Steffen Duve, Partner and co-founder at SCADA MINDS.

Electronics Engineer with 14 years of experience working with SCADA systems. Long-term professional freelance consultancy experience for wind industry-related businesses and has developed the expertise for commercializing productive efficiency of the SCADA system concepts. In 2013 joined ventures with partners Helge Jensen and Morten Kvistgaard for the merged company – SCADA MINDS.

SCADA MINDS is building systems for the centralized monitoring and control of production equipment related to the concepts of making scalable solutions available through modern technology.

’’Instead of using old-fashioned, very expensive operational SCADA systems that were developed for engineers 20 years ago, we are modernizing technology using IoT and Cloud platforms. Our intention is to introduce operational intelligence around the SCADA solutions: to make data and interfaces more available, make the systems simpler and leaner.’’

– explains Steffen Duve

Nabto technology seemed to be very applicable for SCADA MINDS when they were in search of ways to modernize SCADA solutions:

’’I saw opportunities in implementing IoT technology to our business. At that time Nabto already had great experience with IoT and especially security in complex systems – something very appealing to us due to the high level of security regulations that need to be met by our customers within the wind industry. Choosing Nabto was an easy choice.’’

– Steffen Duve

Key benefits for SCADA MINDS choosing Nabto’s technology:

  1. Low implementation cost – competitive price contributes highly to the cost effectiveness of the projects that are run for SCADA MINDS customers.
  2. Short time-to-market – Nabto’s technology is developed in a way that minimizes the time for full implementation of production-ready products.
  3. High security – every transfer with Nabto’s software between the internal application and third-party services is secured using the same standard of cryptography that is used for Internet banking systems.

Cyber security is an integral part of SCADA MINDS’ DNA. Security paradigms are of the highest importance in their systems:

’’With time, the wind industry has become a big part of the infrastructure and at this point a blackout caused by a hacked asset could be used as a political attack. The most secure way to avoid any hacks is to shut down the assets, but that is neither an effective, nor a long-term security solution. To comply with high standards of regulations, we needed to find a correct, secure, but at the same time flexible solution that would not compromise the operational activity of our customers. With Nabto’s software solution we have become all-around specialists in designing a secure and simple solution. The software supplements our expertise in the use of SCADA analytics in different scenarios and enables remote communication possibilities for our customers.’’

– explains Steffen Duve

A traditional machine builder is using a standard PLC solution for extracting intelligence from the device. However, those devices are typically not connected. Enabling interaction between devices requires a set of specific tools and deep knowledge to make sure the connection is established securely. Access to data is what brings success to such complex SCADA systems.

SCADA MINDS saw potential in the increased need for data-driven, predictive and automated control of SCADA systems. They combined expertise and knowledge in the industry and discovered a plug-in solution for accessing SCADA system insights.

’’The significant add-on value of Nabto’s software is that we also gain remote access to do configuration, to control the device, and change system parameters. Combining security and domain knowledge we make SCADA systems work as a secure solution.’’

– comments Steffen Duve

Nabto’s technology helped SCADA MINDS to decouple the interface of the controlling system by removing the traditional hardware. Previously, a SCADA hardware box was placed in front of the controller, embedding software for the interface and connecting to the PLC control system box.

’’With Nabto we could make a pure software solution that fits directly onto the device with a very low footprint. Moreover, the software is utilizing encryption protocols and technology that are the same as for transferring million dollars in a bank.’’

– says Steffen Duve

In common practice, an engineer needs to physically walk to the terminal and be in front of the system in order to control the tools of standard SCADA systems. Nabto’s software creates a remote interface, enabling visualization of the data. It also logs the data that can later be used by the operators to draw conclusions for intelligent applications. In Steffen Duve’s experience.

’’Through the integration of Nabto’s remote interface portal an operator just needs to use a browser to get a direct hardware replica of the real wind turbine. It provides a convenient familiarity for the operators’ daily service support to actually see the turbine 1-to-1, including the display and system parameters, as if standing in the turbine.’’

– says Steffen Duve

Nabto’s technology helps SCADA MINDS systems support operational aspects of their customers within the wind industry. The software is built in such a way that it does not compromise the security of the assets and allows control center supporters to fully access and operate multiple sites, simultaneously, with very little cost: ’’… two operators sitting in one office can remotely manage thousands of turbines in a secure and convenient way – as if they were physically at the site,’’ explains Duve.

How Nabto’s technology works on SCADA MINDS wind turbine systems:

Model of Scada Minds Schematics

A standard programmable PLC controller (hardware) is deployed into a wind turbine. SCADA MINDS hosts the gateway micro-server, called BIBOX uServer. This is a software component which directly connects to the PLC program and executes in real-time, running different algorithms for controlling and providing electrical signals out with the box. Through the BIBOX uServer, SCADA MINDS can access the interface of the program. It is always connected to the Internet and enables a secure tunnel of communication.

The Splunk cloud platform is used for tracking activity, creating dashboards and support data analytics scenarios. BIBOX is integrated and connects through the interface to push the data to the dashboards. With this, SCADA MINDS can transport real-measurement data (e.g. wind direction) and fetch data files logged by the system, etc. Data logs generate information regarding different controlled device activity and parameters (e.g. alarm activation time).

’’It was very fast implementing Nabto’s solution – we had our first demo within a week. At this point we are running a few projects with Nabto’s technology. Implementation on our systems to support our customers’ needs takes minimal effort – we do not need to develop the protocol, we do not need to invest a lot of resources in the technology, we can just pick up and use it.’’

– added Steffen Duve

Nabto’s software contributes highly to SCADA MINDS’ unique selling points and ability to supply plug-and-play remote tools for their end-users, which in most cases comes in below a customer’s budget.

’’Our wind turbine customers are pleased to see that our system implementation comes in below their estimated budget.’’

– Steffen Duve

Spica Technologies is one of SCADA MINDS customers delivering intelligent retrofit solutions for wind turbines. They have implemented SCADA MINDS solution and exploits Nabto software’s remote solution advantages by extending the lifetime of Wind Turbines and saving CO² emissions.

Spica Technologies is one of SCADA MINDS customers delivering intelligent retrofit solutions for wind turbines. They have implemented SCADA MINDS solution and exploits Nabto software’s remote solution advantages by extending the lifetime of Wind Turbines and saving CO² emissions.

Benny Thomsen, CEO, Spica Technology

”We found BIBOX as the ideal partner for our retrofit package. With BIBOX we can serve our customers with rich features for remote management and analytics. BIBOX has delivered an end to end solution that integrates seamlessly with our controller and with intuitive interfaces for tablet, mobiles and PCs. With BIBOX Insight our customers can manage Wind Turbines remotely and eliminate service expenses.”