Kevin Rutherford

Kevin Rutherford
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Did You Know? How to Integrate Virtual COM Devices with OmniServer

Posted by Kevin Rutherford on Feb 14, 2019 2:00:00 PM

If you're familiar with OmniServer, you likely already know how OmniServer is commonly used to retrieve information from devices that use ‘non-standard’ protocols to communicate such as weight scales, barcode readers, and printers either over serial connections or Ethernet connections.

However, with the advent of USB connectivity, many such devices that would have traditionally been a serial/COM device now physically connect to a machine via USB, instead.

Continuing our "OmniServer Did You Know?" blog series, we will cover how OmniServer can easily connect to USB or serial-to-Ethernet devices that are mapped virtually as Serial/COM devices.

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

New 2019 Automation & Control Software Learning Resources

Posted by Kevin Rutherford on Jan 22, 2019 2:00:00 PM

The New Year is a time of renewal, new projects, new challenges, and for some of you, new roles, or new people on your teams.

In this blog post, we provide a quick reference to resources from the past year that should be helpful to you and your colleagues.  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 about new content.

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Topics: TOP Server, OmniServer, Wonderware, DataHub, LGH, OPC, Flow, OPC Data Client

Did You Know? How to Test OmniServer Protocols Prior to Building Your Client Application

Posted by Kevin Rutherford on Jan 3, 2019 2:00:00 PM

When working with non-standard protocols based on protocol documentation from a device vendor, there will always be some expected amount of testing, trial-and-error and troubleshooting in order to fine tune communications with a device.

Continuing our "OmniServer Did You Know?" blog series, this blog post focuses on how to use the built-in Item Values window in the OmniServer diagnostic tools and the included OPC Test Client to test communications using OmniServer.

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

Demystifying Modbus Function Codes

Posted by Kevin Rutherford on Dec 13, 2018 2:00:00 PM

With the wide range of devices that use Modbus for their communication protocol, you'll find many different interpretations, terminology and labels with respect to how to access different types of data in those devices.  Sometimes a device manual might only refer to the supported Modbus function codes and the range of offsets available for those function codes.

In this blog post, I will step through the specifics of Modbus function codes and how they pertain to addressing, and how they affect what addresses to use in TOP Server for Wonderware applications.

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Topics: Wonderware, TOP Server, Modbus, Automation 101, Protocols

Key TOP Server V6.6 Features to Be Excited About

Posted by Kevin Rutherford on Nov 15, 2018 2:00:00 PM

If you haven't received one of my emails or heard from a colleague about our latest TOP Server release, you may not have heard about the key new features in TOP Server V6.6.

In this post, I'm going to go through some of the key features released in V6.6 in more detail, including further security enhancements, a new EUROMAP 63 driver, enhanced CNC machine access, telemetry performance, and how they benefit you as a TOP Server user.

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Topics: Wonderware, Device Integration, TOP Server

Did You Know? How to Recover from Device Errors with OmniServer Error Messages

Posted by Kevin Rutherford on Nov 7, 2018 2:00:00 PM

With any communication server for collecting process data, there has to be a reliable mechanism built-in for dealing with error responses from the underlying devices.  This is true even for OmniServer as a user-configurable communication server.

Continuing our "OmniServer Did You Know?" blog series, this blog post focuses on how to use error messages and notification items in an OmniServer protocol to properly handle error responses or conditions received from your non-standard process devices.

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

Automated KPI Reporting Helps Maximize Your Productivity

Posted by Kevin Rutherford on Oct 25, 2018 2:00:00 PM

In the industrial automation industry, more and more companies are looking for progressively better tools to enable their employees to gain insights and improve their business decisions.

In this blog post, we discuss how KPIs and how they’re generated can empower your employees to make smart business decisions to improve your company’s performance results.

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Topics: Dream Report, Business Intelligence, reporting, IT/OT

Video Tutorial: Key New Features - OmniServer V3.1.0.5

Posted by Kevin Rutherford on Oct 18, 2018 2:00:00 PM

As part of our continuous improvement process at Software Toolbox, OmniServer is updated several times a year to add additional useful features and tools, and to resolve any known issues.

In this video blog, I will cover updates and enhancements available in OmniServer V3.1.0.5 to help you with usability, performance and troubleshooting while connecting to all of your non-standard devices.

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Topics: Device Integration, Wonderware, OmniServer, Video Tutorials

Demystifying Modbus Register Addressing with TOP Server for Wonderware

Posted by Kevin Rutherford on Oct 11, 2018 2:00:00 PM

I'm sure you've all at least had some interaction with Modbus, working in the automation industry.  It's one of the most widely used protocols (if not the most widely used) in the world.  Which is both its blessing and its curse, to some extent.

Given how long Modbus has been around and in use as an "open" protocol (starting in 1979), there have been many different interpretations of Modbus throughout the years.  And with those different Modbus interpretations, much confusion about the different terminology for accessing data.

In this blog post, I will step through the basics of Modbus addressing including how offsets come into play, and how they affect what addresses to use in TOP Server for Wonderware applications.

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Topics: Wonderware, TOP Server, Modbus, Automation 101, Protocols

Did You Know? How to Setup Chained Messages in OmniServer

Posted by Kevin Rutherford on Oct 4, 2018 2:00:00 PM

In a nutshell, OmniServer's purpose is to retrieve information from devices that use ‘non-standard’ protocols to communicate such as weight scales, barcode readers, and printers.

Sometimes with some protocols, simply sending one message to a device, or doing nothing but simply transferring data to a client isn't enough. There are some more complex protocols where you will need to send a series of messages to the instrument, or respond to an event coming in from the device or to handle a sequence of handshaking messages. This is where "chained messages" come into play in an OmniServer protocol.

In this second post of a follow-up to our "OmniServer Did You Know?" blog series, we will cover how to chain multiple OmniServer command/request messages together in a protocol to flexibly handle such complex protocols.

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

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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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