Software Toolbox Technical Blog

6 min read

The Benefits of Secure Remote Access to Industrial Process Data

By Kevin Rutherford on Apr 2, 2020 2:00:00 PM

It can be tricky in this era of increasing cross-connectivity of anything and everything, from a lowly household appliance to IT/OT hybrid systems applying predictive analytics to an industrial process, to balance connectivity everywhere and the required security to mitigate cyber threats.  In the past, remote access to industrial process data often required network access to the actual HMI or SCADA system on the process network.  But why do you need network access to your SCADA system, when all you really need is just to access the data?

In this blog post, we'll discuss a few of the key benefits to having remote access to your industrial process data, which can be essential to making timely business decisions and discuss a flexible solution for enabling remote access without exposing your industrial process network to outside threats, including how to sign up for a free account for a limited time.

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2 min read

Video Tutorial: Using OmniServer with Ignition SCADA via OPC UA

By Kevin Rutherford on Mar 26, 2020 2:00:00 PM


OmniServer's connectivity and data parsing capabilities are its primary job; however, they are only the part of how OmniServer helps with integrating non-standard devices with Inductive Automation's Ignition HMI/SCADA.  How does the device data actually make it into Ignition?

In this video blog, I'll show you how to make an OPC UA client connection from Ignition to OmniServer for integrating process data from all of your "other" devices that don't have a standard, off-the-shelf driver - and all without the expense and headaches of having to write custom code.

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1 min read

Video Tutorial: Real-Time Collection for Mitsubishi Ethernet

By Kevin Rutherford on Mar 19, 2020 2:00:00 PM


If you're reading this, you likely have at least one Mitsubishi PLC being used in your industrial process and need to integrate data from that process.

In this video blog, I'll show you how to get started using our Mitsubishi Ethernet driver to connect and gather real-time process data from Mitsubishi PLCs for AVEVA formerly Wonderware applications.

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2 min read

Accessing AVEVA formerly Wonderware Software from OPC UA Clients

By Kevin Rutherford on Mar 12, 2020 2:00:00 PM


Have you ever been in a situation where you were working with both AVEVA formerly Wonderware software and some other client (HMI, SCADA, other) and needed to share data?  Perhaps your company acquired another company or assets and a non-Wonderware HMI/SCADA came as part of the assets.  Or perhaps your company merged with another and now your Wonderware system is expected to play nicely with some other system.  Your options for sharing data largely depend on what software interfaces this "other system" supports.

In this video blog post, we walk through step-by-step how to share your AVEVA formerly Wonderware software data via OPC UA for situations where you're working with an OPC UA capable client application that needs access to process data in your Wonderware system.

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2 min read

Video Tutorial: Using Cogent DataHub with OPC UA Client Applications

By Kevin Rutherford on Mar 5, 2020 2:00:00 PM


Cogent DataHub enables a wide range of connectivity interfaces for different data sources such as OPC UA, OPC DA, ODBC, DDE and so much more.  As such, DataHub is a flexible gateway commonly used for data integration by external software such as HMI, SCADA, MES, historians and other client applications.

In this video blog, I'll show you how to make a secure OPC UA connection from OPC UA clients supporting the Data Access profile to DataHub for integrating process data from a myriad of data sources.

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2 min read

Video Tutorial: Using TOP Server with OPC UA Client Applications

By Kevin Rutherford on Feb 27, 2020 2:00:00 PM


TOP Server for AVEVA™, formerly Wonderware connectivity to hundreds of device types and protocols is only part of how TOP Server helps with integrating industrial process data with external software such as AVEVA™ System Platform, formerly Wonderware and other client applications.  How does the device data actually make it into the client?

In this video blog, I'll show you how to make a secure OPC UA connection from OPC UA clients supporting the Data Access profile to TOP Server for integrating process data from the wide variety of device vendors and protocols that TOP Server supports.  We cover the basics of configuring the OPC UA server interface in TOP Server and making an OPC UA connection using an OPC UA test client.

