The manufacturing industry is rapidly moving towards smartification. The two main areas of IT and OT (Operations Technology) have started to be integrated into the IIoT architecture, and the efficiency of the production line has been greatly improved thanks to the uninterrupted flow of information on site. However, as networks become more integrated, problems have arisen in the area of information security, problems far more complex than those handled by the manufacturing industry of the past. The DataHub middleware solutions provided by Skkynet for embedded systems, cloud applications and local platforms address these challenges. Using DataHub software, manufacturers can implement secure network connection mechanisms to create a smart factory that excels in both performance and security.
Previous OT systems in the manufacturing industry tended to be mostly closed architectures where all machines and equipment were interconnected only on site, which meant there was no need to communicate or connect to external networks. However, Industry 4.0 is about making good use of internal company data to reduce production costs and boost industrial efficiency. In response to this trend, OT systems need to be integrated with IT systems to add value. Take the recent COVID-19 pandemic as an example: companies have built external networks on which systems can remotely monitor automated equipment on the production floor, allowing the production line to maintain normal operations even during the pandemic.
When opened, OT systems also face common security threats to IT systems. Since OT equipment is a manufacturer’s most important asset, an attack on OT would result in significant losses for the business. In an effort to address this issue, manufacturers have now begun to strengthen the information security of their IIoT systems. However, most companies currently only have VPNs configured or use MQTT outbound connections to prevent malware intrusion. In the face of ever-changing hacking techniques, using a single firewall as the only protection mechanism cannot easily meet the needs of the manufacturing industry. Skkynet’s DataHub uses the DHTP protocol which enables two-way data communications between different networks via proxy servers and DMZs, ensuring that manufacturing industry network architectures can operate stably across the entire environment.
Skkynet’s software and services have been applied in various industrial fields, such as energy, petrochemical, minerals, manufacturing, medicine and pharmaceuticals, and transportation. Large foreign companies, including Siemens, GE, ABB, Fuji Electric, Boeing and other reference operators, use Skkynet’s software. And in Taiwan, Chang Chun Group, China Motor Corporation, Taiwan Power Company, Formosa Plastics Group and other major manufacturers in various fields have also imported Skkynet’s DataHub to build their externally connected IIoT systems. As a result, they have breathed new life into the value of data, improved operational efficiency, and reduced operating costs on the production floor.
According to Skkynet, DataHub software is a secure-by-design middleware platform designed for industrial systems. Considering that Taiwan is a global equipment manufacturing base, the company provides an Integrated Toolkit (ETK) designed for industrial equipment manufacturers. The ETK platform can help industry operators optimize product communication capabilities and dramatically reduce time to market. Skkynet hopes to use its comprehensive products and services to strengthen the cooperative relationship with Taiwanese system integrators and industrial software companies, and seize the opportunities of smart manufacturing together.
Paul Thomas, President of Skkynet