Kevin Rutherford

Kevin Rutherford
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Recent Posts

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

Comprehensive EFM Data Collection and Export for PGAS, Flow-Cal, CSV & Database

Posted by Kevin Rutherford on Sep 27, 2018 2:00:00 PM

If you're reading this post, you're more than likely working in the oil and gas industry, and you probably have flow computers and devices from different vendors storing historical EFM (Electronic Flow Measurement) data.  And, if your company is anything like the other companies in that industry, you use that EFM data for analysis, custody transfer and production optimization using one of the common EFM flow measurement analysis packages such as Flow-Cal, Quorum PGAS or even CSV or SQL.

In this blog post, I'll cover the video how-to resources available to help you get started using our EFM Suite for TOP Server to poll and export collected EFM data from various flow computers for Wonderware applications.

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Topics: Device Integration, Wonderware, TOP Server, Video Tutorials, EFM, Flow-Cal, PGAS

Did You Know? How to Setup a Heartbeat Message in OmniServer

Posted by Kevin Rutherford on Sep 20, 2018 2:00:00 PM

As you probably know, OmniServer is used to retrieve information from devices that use ‘non-standard’ protocols to communicate such as weight scales, barcode readers, and printers.

In some situations, device protocols need to be designed to where the client application (HMI, SCADA or other), and not OmniServer, is in complete control of the polling. But before you send out the next message, how do you know if the device is still connected?

In this first post of a follow-up to our "OmniServer Did You Know?" blog series, we will cover how to create what is known as a heartbeat message to confirm your device is "listening" before sending the next message.

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

Video Tutorial: EFM Export for PGAS, Flow-Cal & Generic CSV and Database

Posted by Kevin Rutherford on Sep 6, 2018 2:00:00 PM

If you're in the oil and gas industry, you're aware that, flow computers and devices from different vendors store historical EFM (Electronic Flow Measurement) data that is used for analysis, custody transfer and production optimization.  To that end, oil and gas companies use several EFM flow measurement analysis packages such as Flow-Cal, Quorum PGAS or even CSV or SQL to store and analyze that collected EFM data.

In this video blog, I'll show you how to get started using our EFM Exporter plug-in for TOP Server to poll and export collected EFM data from various flow computers for Wonderware applications.

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Topics: Device Integration, Wonderware, TOP Server, Video Tutorials, EFM, Flow-Cal, PGAS

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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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