Software Toolbox Technical Blog

1 min read

Video Tutorial: Real-Time Collection for Omron NJ & NX Controllers

By Kevin Rutherford on Sep 12, 2019 2:00:00 PM


If you're reading this, you likely have at least one Omron NJ or NX Series controller 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 Omron NJ/NX Ethernet driver to connect and gather real-time process data from Omron NJ and NX controllers for Wonderware applications.

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4 min read

Migration to State Based Control Increases Production via OPC UA

By Kevin Rutherford on Sep 5, 2019 2:00:00 PM


If you're unfamiliar with state based control, it's a process automation design that essentially defines that all process facilities should operate in a recognized, definable state with previously defined normal and abnormal conditions with defined actions for each.  State based control is intended to allow company's in virtually any process industry to greatly reduce factors of human error and inconsistency, significantly increasing the efficiency of all processes.

In this blog post, we cover how a large chemicals manufacturer migrated to state based control using OPC UA and increased their efficiency, production levels and profitability as a result.

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4 min read

How to Log Data From Your S7-1500 via OPC UA using OPC Data Logger

By Tyler Lindsey on Aug 29, 2019 2:00:00 PM


With the relatively recent availability of OPC UA server capabilities in Siemens S7-1500 PLCs, access to live production data is now open to third-party applications. As a result, those applications can now communicate with hardware that was formerly locked behind proprietary communication drivers.

The OPC Data Logger's OPC UA client interface allows users to quickly and easily connect to S7-1500 PLC’s and log data to their preferred data storage option without the need for intermediate applications. This blog post covers the high-level steps involved with logging data from an S7-1500 controller and you can then download the free hands-on guide with detailed steps.

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4 min read

Easy-to-Use Interactive Reports and Dashboards Helps Minimize Downtime

By Kevin Rutherford on Aug 22, 2019 2:00:00 PM


In the industrial automation industry, more and more companies are looking for ways to increase profitability through minimizing downtime and the lost productivity associated with it.

In this blog post, we discuss how actively monitoring and tracking downtime occurrences can empower you to reduce or even eliminate such productivity-killing situations.

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3 min read

OPC Data Logger Features to Be Excited About in the V3.7.0.1 Release

By Marc Holbach on Aug 15, 2019 2:00:00 PM


As you are probably 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.  As part of the continuous improvements process for OPC Data Logger, we have regular product releases that provide updates to existing features and new functionality.

In this blog post, I'll cover some flexible new features that you may not be aware of from our most recent releases of the OPC Data Logger available now in V3.7.0.1.

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2 min read

Video Tutorial: Real-Time Collection for Siemens S7 Ethernet

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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5 min read

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

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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5 min read

Tech Support Corner: How Application Reports Help Us Help You

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.

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4 min read

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

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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4 min read

Keeping Process Control Decision Makers in the Know

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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6 min read

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

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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3 min read

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

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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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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