The latest firmware for the groov EPIC edge programmable industrial controller from Opto 22, version 3.3.x, was announced today. This version, available as a free download for all existing customers, delivers much-requested enhancements to EPIC’s networking capabilities. In addition to processing and integrating OT data into backend applications, as before, EPIC can now act as a secure remote access gateway, enabling authorized users to modify and administer PLCs and other field assets without requiring an industrial PC at the field location.
“Using groov EPIC as a PLC gateway is awesome!” said Arlen Nipper, President and CTO at Cirrus Link Solutions and co-inventor of MQTT and Sparkplug. “Compared to many of the IPCs I’ve used, the experience is so much simpler. No programming or messing around on the command line, just point-and-click configuration. This is the ideal way to use Ignition at the edge.”
By design, groov EPIC allows users to establish security zones between trusted OT networks and external IT LAN or internet traffic using its embedded firewall, user management functions, SSL/TLS certification, and multiple segmented network interfaces. Using other pre-installed tools like Ignition Edge from Inductive Automation, Node-RED, and CODESYS, users can acquire and publish OT data from this secure zone directly into backend applications via MQTT, REST API calls, or traditional industrial communication protocols.
Firmware version 3.3.x adds port redirection and static routing, allowing legitimate connection requests initiated from external networks to reach destinations within the secure OT zone, facilitating maintenance activities such as PLC program updates. Authorized users can create secure conduits between trusted and untrusted networks on-demand from a local, remote, or mobile HMI connected to groov EPIC and through REST API calls. Using EPIC’s embedded VPN client, engineers can even connect to PLCs on remote networks without exposing them to unwanted access.
The new networking features have been incorporated into a refreshed groov Manage interface that makes it easier to find the suite of diagnostic tools already included, such as ping, traceroute, and nslookup. The EPIC’s network settings can be configured completely through this browser-based interface. This release also upgrades other key components of the groov EPIC ecosystem.
For users of Node-RED on groov EPIC, the popular Dashboard UI can now run on EPIC’s onboard touchscreen as well as on PCs and mobile devices and be launched automatically on boot-up. The Node-RED runtime and Node.js engine are upgraded to versions 2.0.6 and 12.22.1, respectively. The CODESYS runtime engine has been upgraded to 18.104.22.168 and now includes OPC UA client capabilities, giving users another option for integrating device tags into real-time control code. Finally, version 3.3.x supports the new AC power monitoring and universal I/O modules slated for release in Q4 2021 and enables new features for the existing GRV-IDCI-12 and GRV-ITR-12 I/O modules.
groov EPIC firmware 3.3.x is available now as a free download via manage.groov.com, and new networking features are compatible with all EPICs manufactured since March 2018. Complete upgrade instructions are available in the groov EPIC User’s Guide. For new customers, all groov EPICs now ship with this latest firmware version. The Opto 22 Library Package for CODESYS 22.214.171.124, necessary for programming with the CODESYS development environment, is also available as a free download from www.opto22.com.
About groov EPIC
groov EPIC is an edge programmable industrial controller (EPIC). More than a PLC, PAC, or PC, it is a Linux-based processor in a compact industrial enclosure, with local and remote I/O and wide-ranging programming and communications options. In addition to real-time control, groov EPIC provides the connectivity many of today’s projects require: it connects to field sensors and devices, legacy PLC systems, software applications, remote equipment, and cloud services for anything from weather conditions to big data analytics and predictive maintenance.
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