Red Lion FlexEdge Intelligent Edge Automation Platform

Control Logic Pty Ltd
Sunday, 01 May, 2022

Today’s technology has set new benchmarks and possibilities to safely manage environmental responsibilities across thousands of square kilometres for mining operators. New opportunities now exist in transparent information flows right down to the real-world sensors.

The FlexEdge brings nearly two decades of industrial automation to the IT realm, effectively bridging the gap between process and business systems, with business logic deployed at the edge while providing a future-proof solution for changing business needs. It is an open platform that enables users to choose the system architecture that bypasses the burden of existing software and hardware limitations while enhancing cybersecurity integrity. This is a large challenge for mine operators to overcome today. The open platform extends to the field hardware because of the various I/O and over 300 protocols the FlexEdge supports, whereby lab-quality sensors could be chosen that otherwise wouldn’t be on the table.

In the simplest terms, the Red Lion FlexEdge provides a scalable solution to integrate complex multi-vendor environments for the industrial sector that solves multiple problems. With its connectivity being modular and forward-thinking, the product natively supports 4G, GPS, Wi-Fi, Ethernet, USB, serial, and real-world digital and analog I/O, while also supporting cloud, SQL, OPC and industrial fieldbus protocol connectivity. This means real-time automation devices and sensors can now talk to each other effortlessly, and also be connected to the greater cloud and business architecture securely through the on-board firewall router.

Red Lion’s free programming software Crimson configures everything including firmware, VPN, protocol conversion, IEC61131 RTU logic control, email/SMS alerts, data logging and web pages: all contained in one configuration. It is also the journey of implementation and ongoing maintenance that Red Lion has solved through a mass deployment HMTL dashboard tool, Sixview Manager. It makes for a solution that’s straightforward, repeatable, reliable, secure and scalable. Red Lion’s FlexEdge helps users reduce costs, improve data security, and increase productivity.

An Australian tier one mining company needed to eliminate the financial burden of environmental responsibilities due to unknowingly releasing dust and toxic water into the environment. Hundreds of environmental field sensors connected to the FlexEdge Intelligent Edge Automation Platform were strategically positioned around the mine site to capture environmental conditions, water quality, and dust picked up by vehicles from dry conditions. The environmental data continuously feeds up to a centrally hosted cloud historian where a decision-making dashboard allows the business to make insightful actions from the data and, more importantly, provide factual evidence to regulatory authorities.

In this case, the FlexEdge is being used to convert I/O, ASCII and Modbus data to an IoT platform with 100% data backup buffering – which, on its own merits, isn’t anything special. However, there’s so much more to this application that the FlexEdge brings to make implementation straightforward, repeatable, reliable, secure, and scalable through Red Lion’s mass deployment HMTL dashboard tool, Sixview Manager.

With the risk of cyber hackers today, large water utilities are also implementing the FlexEdge in mission-critical asset because of the secure VPN and flexible protocol support, while large energy providers use the FlexEdge in very remote areas for solar applications as an all-in-one controller and IoT data streaming. Of course, there is so much more, and that’s where Control Logic can partner with mining companies and implementation contractors to help develop solutions to answer such problems. This includes a host of other proficiencies such as operational cybersecurity, networking and control. That’s why it is advantageous to partner with a company working across all industries in different capacities with access to over 20 global suppliers.

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