On cloud nine with LOGO!?
The word is out on the street: the new LOGO! 8.3 offers connectivity to the cloud. Does this functionality make sense for a microcontroller? Just remember that not so long ago the idea of a navigation system for small cars was considered amusing, yet it is now commonplace. This may also be the case with LOGO!, since the new feature enables many tasks to be performed more conveniently.
Let us take an example of street lighting: the lamps, at least in larger communities, are usually switched in groups, and if there is a drop in the current consumed, it serves as a sign that one lamp is defective. Lighting could also be monitored by having an energy meter, for example from the Siemens PAC series, connected to LOGO! to record the currents of the individual lighting groups. LOGO! collects this data on a cyclic basis and forwards it to the cloud. There, the individual groups are evaluated by area, and because the cloud connection works bidirectionally, an alarm can also be triggered. Service engineers are notified and can target the area where a lamp needs to be replaced.
Another use-case can be in the construction industry, where, for example, exterior plaster for new buildings is delivered in large silos. A sensor measures the fill level and the connected LOGO! transfers the data to the cloud, where the location, residual amount, and replacement date for the respective silo are determined to avoid waiting times and idling.
The irrigation of agricultural land has always been a popular application for LOGO!. With the new version, it is now possible to link location, time, and moisture measurement with current weather data. Irrigation can be shut off promptly when rain is approaching via the cloud, and then switched on again, with a time delay that depends on the intensity of the rainfall.
The same application can be implemented in vending machines for drinks or
candy, where the cloud-based level measurement with integrated LOGO! can ensure a steady flow of goods from vending machines that are always well stocked.
The monitoring of cooling chains in supermarkets helps to ensure the quality of food. For this purpose, the temperature values of individual refrigerated display cases are recorded cyclically. This can be done with LOGO!. Previously, with the data stored only on the SD card, the maintenance was a hassle. When the SD card was full, the controller needed to be stopped, the card removed and the data copied, then the card had to be reinserted and LOGO! had to be switched to ‘Run’ mode before the recording could resume. Where there is little data and the processes are not critical, this may not be a problem. However, for continuous proof of temperature compliance, it is more convenient to send the data seamlessly to the virtually unlimited cloud storage and to alert service personnel if there is an impending disruption to the cooling chain.
Peeking into the future, it will be possible to record the charging states of renewable energy storage systems, document the e-charging of cars, or record the usage times for billing purposes of machines used by several different customers.
On cloud nine with LOGO!? Time goes on. The cloud now bears the number 8.3.