3 Reasons to Be Excited about OPC Data Client 2018.1 Release

Posted by John Weber on Feb 14, 2018 2:00:00 PM

Our latest release of the OPC Data Client development toolkit provides some exciting new features for leveraging powerful OPC UA technology features including OPC UA complex data support.

In this post, we will cover some of the key reasons the OPC Data Client 2018.1 is an easy, effective method for bringing the power of OPC UA to your custom client applications.

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Topics: OPC UA, OPC, OPC Data Client, Developer Tools

Did You Know? Four Key OmniServer Tips For Easier Protocol Creation

Posted by Kevin Rutherford on Feb 8, 2018 2:00:00 PM

As someone who has worked with non-standard device connectivity using OmniServer for over 10 years, I sometimes take for granted the knowledge that I have gained over that time.  If you're anything like me, once you figure out the data you need from your device's protocol document, you just want to get your protocol knocked out as quickly as possible so you can start communicating.

In this post, I'm going to cover 4 key tips that I've learned over the years when working in OmniServer to build a protocol that you may not have realized and that could add convenience and save you a lot of time, which is time you can be spending on other important tasks.

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Topics: Wonderware, Device Integration, Protocols, OmniServer, drivers, connectivity, OPC Server

Your Data Logger Wouldn’t Just Throw Away Data. Or Would It?

Posted by Marc Holbach on Feb 1, 2018 2:00:00 PM

What is the most important feature for any data logger to have? At the end of the day, we are trusting a data logger to take our data and store it.  Now whether that is for reporting, optimization, legal reasons, or simply to retain process data over some period of time in case it might be needed later, we expect the data to be logged without any losses.

This is particularly true in the industrial automation space, where the amount of data that is being logged is growing almost as exponentially as the speed at which the data is needed in order to have a business impact. As such, the prospect of losing data can very quickly result in lost jobs, thousands of dollars in lost production, and legal or financial penalties in case of an audit.

So how much do you trust your data logger to really be logging 100% of the data that it should be? In this blog post, I will address these concerns and highlight the ways OPC UA provides capabilities that software applications can leverage to provide peace of mind.

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Topics: OPC UA, OPC, OPC DA, Logging, Data Logging, Automation 101, OPC Data Logger, reporting

Video Tutorial: Sending Email & SMS Alerts Triggered by Process Values

Posted by Win Worrall on Jan 25, 2018 2:00:00 PM

Timely notifications about abnormal conditions in your process are vital to minimizing downtime and the costs associated with it.  Automating the process based on the condition of specific process variables gets you the information you need for making decisions as quickly as possible.

The following short video blog demonstrates step-by-step how easy it is to use the Cogent DataHub to establish a connection to an OPC data source and then define various flexible conditions for triggering email and/or SMS text notifications based on values collected from that OPC server.

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Topics: Device Integration, OPC UA, OPC Integration, OPC DA, Email, SMS, Alarming, DataHub

Automation & Control Software Learning Resources for the New Year

Posted by Kevin Rutherford on Jan 18, 2018 2:00:00 PM

The New Year is a time of renewal, new projects, new challenges, and for some of you, new roles, or new people on your teams.  The last year has been one where our team has grown and worked to deliver the relevant content you need to learn more about software for automation & control, how to use our products, and the type of problems we solve.

In this blog post, we’ll provide a quick review of some key items from the last year that can help you or your colleagues in the coming year.  If you aren’t already subscribed to our blog, we encourage you to subscribe. We publish new content at least once a week, sometimes more often, and you can control the frequency of when you are notified of new content.

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Topics: Wonderware, DataHub, OmniServer, TOP Server

How to Connect, Integrate, or Communicate between Control Systems

Posted by Colin Winchester on Jan 11, 2018 2:00:00 PM

Our Automation 101 blog series is designed to help professionals that are new to the industrial automation space whether at the start of their careers, or moving into the operations technology (OT) world from an IT or other background.

One of the common challenges in Industrial Integration is communications between different brands or manufacturers’ control devices (PLC, DCS, Drives, RTUs, smart sensors).  While most control devices have methods of communication, and some industry standards have helped, they don’t all communicate using the same methods or protocols, and even if they both have the same serial or Ethernet wiring the difference in communication protocols prevents them from passing information.  It’s the same problem you have if someone calls you on the phone, but doesn’t speak the same language.

While, as humans, we may be able to overcome a difference in dialect, machine communication has to be precise and exact.  Small differences in addressing or data formatting can be enough variation to create communications failure. So how do people overcome this challenge?

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Topics: Device Integration, OPC UA, OPC, OPC Integration, OPC DA, Bridging, Automation 101, DataHub, connectivity

How to Connect a Non-Standard Device with No Code

Posted by Kevin Rutherford on Jan 4, 2018 2:00:00 PM

l ask you to remember back to our blog post last month where took the information we pulled from a device’s protocol document (in the prior month's blog) and created a custom protocol in OmniServer.  As you’ll recall, our protocol has now been designed.

But how do you go about testing the protocol and proving that it works? This final post in the series takes you through the steps of getting connected and actually troubleshooting your OmniServer protocol.

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Topics: Wonderware, Device Integration, OPC UA, OPC, Protocols, OPC DA, OmniServer, drivers, connectivity, Protocol Design

How to Implement a Custom Protocol for a Non-Standard Device with No Code

Posted by Kevin Rutherford on Dec 21, 2017 2:00:00 PM

So remember in our blog post last month where you just have a protocol document from the manufacturer for a device you need to integrate with your control system?  And for this new device, there is no existing, off-the-shelf connectivity driver or server available.

And remember asking yourself, “How do I connect to this non-standard device?”  With custom software development being very expensive and time-consuming, we discussed a better way using OmniServer.

This post, the second of three, goes beyond the protocol details we gathered from the document in our blog post last month to provide the basics on how to actually use those details to build a working protocol in OmniServer without custom code for a fast, affordable solution with industry-standard client interfaces including as OPC DA and UA.

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Topics: Wonderware, Device Integration, OPC UA, OPC, Protocols, OPC DA, OmniServer, drivers, connectivity, Protocol Design

Top 3 TOP Server V6.4 Features to Be Excited About

Posted by Kevin Rutherford on Dec 14, 2017 2:00:00 PM

If you haven't received one of my emails or heard from a colleague about our latest TOP Server release, you may not have heard about the key new features in the TOP Server V6.4 release.

In this post, I'm going to go through the top 3 key features released in V6.4 in more detail and how they benefit you as a TOP Server user.

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Topics: Wonderware, Device Integration, TOP Server

Can your OPC systems tell you when something is wrong?

Posted by Win Worrall on Dec 4, 2017 4:23:13 PM

In this edition of OPC Talk with Win and Marc, we’re going to discuss when things go wrong and how do you know?  No matter what OPC software you’re using, there are many things that can happen that could cause system problems.  Most people would rather know about a problem before it ruins their day, week, month, or career, right?

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Topics: OPC

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Working in industrial automation since 1996, the Software Toolbox team has seen a lot. The level of automation system sophistication of our integrators and users has evolved, each driven by the demands of their market and clients.  Everyone's learning continues as technological change accelerates.

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