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John Gonzalez

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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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Using TOP Server's Advanced Tags Plug-In: Calculations & Data Bridging

7 min read

By John Gonzalez on Mar 7, 2024 2:00:00 PM

TOP Server is widely used in automation for data collection from your industrial control systems. One of the many benefits of using TOP Server is that it ensures data integrity – meaning that the accuracy, consistency, and completeness of the data is maintained from your data source all the way up to whatever is consuming that data from TOP Server, such as your HMI, SCADA, MES, or Historian. While its capability to collect unchanged raw data from field devices is invaluable, it may not always align with the desired format, and there could be elective data massaging or manipulation required to meet your business demands. TOP Server can convert data types and even scale to engineering units, but what if you need more advanced data such Cycle Time, Maximum Temperature, Downtime Reason, etc.?

The TOP Server Advanced Tags Plug-in enhances functionality by providing added features to any TOP Server driver, such as mathematical operations and data bridging across protocols, thereby streamlining analysis processes and enhancing decision-making capabilities within industrial control applications.

In this article, we'll briefly introduce a few key features of the TOP Server Advanced Tags Plug-in that could serve valuable to you in your data collection processes.

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Exploring Cogent DataHub's Alarm & Notifications Plug-In

5 min read

By John Gonzalez on Dec 14, 2023 2:00:00 PM

Cogent DataHub is primarily known for its extensive connectivity to OPC DA, OPC UA, OPC A&E, Databases, Historians, Excel, ODBC, DDE, Linux, Modbus and more. However, it is worth noting that this platform offers more than just connectivity. In this blog post, we'll cover the capabilities of DataHub’s Alarm & Notification Plug-In, which supports the configuration of custom alarms, events, and notifications. You can enhance your A&E Client applications by adding this feature to any DataHub License Pack, and generate alarms based on any data integrated into the DataHub, or simply send email/SMS alerts.

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Video Tutorial: Getting Started with DataHub WebView

2 min read

By John Gonzalez on Sep 28, 2023 2:00:00 PM

Today's industrial automation users have a need for fast, responsive, easy-to-configure Human Machine Interfaces (HMI) that can economically deliver a rich user experience and make sure critical plant production information can be securely accessed by everyone in their organization from anywhere at any time.

Cogent DataHub® WebView™, a feature offered within the Cogent DataHub IT/OT data integration software, is an advanced HMI solution tailored to seamlessly integrate with your live data streams and eliminate any delays typically associated with HMIs that are dependent on databases. As a comprehensive solution that combines real-time data delivery, a robust web server, and an HMI designer into a self-contained package, DataHub WebView provides an excellent alternative for those seeking a cutting-edge HMI for process monitoring without committing to a significant investment in a complex SCADA system.

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Tech Support Corner: Making TOP Server Config Changes While Active

2 min read

By John Gonzalez on Aug 3, 2023 2:00:00 PM

Have you ever wondered why certain features in TOP Server work the way you experience them, or how something might work in certain scenarios?  Well this blog post tries to answer a few of those type of questions!

Anyone that has used TOP Server before has had to make edits to the configuration. While TOP Server allows changes to many settings while actively collecting and serving data, and makes it simple, there are things to consider to avoid disrupting operations. TOP Server has certain restrictions in place when making configuration changes, and while potentially frustrating, these are for your benefit and security. For example, perhaps you have tried to make a certain change, but observed that the setting immediately changes back and “doesn’t stick”. Or maybe you’ve logged onto your machine and were unable to make any configuration changes at all. Why is that?

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Video Tutorial - Email Reports / Alerts from OPC & Other Data Sources

2 min read

By John Gonzalez on Sep 29, 2022 2:00:00 PM

It's important for any enterprise to have actionable data in the timeliest fashion for making decisions. Minimizing downtime and increasing performance are important to the profitability of any company and knowledge at the point of action is key.

To that end, automating notifications or reports based on the latest process data from your various systems can ensure you're never in the dark when it comes to your processes.

In this post, I will cover step-by-step how to easily automate email notifications and reports for OPC and data sources with the OPC Router for giving you and other decision makers the knowledge you need to make informed decision as quickly as possible.

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