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8 min read

DataHub Enables Modular Procedural Automation at Air Liquide

By Win Worrall on Feb 20, 2020 2:00:00 PM


If you're unfamiliar with Modular Procedural Automation (MPA), it helps automate start-up, shutdown and other data-driven procedures in a process, increasing efficiency, optimizing production, and reducing wear and tear on equipment.  Additionally, MPA helps increase operator productivity and confidence.

Adapted from the case study in Control Magazine, this blog post covers how Air Liquide, a world leader in chemicals manufacturing, is migrating to MPA using OPC UA and OPC bridging to lower startup time by over 60% and increase production to over 500 additional tons of liquid oxygen (LOX) resulting in increased profitability.

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2 min read

Video Tutorial: Using OmniServer with OPC UA Client Applications

By Kevin Rutherford on Feb 13, 2020 2:00:00 PM


OmniServer's connectivity and data parsing capabilities are only part of how OmniServer helps with integrating non-standard devices with external software such as HMI, SCADA, MES, historians and other client application.  How does the device data actually make it into the client?

In this video blog, I'll show you how to make a secure OPC UA connection from OPC UA clients supporting the Data Access profile to OmniServer for integrating process data from all of your "other" devices where there isn't a standard, off-the-shelf driver - all without the cost and effort of having to write a custom driver.

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8 min read

Exploring OPC UA - Symmetric vs Asymmetric Encryption

By Marc Holbach on Feb 6, 2020 2:00:00 PM


In the first post of our ongoing Exploring OPC UA blog series, we covered the three functions that OPC UA Certificates (also known as Application Certificates) serve in the context of OPC UA security.

In this second post, we'll take a look at what happens to messages after you have trusted the application certificates and have enabled security on the OPC UA endpoint. Specifically, what does Sign&Encrypt mean on an endpoint and how can we be sure that the data is truly secure.

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5 min read

New 2020 Automation & Control Software Learning Resources

By Kevin Rutherford on Jan 30, 2020 2:00:00 PM


It’s a new year and a new decade and, as everything moves faster, we all have to keep our knowledge and skills current.

In this blog post, we provide a quick reference to learning resources that users have told us were the most helpful to them over the course of the last year.

If you aren’t already subscribed to our blog, we encourage you to subscribe . We publish new content about once a week, sometimes more often, and you can control when you are notified of new content.

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4 min read

Exploring OPC UA - OPC UA Certificate Basics

By Marc Holbach on Jan 23, 2020 2:00:00 PM


The use of certificates in cryptographic applications and online communication protocols is nothing new and can practically be traced all the way back to the 1970's when the "framework" for public key encryption (more on this in a future blog) came into being. With the (now-not-so-recent) Industry 4.0 movement coming out of Europe, and the design and operation changes brought about by the IIoT phenomenon, we are seeing more and more systems – that have traditionally been air-gapped and kept offline – being brought online to take advantage of the digital revolution in which we find ourselves.

Despite how you feel about this (r)evolution there are several exciting changes that are being brought about, including the one I want to discuss is the increased adoption of OPC Unified Architecture (OPC UA) in automation systems.

In this first post in our ongoing Exploring OPC UA blog series, we will look at what OPC UA Certificates are and what they provide and subsequent posts will further explore how they are used in OPC UA, how they fit into the security ‘stack’ of OPC UA and will then look at how OPC UA Certificates are utilized and managed in several Software Toolbox applications. First thing’s first however; what are OPC UA Certificates and what are they used for?

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2 min read

Lower Your Non-Standard Protocol Configuration Time by Up to 40%

By Kevin Rutherford on Jan 16, 2020 2:00:00 PM


Those of you even somewhat familiar with OmniServer are likely aware that OmniServer is frequently used for accessing information from devices that use ‘non-standard’ protocols including such devices as weight scales, barcode readers, and printers either over serial connections or Ethernet connections.

Over the past several years, we've been working to evolve the OmniServer user experience with the goal of making it easier and more efficient to build a non-standard protocol/driver.

In this video blog post, we will step through the most powerful features of the new visual protocol editor for OmniServer, demonstrating the key enhancements to the user experience that will make integrating your non-standard devices easier and faster than ever.

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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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