Test environment for industrial communication

© Fraunhofer IPA, Rainer Bez
Analysis of the current situation on the emulation platform

Communication between technical systems, new software applications and people form the basis for a successful transformation to digitized production. An increasing degree of digitization also increases the load on the infrastructure and applications involved. These include servers, network components, measurement systems, software interfaces and databases. Changes in the existing environment, such as those resulting from the acquisition of additional data or the introduction of new software and machines, have an impact on this infrastructure. In order to be able to examine and evaluate possible influences in advance, we offer support through our own emulation platform. This forms the basis for the execution and evaluation of various scenarios, such as load and performance tests, failure cases of components, etc. to ensure commissioning in the real environment.

The following areas can be covered:

  • Scalable emulators replicate the communication behavior of machines or IT systems. In the process, OPC UA is used, for example. The number of emulators can be expanded almost at will.
  • The emulators act as specified in a simple and configurable state model (e.g. that of a machine). In this way, faults and corresponding messages of a plant can be emulated according to stochastic configuration.
  • Additional data such as sensor or process values can be provided, either stochastically distributed or randomly generated.
  • The behavior of the involved systems is continuously monitored and logged. Key figures such as message runtimes, workloads, etc. are documented in reports.
© Fraunhofer IPA
Examples of involved components in the emulation platform