AWS, MQTT, Edge, and Perspective for Easy Government Compliance and Better Operations

7 min video  /  4 minute read

Project Scope

  • Tags: 2,100
  • Screens: 15
  • Clients: 10
  • Alarms: 50
  • Devices used: 10 Allen-Bradley PLCs, seven Moxa UC-8100-MEs
  • Architectures used: Hub and Spoke
  • Databases used: 10 MySQL
  • Historical data logged: 10 million rows per month

Project Overview

With this new system, Roeslein Alternative Energy (RAE) can collect data from numerous locations and see all the data in one place. It’s now much easier to do compliance reporting, and data is also used to improve operations in several ways.



RAE has the need to reliably collect data from various disparate locations and have all data accessible in one place. Other companies with similar operations also need to report this type of data, as it’s required for government compliance. Thus, a secure network for data capture and access is needed for RAE — and the network needs to be able to support the addition of outside companies. Each company should only be able to access the data that is specific to it. The system should provide a streamlined way to visualize data, assess the status of operations, and build the reports necessary for monthly submissions to maintain compliance and to track production.



Roeslein & Associates has built and implemented two separate hub-and-spoke Ignition systems to fully solve this problem. The first system takes care of all data that is necessary for government compliance reporting. This system is built to be able to allow other companies to use the Amazon Web Services (AWS) data pipeline Roeslein & Associates has set up to store, access, and report on the data. The hub in this system is an AWS virtual private cloud. The data capture starts by using edge computers (Moxa UC-8100-ME) running Ignition Edge. These devices have a direct Ethernet connection to the supervisory PLC to ensure communication between the edge device and the PLC is as reliable as possible. This data is transmitted outside of the local site network using the MQTT Transmission Module with SSH. The system also has two dedicated AWS EC2 instances running the MQTT Distributor Modules. Two distributors are used for redundancy and for expandability.

The main AWS EC2 instance is running the MQTT Engine. This instance has a redundant partner. The main EC2 instance (MQTT Engine) takes care of all database writes to an AWS RDS instance using Ignition’s Tag Historian Module. Finally, to access the data, there is a dedicated client hosting an EC2 instance running Ignition Perspective. This EC2 instance communicates with the main instance for data access via a gateway connection using the AWS virtual private cloud. Any company can gain access to this data pipeline by setting up an MQTT data transmission (it technically would not even need to be an Ignition gateway) pointed at the MQTT distributors. Roeslein would then set them up a profile, which is basically just their own database within the RDS cluster to store their data (there is a bit more to set up from the Ignition side with UDTs but setup is minimal). To access the data, there would be user logins and roles to indicate which company users belong to. Data accessibility is then based on roles after a login.

The second system is used to capture all the process data that is available. This data is used for OEE calculations and other useful insights into the process. This is a more traditional example of a hub-and-spoke system, and is unique to RAE (it does not host data for other companies). In this system, the data capture starts with a main Ignition server at each site. Data is transmitted using the MQTT Transmission Module over a VPN connection. The main server (the hub) is the MQTT Distributor and Engine. The main server also hosts the Perspective project that is used to access the data. This is the system that RAE uses to troubleshoot its other systems, track maintenance, and gain insight on how to optimize its processes.



RAE and another company are both using the solution provided for reporting compliance data. This has streamlined the process and ensures a single source of truth for reporting the data. Furthermore, RAE uses the operations platform daily for various reasons and it continues to grow and develop new features. This type of system has been proposed to potential customers and has received quite a bit of interest.

Project Information

Created By:   Roeslein & Associates

Roeslein & Associates is a global leader in engineering, procurement, modular fabrication, and construction of can-making and industrial plant facilities, while providing a wide range of technical services and engineered products to various process industries. Since the company first introduced its specialized approach (prefabrication, preassembly, modularization), it has remained at the forefront of the latest advances in modularized approaches to large capital projects for specialized facilities.


Project For:   Roeslein Alternative Energy

Roeslein Alternative Energy (RAE) was founded in 2012 as an operator and developer of renewable energy production facilities that convert agricultural and industrial wastes, along with renewable biomass feedstocks, into renewable natural gas and sustainable co-products. RAE engages in these operations with a focus on sustainability and environmental improvement. Founder Rudi Roeslein’s vision is to restore 30 million acres of grasslands on marginal lands throughout the Midwest in 30 years. Beyond that, RAE hopes to use this as a model to restore hundreds of millions of acres of grasslands around the globe.

Posted on October 1, 2021