Introduction to OPC UA Seminar

Posted by Marc Holbach on Sep 27, 2016 2:15:46 PM

The OPC UA specification is an evolution on the original OPC Classic specifications that has been designed by the OPC Foundation to supplement, but not render obsolete the existing OPC standards such as DA, HDA, & A&E.  OPC UA is designed to make enterprise-level integration easier, while ensuring compatibility and interoperability with existing OPC DA, HDA, and A&E servers and clients. OPC expert Marc Holbach gives a seminar on all of the details below.

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Topics: OPC UA, OPC

Expanding your System Platform Integration Options

Posted by Colin Winchester on Sep 22, 2016 2:00:00 PM

Over the years, I have run across a number of system integrators asking question about how to connect various systems. One of the common ones I run across is how to connect Wonderware products to other servers or systems.

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Topics: Wonderware, Device Integration

Can You Tunnel Remote Data From Many Locations?

Posted by Win Worrall on Sep 20, 2016 2:30:00 PM

Collecting data from multiple remote sites or aggregating, as it is generally referred to, is a big part of geographically distributed control operations.  Having a macro picture of your operations over all of your locations is key.

And efficient, reliable performance is always a concern.  This blog post will discuss performance as it relates to aggregating data from multiple remote sites using a tunneler solution and why it's important for tunneler solutions to support multiple tunnel connections in the same instance.

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Topics: Device Integration, Tunneling, OPC, aggregation

Why Your Industrial Communications Protocol Matters: Focus on SNMP

Posted by Colin Winchester on Sep 15, 2016 8:57:33 AM

Software Toolbox has been involved with Industrial Automation communications for over 20 years now.  When you've done something for such a long time you can forget that many people in this industry or IT don’t know as much about the topic as they would like.

This second blog post to our "Why Your Industrial Protocol Matters" series shares a detailed overview of the SNMP communications protocol written by John Weber a number of years ago and still perfectly relevant today.   Over the last 15 years, there has been a great tendency to merge IT and Industrial networking together. One of the advantages of this practice is the increased usage of SNMP into the control/industrial network arena. For those without an IT background, this is key knowledge that we will see continue to grow.  If you missed our introduction blog post to this series and want to get caught up, you can access it here.

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Topics: Device Integration, Protocols

Why Your Industrial Communications Protocol Matters

Posted by Marc Holbach on Sep 8, 2016 2:00:00 PM

Software Toolbox has been involved with Industrial Automation communications for over 20 years now and some of us for even longer.  When you've done something for such a long time you can forget that many people in this industry or IT don’t know as much about the topic as they would like.

To help share the collective knowledge we've gained throughout the years, we're starting a series of articles on why protocols matter for getting the most out of your projects.

This introductory blog post to the series will discuss my insights starting out in this industry as an Applications Consultant at Software Toolbox with respect to just how important the actual communications protocol and understanding of its strengths and weaknesses can be to the success of a project.

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Topics: Device Integration, Protocols

Can You Tunnel Remote Data Without Opening the Firewall?

Posted by Win Worrall on Sep 7, 2016 1:00:00 PM

The more regulated your industry, the more likely it is that you have a cybersecurity team that is extremely vigilant about gaps in security.  Traditionally, remote OPC tunneling has generally always required that network firewalls have at least one port open for data transfers to work successfully.

But what if you work in one of these highly regulated industries and your IT/cybersecurity department won't allow you to open any firewall ports for remote data sharing?

This blog post will discuss why it's important for a tunneler solution to support alternatives to the traditional methods of tunneling with open firewall ports to ensure network integrity.

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Topics: Device Integration, Tunneling, Security, OPC

Can Your OPC Tunneler Unlock All of Your Data Sources?

Posted by Win Worrall on Aug 23, 2016 12:39:14 PM

The word tunneling, when it comes to industrial automation and data, typically goes together with OPC.  OPC tunneling is generally the most common form of tunneling, but what if your data sources aren't OPC?

What if you have more than just OPC clients and servers in your architecture and those non-OPC data sources have vital information that needs to be collected and shared with your other systems?

This blog post will discuss why it's  important for a tunneler solution to support more than just OPC-capable data sources in a diverse control system.

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Topics: Device Integration, Tunneling, CSV, OPC, DDE, ODBC

Is Your OPC Tunneler up to OPC Spec?

Posted by Win Worrall on Aug 9, 2016 12:44:51 PM

The letters O - P - C get thrown around a lot these days in the context of the industrial automation industry.  But it's important to understand that OPC is not a one-size-fits-all standard.  There are different specifications under the OPC umbrella and it's not a safe assumption that they are all just compatible with each other because they typically are not.

This blog post will discuss how important it is to know which OPC specifications you have in use and whether the OPC tunneler solution you have or are considering can handle them all.

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Topics: Device Integration, Tunneling, OPC UA, OPC

Viewing Your Software Toolbox Support History

Posted by Marc Holbach on Aug 2, 2016 1:55:14 PM

So you just installed a Software Toolbox product and have run into a problem and you have exhausted all the normal troubleshooting steps – what do you do now?

The next step should be to give our support team a call, or shoot us an email. Whether you call or email, the moment you reach out to us a support ticket will be created and your support history is recorded in its entirety in our CRM system for future reference.

This blog post will cover how easy it is to access your current and historical cases with the Software Toolbox support team.

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Topics: Wonderware, Technical Support

Connecting Windows to non-Windows in Your Control System

Posted by Win Worrall on Jul 26, 2016 10:37:59 AM

This is Part 10 of our “25 Things to Consider when Choosing an OPC Tunneler” series.  Are there ways to connect a Windows system to a non-Windows system with the Tunnel solution?

Since OPC was designed around DCOM, a Windows only technology, you simply do not find OPC Data Access Servers that are supported in a non-Windows environment.  Nonetheless, it's not unusual for control systems to have both Windows and non-Windows machines that need to share information.

This blog post will discuss how it can be possible to link Windows and non-Windows systems in your control systems.

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Topics: Device Integration, Tunneling, non-Windows, Linux, QNX, Windows

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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.

This blog is about sharing from these journeys.  From tips on implementing software, successes our clients have experienced, or new ideas and things to consider in your journey, we'll be sharing them here.

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