MQTT is hot!

Deployment of the popular process data format is displacing proprietary scada formats. Inductive Automation’s has used MQTT to apply machine learning to Streamline Innovations’ sulfur extraction process, providing clients with an ‘HMI-on-a-stick’. Opto 22 demystifies the recently announced Node Red V1.0 and reports on a netDNA implementation for New Wave Energy Services. Linux Format article shows how MQTT brings sensor data access to the hobbyist.

Streamline Innovations operates natural gas treating units in South and West Texas that convert hydrogen sulfide gas into fertilizer-grade sulfur. Inductive Automation has automated Streamline’s processing units with remote bi-directional control and historian data collection. Streamline’s ‘Valkyrie’ process leverages a ‘robust but complex’ control and automation system which includes the Ignition software platform. Streamline’s ‘micro’ units required low-cost, basic automation with remote access to data and local access to an HMI and the cost of traditional PLC-based automation is prohibitive. A hub-and-spoke configuration leverages Ignition Edge runs locally on a Moxa device, talking to the cloud-based Ignition server via MQTT. Python scripts perform fast Fourier transforms on pump vibration data and blend weather forecasts from the National Weather Service to determine optimal operating temperature. Alerts are broadcast via Twilio to operators when issues arise.

Streamline has also developed ‘HMI on a Stick,’ using an Amazon Fire Stick or Linux Stick Computer which turns any television into a unidirectional HMI. This has been given to clients, operators and management who can now monitor operations when at home or in a hotel room. More from Inductive Automation.


Opto22 blogger Terry Orchard recently extolled the merits of the new V1.0 release of Node-RED. Node-RED is a programming tool for wiring together hardware devices, APIs and online services in ‘new and interesting ways’. Node-RED has its roots in manipulating MQTT data streams but is now a more general tool. The new release offers multiple enhancements to the browser-based editor. The MQTT nodes now support MQTT v3.1.1, with v5 support on the way. Under the hood, fully asynchronous message routing makes for more predictable stable data flows. ‘The 1.0 release is a more mature, refined version of the software we’ve grown to love, and it continues to get better as more updates are rolled out’.

Canadian netDNA has automated water management for fracking and water transfer for New Wave Energy Services, a Permian Basin service provider. New Wave’s trailer-mounted water transfer units with four 500-800 HP pumps and 12” diameter intakes have been automated by netDNA using Opto22’s ‘Groov’ EPIC (edge programmable industrial controller). EPIC pulls data from the genset controller, including RPMs and associated telemetry, and publishes it to a central broker/server using its built-in open-source tool Node-RED and MQTT. More from Opto22.


An article in issue 259 of the excellent Linux Format magazine titled, ‘Node-RED: Build a smart thermal monitor’ shows how easy it is to connect the Raspberry PI or an Android smartphone to IoT sensors using Node-RED and MQTT. Node-RED enables drag-and-drop configuration of hardware nodes and logic and makes remote sensor data visible in the public cloud using the HiveMQ broker. The Android access point uses the free myMQTT app.

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