John Weber

John Weber
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OPC Data Client Development Toolkit Update – UA Platforms, Security, & Interoperability

Posted by John Weber on Nov 13, 2018 10:00:00 AM

The 2018.3 release of the OPC Data Client toolkit continues to make OPC UA client development easier, more secure and interoperable, while continuing to support OPC DA, A&E, and XML-DA development.

In this blog post I have taken the release notes and boiled it down to the key benefits that might drive you to upgrade, get back on support, renew support, or, if you’re new to OPC client development, try our OPC Data Client toolkit.

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Topics: OPC UA, OPC, OPC Data Client, Developer Tools

Linux MES to OPC Operations Data Integration in Aluminum Smelting Operation

Posted by John Weber on Sep 13, 2018 2:00:00 PM

Recently we worked with an aluminum smelter operation that has doubled in size since it first opened and has made a significant positive impact on the local economy by supplying aluminum to local industries which has fueled their growth.

Like any growing business, this user is always seeking ways to improve operations and reduce risk of downtime. In the end they need to deliver returns to their shareholders while continuing to support the local community, all of which requires consistent predictable operational results.  In this blog post, we'll cover how they used an off-the-shelf solution for integrating varied systems to reduce life cycle costs.

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Topics: DataHub, OPC, Case Studies, OPC DA, Mining/Metals

Namibia Brewing – Enterprise Data Integration Update & Award

Posted by John Weber on Aug 16, 2018 2:00:00 PM

Earlier this year, we shared the story of how Namibia Breweries Ltd is using off-the-shelf open OPC software in their operations management system.  In that story, we shared how we had learned making beer in one of the world’s driest places takes some unique approaches to power sourcing, water management, and really all resources.

We visited with Namibia Brewing again recently when they attended the X-Change 2018 conference in the beautiful Central Drakensberg region of South Africa.   I had the chance to sit down with Annemarie Kruger, Renaldo Du Pisani, and Andre Engelbrecht and, in this blog post, you'll learn about how they have continued to evolve their system since I visited their site in 2017.

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Topics: DataHub, OPC, TOP Server, Wonderware, Case Studies

Industrial Information Portals & Decision Support Trends Drive Needs for More than Spreadsheets

Posted by John Weber on Jun 7, 2018 2:00:00 PM

It is well known and accepted that, to manage a process, we need to measure the results of that process.  If we start measuring the production output of a machine, the people responsible for running and maintaining that machine are more likely to pay attention and take the necessary decisions to improve its performance.

Every business with any focus on continuous improvement has some system that works for them and has evolved as they have traveled their journey. Some use paper, some use paper and spreadsheets, others use custom solutions, and others use some form of off-the-shelf software.

For over 20 years we’ve helped users get the digital data they have into these various systems, but in the process of doing that, we’ve heard some things from them and seen some patterns we will share in this blog post.

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Topics: Industrial Decisions, Flow

A New Twist on Machine or Process Troubleshooting Charts

Posted by John Weber on Apr 12, 2018 2:00:00 PM

It’s very common to make process flow charts or machine operational flow charts to help document and aid in troubleshooting.  These charts end up in manuals, operator and maintenance training, and get pulled out when something is wrong and put to use.

During a recent trip, I learned from one of our partners about how he’s seeing more users and machine builders take those paper drawings to a new level of interactivity.

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Topics: Wonderware, Galaxy Toolbox, Archestra

Namibia Breweries Ltd leverages off-the-shelf OPC software for sustainable manufacturing in a tough environment

Posted by John Weber on Mar 1, 2018 2:00:00 PM

When you live in a remote region that is one of the most arid places on earth, you import your raw materials, and you’re making millions of hectoliters of beer a year, you have to make the most of all the resources you have and leverage what is in abundance in your location.  Namibia Breweries Ltd. (NBL) has a long history of success in a tough environment at their Windhoek, Namibia location.  They have received numerous awards for their innovative approaches to meeting their information system needs.

In this blog post, we’ll share their look into how they use off-the-shelf software and their teams' intellectual know-how and creativity to empower their manufacturing success.  If you read the stories in Automation World or Pro Food World, you learned about how Andre Engelbrecht, manager of industrial control systems at NBL, and his team unlocked data sources and built a digital smart manufacturing platform across the entire facility.  In this article, we’re going to share the rest of the story of NBL’s integration points, problems solved, and how they leveraged Software Toolbox’s full value proposition as part of their team effort.

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Topics: DataHub, OPC, TOP Server, Wonderware, Case Studies

Integration of Vibration Monitoring Hardware into HMI, SCADA, MES, & Historians

Posted by John Weber on Feb 21, 2018 2:00:00 PM

Software Toolbox has worked with integrators, users, OEMS and distributors of Wonderware Software products since 1997.  At a Schneider Electric Software conference in 2017, they met a hardware supplier new to the Wonderware user community, Test Products International, also known as TPI.  It turns out TPI is not new to the vibration monitoring space, though, and has a long history of providing handheld test and measurement equipment. In this video blog...

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Topics: Wonderware, OmniServer, OPC, OPC UA

3 Reasons to Be Excited about OPC Data Client 2018.1 Release

Posted by John Weber on Feb 14, 2018 2:00:00 PM

Our latest release of the OPC Data Client development toolkit provides some exciting new features for leveraging powerful OPC UA technology features including OPC UA complex data support.

In this post, we will cover some of the key reasons the OPC Data Client 2018.1 is an easy, effective method for bringing the power of OPC UA to your custom client applications.

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Topics: OPC UA, OPC, OPC Data Client, Developer Tools

OPC Connectivity & Security Concerns in IT/OT Convergence

Posted by John Weber on Dec 20, 2016 2:00:00 PM

Complications of Domains, Workgroups, & Mixed Windows Versions & Solutions

In the Operations Technology or OT world that most of our users live in, it’s normal to have multiple versions of Windows and systems that may not always be setup consistently but we have to make it all work anyway.   Connecting OPC clients and servers when the Windows computers are not on the same version, not in an Active Directory or, using older terminology, a domain, and having everything work well takes skill, and keeping it secure involves a lot of details.

In this blog post, our team asked me to explore with you the details involved to assist you with better understanding Windows Security and to converse more productively with your IT Team.  I’ll also share how you can learn more about how to make things easier on yourself through the use of OPC UA or with Tunneling.

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Topics: Device Integration, Tunneling, OPC Tunnel, DCOM, Security, IT/OT, DataHub

TOP Server V6.0 - What's a Config API?

Posted by John Weber on Dec 1, 2016 2:00:00 PM

If you’ve seen any of our other posts on TOP Server V6 and its new capabilities, you may have seen us mention the Configuration API.  Unless you’re a developer, you may have been wondering what is that and why would I care?  We’ve been pleasantly surprised by how many of our users have had an interest in this new feature.

Today in this post, I will explore in more detail what an API is, what the configuration API does, how it works at a high level, and provide examples of the type of applications people are using it for.

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Topics: Wonderware, Device Integration

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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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