Edge Data Collector

Three men viewing analytics data on a TV screen.

An analytics-oriented pea protein processor in the Midwest required a large amount of data to be stored and accessible for at least ten years. The client also needed maximum visibility of that data in real-time and a historical view. The client wanted to utilize the data from the plant floor to the corporate level, requiring different platforms for visibility.

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Achieving Real Results

Saved on the project because they used a support contract vs. implementing a new platform.

Gained better visibility of their data across multiple sites.

Made it scalable to fit their needs rather than have multiple, costly licenses.


  1. The biggest challenge encountered on this project was developing the NodeRED code to transport the tags from the programmable logic controller (PLC) to InfluxDB. There were many options to achieve this (Kepware, deviceWISE, FactoryTalk Linx), but all came with licensing fees. Interstates decided to develop our own method of tag transportation. This required Node-RED programming from the ground up and was the most significant hurdle to implementing the collector.
  2. Another challenge was convincing the client that open-source programs were not only reliable but could be used by large corporations safely. “Free” often has a negative connotation of being inferior to software with licensing costs. However, associated costs does not always lead to a better product, and is not a fit for all companies.


We proposed installing the EDC side by side with the client’s Rockwell Historian. This would allow them to keep their current data while evaluating the edge collector’s capabilities. Since installation, the EDC gained over 20 active users, whereas the VantagePoint instance has had only two over the course of a year. The EDC is also being used at the corporate level to view the data and build customizable dashboards.

In addition, the client requested we attach SQL LIMS, an inventory management tool, to this Grafana instance. This allowed the users to view data more efficiently, eliminating the need to learn a separate piece of software to access different databases.

Return on Investment

Through the implementation of the edge collector, the client was able to integrate multiple data streams from different data sources into one central collector. This collector and visualization solution also allowed them to eliminate many license costs, user restrictions, and controls-corporate firewall restrictions. It gave the user the power to design dashboards with minimal training. Total users of their previous reporting and visualization software went from 2 to over 30, proving wide adoption of the plant personnel.

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