Video Tutorial: Real-Time Collection for Siemens S7 Ethernet

Posted by Kevin Rutherford on Aug 8, 2019 2:00:00 PM

If you're reading this, you likely have at least one Siemens S7 PLC on your network 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 Siemens TCP/IP Ethernet driver to connect and gather real-time process data from Siemens S7 PLCs for Wonderware applications.

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Topics: Wonderware, Device Integration, TOP Server, Video Tutorials, Siemens

Did You Know? OmniServer Can Integrate Most Printers with Your Process

Posted by Marc Holbach on Aug 1, 2019 2:00:00 PM

Whether your role is IT or OT, there tends to be an almost universal dislike of having to work with printers. It is likely, for this exact reason, that when tasked with integrating a printer (be it a laser jet printer for labelling packaging, or a label printer to track your products) many users are simply forgoing the integration completely.  That might mean opting for limited integration with a PLC on the line or simply choosing to not integrate at all while continuing to make any configuration changes manually.

In this blog post, continuing our OmniServer Did You Know series, we’ll discuss several methods that users have implemented over the years when needing to use printers in a process and how OmniServer provides an off-the-shelf, easy-to-use alternative for direct integration of most printers with your process control systems.

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Topics: Wonderware, Device Integration, Protocols, OmniServer, OmniServer Did You Know

Tech Support Corner: How Application Reports Help Us Help You

Posted by Kevin Rutherford on Jul 25, 2019 2:00:00 PM

If you're a TOP Server for Wonderware user, I won't assume that you've ever had the need to contact Software Toolbox for a technical support issue.  I've spoken with users over the years who indicated that after they installed TOP Server for their particular device type, it just worked and had been running with no issues ever since.

However, it's always best to be prepared for the worst case scenario in most situations.  To that end, it's a good idea to know what tools are at your disposal should you ever have any issues with TOP Server for Wonderware requiring you to contact our knowledgeable technical support engineers.

Continuing our “Tech Support Corner” blog post series, this blog post covers how the TOP Server for Wonderware Application Report Utility allows you to help our technical support engineers help you by providing much of the information they need to troubleshoot issues when you initially contact them.

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Topics: Wonderware, Technical Support, TOP Server

Tech Support Corner: To Format or Not to Format OmniServer Items

Posted by Kevin Rutherford on Jul 18, 2019 2:00:00 PM

In case you're not familiar with OmniServer, it is a user-configurable I/O server solution that you can configure through a user-friendly interface to communicate with various devices that do not already have off-the-shelf drivers written for them.

A question that our support engineers at Software Toolbox sometimes receive from both new and veteran OmniServer users alike is whether an item in the OmniServer sequence builder, which is used to build the send and/or receive message for a device protocol, requires a formatting code or not.

Continuing our Tech Support Corner blog series, this blog post covers under what situations a formatting code is required for an item defined in the OmniServer sequence builder of a protocol and when a code isn't required.

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Topics: Wonderware, Technical Support, Automation 101, OmniServer

Keeping Process Control Decision Makers in the Know

Posted by Win Worrall on Jul 11, 2019 2:00:00 PM

If you've heard of the Cogent DataHub, you may be aware that it supports email and/or SMS notifications of defined conditional events based on a variety of data from it's various supported interfaces (MQTT, OPC UA, OPC DA, DDE, ODBC and more).  Having the right people receive alerts (such as when a tank has reached a critical level or a critical piece of machinery is offline) in a timely fashion can be the difference between simple downtime and a major liability.

This blog post will discuss how to use variable distribution lists in conjunction with the Cogent DataHub's Email/SMS capabilities to ensure the right decision makers will always receive important notifications as quickly as possible.

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Topics: OPC, SMS, Alarming, DataHub, Email Alert

Key TOP Server for Wonderware V6.7 Features to Be Excited About

Posted by Kevin Rutherford on Jun 27, 2019 2:00:00 PM

Hopefully you received one of my emails or possibly heard from a colleague about our latest TOP Server release.  If not, you may not have heard about the key new features in TOP Server for Wonderware V6.7.

In this post, I'm going to go through some of the key features released in V6.7 in more detail, including a continued focus on security enhancements, updates to the Configuration API capabilities, enhancements to the Torque Tool Ethernet driver and more, including how they benefit you as a TOP Server user.

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Topics: Wonderware, Device Integration, TOP Server

Latest OPC Data Logger Features to Be Excited About in the Current Release

Posted by Kevin Rutherford on Jun 20, 2019 2:00:00 PM

As you may be aware, OPC Data Logger is an OPC lab-certified solution for dynamic, event driven logging of process data to standard SQL/ODBC databases, including Microsoft Azure SQL, or text/CSV files.  The wizard-based interface provides easy, flexible configuration that easily scales for project both large and small.

In this blog post, I'll cover some exciting new features that you may not be aware of from recent releases that are available in the current version.

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Topics: OPC UA, CSV, OPC Data Logger

Turning Data into Information for More Informed Decisions

Posted by Kevin Rutherford on Jun 13, 2019 2:00:00 PM

With industrial processes, it's only possible to manage what is being effectively measured.  Without keeping tabs on key metrics in a process, you'll never be able to determine if the efficiency of the process is getting better or worse.

In this short blog post, we'll discuss the progression from raw process data to information to the actions that can be taken and decisions that can be made using that information.  We'll also discuss how the context (or how you're looking at data) can affect the information you're consuming.

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Topics: Industrial Decisions, Flow

Tech Support Corner: DCOM Horror Story - Part 2 - Locked Out With No Key

Posted by Kevin Rutherford on May 30, 2019 2:00:00 PM

DCOM Security and the headaches it tends to create are undoubtedly familiar to any OPC Classic user in the industrial automation industry. Stories about experienced DCOM woes are just part of the territory.

In this second part of a "DCOM Horror Stories" sidebar to our continuing Tech Support Corner blog series, this blog post covers a DCOM user scenario where the user was a little too thorough in locking down their DCOM configuration, resulting in a locked out system. And it includes a reminder of options that help you avoid DCOM configuration altogether.

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Topics: Wonderware, Device Integration, DCOM, Technical Support, DCOM Horror Stories

Top 3 Dream Report Features to Be Excited About in the V5.0 Release

Posted by Kevin Rutherford on May 23, 2019 2:00:00 PM

You may or may not be familiar with Dream Report - a real-time report generator that is quickly and easily configurable via a very easy-to-use interface with a ton of flexibility relating to not only collection and archiving of data and alarms but also for analysis and options for report generation.

In this post, I'll review three of the top features released in the recent V5.0 release of Dream Report and how they benefit you, either as an new or existing Dream Report user.

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Topics: reporting, Dream Report

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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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