Software Toolbox Technical Blog

Video Tutorial: Integrating Industrial Data with HiveMQ using OPC Router

1 min read

By Zachary Parham on Jun 13, 2024 2:00:00 PM

Welcome back to our Summer of IoT blog series! We hope that last week’s introduction to the series created excitement as we continue to explore how our IoT solutions can help you achieve even greater success with your Industry 4.0 and Digital Transformation initiatives.

In today's video blog, we will be integrating REST with MQTT by using OPC Router to connect to a RESTful API service and publish data to HiveMQ's MQTT Broker.

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IoT and You – Kicking off the Summer of IoT

8 min read

By Ryan Royse on Jun 6, 2024 2:00:00 PM

Welcome to the kickoff of Software Toolbox’s Summer of IoT blog series! Over the next few blog posts, we’ll discuss how our products can play a role in the exciting world of Internet of Things (IoT), but more importantly, how they can be used to further your success in Industry 4.0 and Digital Transformation initiatives. The IoT landscape has grown exponentially over the past decade, transforming industries by connecting devices, systems, and people in unprecedented ways. IoT is reshaping how we interact with technology. At Software Toolbox, we recognize the power of IoT and are committed to providing solutions that facilitate this technological revolution.

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Video Tutorial: Data Collection from BACnet Controllers

2 min read

By Lauren Conrad on May 30, 2024 2:00:00 PM

Originally developed by the American Heating Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers, BACnet (short for Building Automation and Control Network) is a communications protocol primarily used in building automation systems to control the data exchange between different devices and components. If you're reading this, you’re likely familiar with the building automation and control industry and might have a BACnet controller being used in your industrial process.

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OPC Router – Report Downtime for your Connections

6 min read

By Kyle Persyn on May 23, 2024 2:00:00 PM

In the ever-changing landscape of industrial control, the ability to establish connections and facilitate efficient data exchange between different technologies is crucial. With digital transformation, the industry requires robust integration solutions more than ever before. If you’ve been keeping up with our previously released OPC Router blogs, you're already aware that OPC Router is a flexible middleware solution that provides an array of functionalities for exchanging and integrating data across different technologies. It facilitates seamless interoperability by acting as a connection point between various data sources, protocols, and applications such as OPC DA/Classic, OPC UA, databases, REST, ERP, SAP, and more with a visual workflow editor, templates, and imports for scalable configuration.

If you are new to OPC Router and want to learn more, our OPC Router Learning Resources are a great place to get started.

Knowing when your systems are online and functional is key to the success of your business. In large operations, it could be someone's full-time responsibility to mitigate problems and fix them when they inevitably occur. This makes it critical for the right people to be alerted in a timely fashion so they can take corrective action. To facilitate this need, what if you could also have real-time updates from your process and other systems through email notifications? Rather than rely on human detection and reaction, what if your actual processes and business systems could message you via email when a connection goes down (possibly a critical system is down, or a tank is approaching a critical level)?

In this blog post, we'll cover the steps necessary to use OPC Router to integrate your variety of connections with email notifications, empowering you to stay informed about downtime occurrences and expedite critical decision-making processes for your business.

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Flexible Control of Real-Time Device Polling Schedules

7 min read

By John Gonzalez on May 16, 2024 2:00:00 PM

The TOP Server OPC server is known for its ability to collect real-time data from a wide range of devices, using off-the-shelf industry standard protocols. However, challenges arise when not all devices can consistently share data in real-time due to limitations in connectivity mediums or networks. This is particularly evident in critical SCADA-heavy industries like Power & Utilities, Renewable Energy, Oil & Gas and Water/Wastewater, where precise control of polling is crucial due to their limited bandwidth availability. With traditional cyclic polling, for example "once an hour", you can end up with high bandwidth utilization at the top of an hour and the communications link being idle the rest of the time. Rather than do that, it's better to spread that usage out over the full hour.

The TOP Server Scheduler Plug-In is used to accomplish this spreading out of polling. With it, users can create a customized polling schedule for these devices for any TOP Server driver, which in turn optimizes communications between your SCADA, HMI, MES, or Historian and devices in the field. This eliminates the need to rely on your client applications or direct device configurations to achieve reliable collection crucial operational data from field devices.

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Your OPC Client Toolkit Should Keep Connectivity Simple, Right?

7 min read

By Nicole Knox on May 9, 2024 2:00:00 PM

Sometimes we are approached by users and integrators with very specific business demands, and an off-the-shelf OPC client solution isn't always the answer to their problems. As they explore the fully customizable development toolkits on the market, they are often concerned that their OPC expertise is inadequate for writing their own OPC client application. How should states and client objects be handled? When would an OPC group need to be created and have items added? What about timeouts, keep-alive intervals and more? Isn't PubSub (as in OPC UA PubSub) a deli sandwich from a popular grocery store called Publix in the US region we live in? Look – we hear you – and its problems like this that Software Toolbox has been solving since 1996. Let's start by saying this up front – you do NOT need to be an OPC expert or understand the internal complexities of OPC connectivity. Our OPC client development toolkit handles all of that and so much more for you. Let's learn more. 

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Tech Support Corner: DataHub Item Imports Made Easy

5 min read

By Connor Mason on May 2, 2024 2:00:00 PM

Cogent DataHub enables users to integrate diverse data sources quickly and efficiently within their industrial automation ecosystems. By providing multiple ways to consume, organize, and deliver data, handling multiple inputs is a strong suit of DataHub.

CSV import functionalities are available for a variety of plug-ins including OPC DA & UA Clients, MQTT Client, External & Local Historians, Bridging, and Modbus. In this blog, we'll delve into the format and import options of OPC UA items specifically tailored for DataHub's OPC UA Client configuration, but the concept is the same for all CSV imports in DataHub.

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Enabling Sustainability through all Levels of the Automation Pyramid

7 min read

By Zachary Parham on Apr 25, 2024 2:00:00 PM

Software Toolbox’s solutions play a pivotal role throughout multiple renewable energy sectors. However, our solutions don't only help with the day-to-day creation of renewable energy but also the supply chains that enable the creation of these energy sources, reducing cost and increasing efficiency across all levels of your business via automation.

Last week, we shared a specific use case of how our software is being used to help reduce waste and energy usage. In this final post of our Environmental Sustainability series, we will explore additional ways our software can be, and has been, used across the entire automation pyramid to reduce waste and increase efficiency. Chances are, this is something you are already very familiar with. But for those of you who are not, the automation pyramid functions as a conceptual blueprint utilized in industrial automation representing the different levels of data transfer necessary for automation. This pyramid likely aligns with the different areas within your business.

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