Software Toolbox Technical Blog

A Tribute to Kevin Rutherford from his Software Toolbox Family

6 min read

By John Weber on May 25, 2023 2:00:00 PM


In today's blog post, I reach out to you in tribute to Kevin M. Rutherford, our dear friend and colleague. 

It is with an exceptionally heavy heart that I am writing to share that Kevin passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on May 14, 2023. Our compassion, love and support go out to his wife Jennifer, Kevin's family, their friends and extended family at this time of loss. Last week, we held a week of silence on this blog in honor of Kevin. This week we felt moved to honor Kevin here, the place many of you heard from him regularly and share what he meant to us, partners, & clients around the world. Bear with us, as we have a lot to say, but we loved Kevin and he will be missed forever. 

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What Can You Count On When Working with Software Toolbox?

6 min read

By Haley Waddell on May 11, 2023 2:00:00 PM


Having expectations, for both oneself and others, plays a vast role in motivation, success and the overall experience one has in virtually any situation. As can be expected, when you're reaching out to the technical support team of any company, there's a good chance you're already in a state of some distress, potentially. As such, an empathetic ear and technically proficient hand on the other end of the line can go a long way to making your day better.

Software Toolbox takes great measures to ensure that all employees are equipped to provide exceptional support and we hold ourselves to a high expectation when delivering solutions to your technical problems. We put ourselves in your shoes wherever possible to understand the stressors motivating your call so we can do our best to deliver. This blog post will highlight some key benefits of working with Software Toolbox.

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Video Tutorial - Logging Dynamic JSON Data to SQL or MES

2 min read

By Rodrigo Restrepo on May 4, 2023 2:00:00 PM

JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) is a file format that has become fairly common in the industrial automation industry for storing data or information (including such things as configuration files). But also as one of the most common data formats used by RESTful APIs and web services, which are commonly used for providing a range of useful information including energy prices and weather data.

Sometimes, of course, depending on the application, some or all components of JSON packet might be variable or dynamic in nature, which can make it difficult for off-the-shelf industrial software solutions to properly parse the information from those packets.

In this post, I will cover step-by-step how to leverage the scripting capabilities of the OPC Router to access and parse JSON packets either from a JSON file saved to a specific file directory or from a RESTful web service after which that data can be used with any of the other connectors that OPC Router supports. For this example, we log the data to a SQL database.

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Software Toolbox Solutions Commonly Used in Renewable Energy Sector

7 min read

By Sarah Eckhoff on Apr 27, 2023 2:00:00 PM


Firstly, Happy Belated Earth Day to all that celebrated on Saturday!

Currently, renewable energy generates around 20% of all electricity in the US. This percentage increases daily - you may have seen more solar panels popping up around your neighborhood! This allows us greater potential to modernize the grid through renewable energy within our communities.  As the potential for more energy generation increases, the need for more jobs within this sector increases as well.  In fact, with the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA), the more than $50 billion in clean manufacturing investments in the law will create an estimated 900,000 jobs over the next decade.  These strong investments will initiate a manufacturing revitalization and help to move clean manufacturing to center stage within the US.

In this fourth and final installment of our Environmental Sustainability blog series, we are going to take a look at commonly used software solutions that our clients in the Renewable Energy sector have implemented to assist with sustainable energy production.

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Industrial Software Solutions and Oil & Gas Environmental Compliance

6 min read

By Zachary Parham on Apr 20, 2023 2:00:00 PM


When people think of environmental sustainability, in general, they often do not think of the oil and gas industry. But the fact of the matter is that oil, natural gas and other hydrocarbons are a large part of our global energy supply and chemical production. There are many environmentally-focused regulations that these industries must meet. Even with these regulations, the industry has begun to exceed these expectations through technology such as carbon capture as a method of reducing one’s ecological footprint.

In this third installment of our Environmental Sustainability blog series, we are discussing oil & gas industry regulatory requirements and how industrial automation software solutions empower organizations in the industry with monitoring of critical data so they can act on potential issues before they become problems, and support their reporting to meet such requirements and also with monitoring such that those requirements can be more easily achieved.

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The Economic Impact of Environmental Sustainability

6 min read

By Sarah Eckhoff on Apr 13, 2023 2:00:00 PM


Environmental sustainability is built on the principle that everything humans need for both survival and our well-being triggers a reaction in the environment. The pillars of sustainability are based upon the interdependent relationships of the environment, the economy, and our society. Because many of the goods and services that are required for human survival are either traded for or purchased monetarily, this inherently creates an impact on the environment. So, what is the economic impact of environmental sustainability?

In this second installment of our Environmental Sustainability blog series, we are exploring just that – how investing in the sustainability of your product line can have positive impacts on the environment.

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Waste Reduction in Automation Using OmniServer

4 min read

By Zachary Parham on Apr 6, 2023 2:00:00 PM


Here at Software Toolbox, we strive to be the “One Responsible Partner” for our clients - a motto we see as soon as we enter the door every morning. That extends beyond just our amazing sales and support teams. It also means being the One Responsible Partner for our Earth.

With Earth Day coming up, our team has decided to take this month to focus on the different ways our products help users achieve their own environmental sustainability goals and the conservation of natural resources in general. In this first blog post, we will take a look at how OmniServer helped a food and beverage user improve efficiency and reduce waste in a “sweet” way.

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Did You Know? OmniServer Byte Order to Display Item Values Correctly

8 min read

By Kevin Rutherford on Mar 30, 2023 2:00:00 PM


As someone who has worked with non-standard device connectivity using OmniServer for almost 18 years, I've encounter most of the subtle nuances of certain protocols that a user might need to implement and how to do so in OmniServer. One such nuance (which is true even with "standard" protocols such as Modbus) is that it's not uncommon for device vendors to implement their communication protocols with variable or parameter values that use a unique byte order compared to ordering by the first byte received to the last byte received (also referred to Most Significant Byte to Least Significant Byte, Big Endian or Motorola Byte Order).

You may not be aware that OmniServer has several flexible ways to manipulate the ordering of bytes parsed into Items to be shared with client applications to ensure that the correct and expected value is always displayed in your HMI, SCADA, historian, MES or other client applications.

Returning and expanding our "Did You Know" OmniServer blog post series, I'll cover what byte ordering settings are available in OmniServer, when you might need to use them and how.

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