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Getting Started with WinCC Cloud Connect – Sending Tags from WinCC to the Cloud

Getting Started with WinCC Cloud Connect – Sending Tags from WinCC to the Cloud

A client was looking to develop a centralized dashboard for monitoring key production parameters and trends from multiple plants across the country. Accessing this data required remotely logging into a computer located at the plant, accessing the active WinCC HMI software, and navigating to the trend screens. In addition to being a time-consuming and manual process, this process required a person skilled in automation to access the data because they were required to interact with the process control HMI.

DMC worked with the client to centralize this data in a Microsoft Azure Cloud Database using the Siemens WinCC Cloud Connector feature. Now that the data is centralized, the client can use PowerBI to create visualizations for easy access and viewing — without the need for remote/VPN access to individual site networks.

What is Siemens’ WinCC Cloud Connector?

WinCC 7.5 Cloud Connector is a feature of Siemens' WinCC 7.5 software, which allows users to connect their WinCC-based systems to cloud-based services such as Microsoft Azure without any additional hardware. It is designed to help users centralize data collection, improve data access, and increase the efficiency of their process control systems.

The software components required are as follows:

  • SIMATIC WinCC V7.5
  • SIMATIC WinCC Cloud Connector V7.5 license (can transfer up to 5 tags without)
  • Broker account
    • Supports Siemens MindSphere, Amazon AWS, and Microsoft Azure

It uses MQTT protocol for communications to the cloud operating as a publisher that sends the selected tags to the MQTT broker, meaning the WinCC system has write access but not read access to the cloud. The cloud service used, in this case Microsoft Azure, operates as the MQTT broker — which has a broker address and a port for establishing communication.

Configuring the WinCC Cloud Connector

The general steps DMC took to implement the WinCC Cloud Connector are described below. To view these steps in more detail, check out the Siemens document below along with Siemens’ online support information for a step-by-step process including images.

  1. Configure Microsoft Azure – this requires a Microsoft Azure account to be set up and activated
    1. Create an IoT hub by creating a resource and configuring the resource group, region, and application name.
    2. Create a new IoT device.
  2. Create Certificates – create and sign CA certificate with Windows tools or purchase from a certificate provider.
    1. Extract the CA Certificates folder to the desktop by downloading and installing OpenSSL for Windows, adding the OpenSLL directory to your path, and opening the Github for Azure IoT Tools to download and extract the folder containing the CA certificates creator.
    2. Create a CA root certificate by opening Windows Powershell and entering the commands listed.
    3. Upload the certificate to Azure in the Azure Portal by clicking the Add button.
    4. Verify the CA certificate by generating and copying a verification code, and then run the Powershell cert verification command including it.
    5. Download the CA certificate.
  3. Configuring WinCC
    1. Store the certificate and the client keys on the machine with WinCC in the Siemens WinCC Cloud Connector Certificate folder.
    2. Configure the WinCC connection settings by entering the broker address, station name, CA certificate, client certificate, and client key.
    3. Configure the HMI tags to be stored in the cloud by checking WinCC Cloud and updating the archive cycle as needed.

The steps DMC took to implement the WinCC Cloud Connector are described in detail in the Siemens document below:

Learn more about DMC’s Siemens SIMATIC WinCC Programming, and contact us today for your next project.

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