Configuring a tunneler should be quick and easy

Posted by Win Worrall on May 24, 2016 2:00:00 PM

This is Part 6 of our “25 Things to Consider when Choosing an OPC Tunneler” series - Configuring a tunneler should be quick and easy.

How easy does the tunneler vendor make it to get started with their solution?  It's important to consider what resources the vendor has made available to you to assist with setup and configuration.  Resources such as videos, FAQs and technical support could mean the difference between your setup taking only minutes to that same setup taking hours or even days.

This blog post will outline some of the expectations you should have from a good tunnel vendor with respect to the resources they can provide to make your experience as user-friendly as possible, both now and in the future.

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Topics: Device Integration, OPC Tunnel, DCOM, Tunneling

Can your tunneler do more than just tunnel?

Posted by Win Worrall on May 10, 2016 1:52:44 PM

This is Part 5 of our “25 Things to Consider when Choosing an OPC Tunneler” series. Can your tunneler do more than just tunnel?

Many OPC tunnelers out there are just that—an OPC tunneler and nothing more. What if you need to perform another operation with the data besides tunneling it?  In most cases, you'd be stuck introducing an additional piece of software to handle any other operations.

This blog post will outline some of the additional functions you might need from a tunneler and why having a single application is the best architecture.

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Topics: Device Integration, OPC Tunnel, DCOM, Tunneling

Performance matters when choosing a tunneler

Posted by Win Worrall on Apr 26, 2016 2:00:00 PM

This is Part 4 of our “25 Things to Consider when Choosing an OPC Tunneler” series. Performance matters when choosing a tunneler.

Performance is always an important consideration when choosing the best tunneler.  It is even more important if one or more of the following is true:

  • You need to transfer a lot of data very fast.
  • You are using networks with limited bandwidth.
  • You are using cellular or satellite networks that charge based on the amount of data used.

This blog post will cover some important aspects to consider when evaluating different tunneling solutions, their methods and the resulting performance relative to such variables.

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Topics: Device Integration, OPC Tunnel, DCOM, Tunneling, Tunnel Performance

What is the customer experience when contacting the supplier’s technical support?

Posted by Win Worrall on Apr 12, 2016 2:02:15 PM

This is Part 3 of our “25 Things to Consider when Choosing an OPC Tunneler” series. What is the customer experience when contacting the supplier’s technical support?

Technical support is an area where users shouldn’t underestimate the importance.  This blog will cover some important aspects of technical support to consider when evaluating different tunneling suppliers.

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Topics: Device Integration, OPC Tunnel, DCOM, Tunneling, Technical Support

How should a tunneler handle network security?

Posted by Win Worrall on Apr 5, 2016 1:14:18 PM

This is Part 2 of our “25 Things to Consider when Choosing an OPC Tunneler” series. How does the tunneler handle security?

Security is an integral consideration when choosing a tunneling solution.  This blog will cover some important aspects of security to consider when evaluating different tunneling solutions.

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Topics: Device Integration, OPC Tunnel, DCOM, Tunneling, Security

How should a tunneler respond when the network connection is lost?

Posted by Win Worrall on Mar 23, 2016 12:59:12 PM

This is Part 1 of our “25 Things to Consider when Choosing an OPC Tunneler” series. When choosing software applications to handle the tunneling of your data, there is more to making the right choice than simply a checkbox on a product datasheet that says “tunneling”. This series will introduce you to the considerations that will help you make an informed choice and choose the most effective tunneler for your specific application requirements. If you are unfamiliar with what an OPC tunnel is, please read our post “ Tunneling OPC Data – What Is It?
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Topics: Device Integration, OPC Tunnel, DCOM, Tunneling

Four reasons to use tunneling for OPC data integration

Posted by Win Worrall on Mar 17, 2016 10:23:55 AM

In today’s industrial operations environments, OPC is the standard of choice for interoperability between software and hardware in the multi-vendor real world. Major software applications that need data from other systems have implemented OPC client interfaces. Those same applications if they need to share data with others, have also implemented OPC server interfaces. Similarly, the OPC standard has allowed software vendors to write applications, called OPC Servers, which make it easy to access real-time data from any piece of equipment offered by any vendor.

Since 1995, the OPC Foundation estimates that over 30 million OPC server and client software applications have been deployed in operations management from the shop floor up through production and operations management layers. The result is that data from the factory floor is more available now than ever before.

The greater availability of data has generated greater demand for access to the data across a wider number of locations and users. However, getting that data from the factory floor to your systems and staff to monitor and act upon it has challenges.

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Topics: Device Integration, OPC Tunnel, DCOM, Tunneling

Tunneling OPC Data – What Is It?

Posted by Win Worrall on Mar 16, 2016 5:18:14 PM

You may have heard the terms OPC tunnel or tunneling of OPC data before and not have known exactly what the terms meant. In this blog post, we will explain what people mean when they talk about an OPC tunnel or tunneling of OPC data. In order to explain what the terms mean, we need to first understand how OPC data is exchanged between an OPC server and an OPC client.
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Topics: Device Integration, Tunneling

Connect Your HMI/SCADA to Barcode Scanners

Posted by Kevin Rutherford on Jan 28, 2016 1:59:16 PM

Barcode scanners are one of those types of devices that are extremely common in a variety of industries, whether it's for use in a manufacturing process or for cataloging inventory or a multitude of other possible uses.  But how do you go from scanning a barcode to making that barcode data available to your monitoring applications such as an HMI or a SCADA?

Over the years of working in the automation software realm, I've seen dozens of clients have this seemingly basic need to bring barcodes up into various software packages.  Regardless of the make/model of the scanner, the process is almost identical.  For example, you could connect to a DataLogic scanner in under five minutes. (Click for How-To Video)

This post will cover the steps for bridging that gap between your scanners and your client applications.

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Topics: Wonderware, Device Integration, software

Four Benefits of Designing Process Graphics in MS Visio

Posted by Kevin Rutherford on Jan 22, 2016 11:53:23 AM
 

Designing visually dynamic and attractive graphics for use in your HMI or SCADA can seem like a daunting task to many who aren’t graphic or CAD designers. Speaking from personal experience, using packages like Adobe Illustrator or AutoCAD to create something from scratch that I’d actually want to use on a control screen is not an easy feat – I have a degree in marketing, not graphic design.

And it’s not always practical or cost-effective to farm out such tasks to the professionals when you maybe only need one or two graphics. So you’re probably saying “What’s the alternative, then?”

For those who’ve been in this position before (and even those who haven’t – please keep an open mind), consider the benefits of using Microsoft Visio as a “design” tool for creating your graphics.

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Topics: Wonderware, software

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