new, state-of-the-art Viconsys Process and Quality Vision System, to ensure the highest quality product. For implementation, they contacted Logicpark, an engineering and system integration company located near Thun, Switzerland.
“This project was a little unusual,” said Bruno Maurer, Head of Solutions at Logicpark. “The two systems had to be connected across a network. But each system was protected by a firewall, and each offered only an OPC server interface for data connections. We had to bridge these two OPC servers, passing the data across the network. Using DCOM for networking was out of the question, because it would open too many ports in the firewalls, and it is difficult to configure. What we needed was a way to tunnel the data across the network, and bridge the OPC servers at either end of the tunnel.”
To achieve these goals, Bruno turned to the OPC DataHub, which offers both OPC tunneling and bridging in a single, integrated product. He installed one OPC DataHub on the same machine as the ABB QCS system, and connected it to that OPC server.
He then installed a second OPC DataHub on the Viconsys computer, and connected it to the Viconsys OPC server. Then he configured the OPC tunnel, and was able to see both sets of data on both OPC DataHubs. From there, it was a straightforward task to configure the necessary bridges to write data from one OPC server to the other OPC server. He had a test connection running in a several hours, and within a few days the new system was completely functional.
"The OPC DataHub worked very well for this project," said Bruno. "Taken by itself, the OPC tunnel is robust and secure. Combined with OPC bridging, the OPC DataHub has given us a complete and reliable way to network real-time data."