Marc Holbach

Marc Holbach
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LGH File Inspector Enhances Global Log File and Time Support

Posted by Marc Holbach on Dec 6, 2018 2:00:00 PM

The LGH File Inspector is used for many different application types as a way for users to gain added value from Wonderware InTouch local history or LGH files.  With our global user base, it’s common to have different time zone and time format requirements.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss some key enhancements in the LGH File Inspector Version 1.4.2 release that increase flexibility for users with unique time zone and time format needs.

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Topics: Wonderware, LGH, CSV

Your Data Logger Wouldn’t Just Throw Away Data. Or Would It?

Posted by Marc Holbach on Feb 1, 2018 2:00:00 PM

What is the most important feature for any data logger to have? At the end of the day, we are trusting a data logger to take our data and store it.  Now whether that is for reporting, optimization, legal reasons, or simply to retain process data over some period of time in case it might be needed later, we expect the data to be logged without any losses.

This is particularly true in the industrial automation space, where the amount of data that is being logged is growing almost as exponentially as the speed at which the data is needed in order to have a business impact. As such, the prospect of losing data can very quickly result in lost jobs, thousands of dollars in lost production, and legal or financial penalties in case of an audit.

So how much do you trust your data logger to really be logging 100% of the data that it should be? In this blog post, I will address these concerns and highlight the ways OPC UA provides capabilities that software applications can leverage to provide peace of mind.

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Topics: OPC UA, OPC, OPC DA, Logging, Data Logging, OPC Data Logger, Automation 101, reporting

Logging Smarter - Dynamic Table Selection at Runtime

Posted by Marc Holbach on Oct 26, 2017 2:00:00 PM

Does your data logging software force you to define the location where you're logging your data ahead of time?  Wouldn’t it be nice if your logging software could evaluate your data and make a decision on where the data should be logged?

In this first of two posts in a series on dynamic SQL logging, I'll show you how the OPC Data Logger can easily be configured to switch between SQL Tables at runtime, reducing any post-log sorting you have to do in SQL and saving you time and effort in the process.

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Topics: OPC UA, OPC, OPC DA, OPC Integration, Logging, Data Logging, OPC Data Logger

Logging Only The Data You Need When You Need It

Posted by Marc Holbach on Sep 14, 2017 2:00:00 PM

Do you need to log specific process data to a database or text file based on some predefined variable or condition? We typically refer to this concept as "conditional" or "condition-based" logging.  It sounds simple enough but without a plan, it can be a tricky task to implement.

In this post, I'll introduce you to the considerations involved with conditional data logging and cover how OPC Data Logger can easily be set up to log data based on a variety of conditions without a lot of headaches.

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Topics: OPC UA, OPC, OPC DA, OPC Integration, Logging, Conditional Logging, Data Logging, OPC Data Logger

Did You Know? You Can Initialize Your Device with OmniServer

Posted by Marc Holbach on Jul 13, 2017 2:00:00 PM

Does your non-standard instrument connected to your COM1 serial port refuse to communicate without being told how? Do you need to tell the instrument what bank of memory to use before you can extract any data? Does the instrument require setup parameters before it will work? Do you not want to script this in your client application, and don’t want to expect a user to manually initialize a device before doing anything else?

With OmniServer, there is an auto-activated message flag that's exactly the feature you have been looking for when communicating with your non-standard devices and instrumentation.  This fifth post in our "OmniServer Did You Know?" blog series focuses on how to use OmniServer's setting for auto-activating a command protocol message to initialize communications with your device automatically on startup.

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

Did You Know? Monitoring OmniServer Polling Statistics

Posted by Marc Holbach on Jun 22, 2017 2:00:00 PM

A common question I run into when talking to OmniServer users is "How can I gain more visibility into what is going on with my OmniServer."  After all, a primary concept for an OPC Server is to be invisible – to be a transparent converter between the protocol used by a device, and that used by your SCADA or HMI (i.e. OPC, Wonderware SuiteLink, etc.).

While there are a number of answers to how you can be more aware of what is going on with your system, this fourth post in our "OmniServer Did You Know?" blog series focuses on the importance of system tags, and specifically how they can be used in the OmniServer to query the health of the server as a whole, as well as individual device connections.

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

Did You Know? OmniServer Can Retrieve Data From Web Services

Posted by Marc Holbach on May 4, 2017 2:00:00 PM

If you are familiar with the OmniServer, you probably already know that it can be used to retrieve information from devices that use ‘non-standard’ protocols to communicate – typically these are your weight scales, barcode readers, and printers.

However, did you know that the OmniServer can also retrieve data that are exposed via web services, or even websites?  Keep reading to find out you can "scrape" web sites or services to integrate useful information into your systems using OmniServer.

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

Industrial Communications Protocols Matter: Focus on Troubleshooting

Posted by Marc Holbach on Feb 9, 2017 2:00:00 PM

At its core, a communication protocol is just the ‘language’ that devices speak, right? Just a collection of rules that govern how components of a system are going to interact with each other, and what the capabilities of the system might look like.

In this post, I will discuss why you should bother learning anything about communication protocols in the first place. I will discuss the value of knowing what a communication standard is and why some people (myself included) commit so much time to learning them.

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Topics: Device Integration, Protocols, Troubleshooting

Extracting InTouch History Data (LGH) Made Easy

Posted by Marc Holbach on Oct 11, 2016 2:00:00 PM

A key feature of any HMI package is the ability to not only show the current state of your control system, but to then store that information for historic purposes. But what good is historical data when you can’t easily access it? How can historical data result in process improvements, financial returns, or increases in efficiency if you’re not accessing it?

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Topics: Wonderware, LGH

Introduction to OPC UA Seminar

Posted by Marc Holbach on Sep 27, 2016 2:15:46 PM

The OPC UA specification is an evolution on the original OPC Classic specifications that has been designed by the OPC Foundation to supplement, but not render obsolete the existing OPC standards such as DA, HDA, & A&E.  OPC UA is designed to make enterprise-level integration easier, while ensuring compatibility and interoperability with existing OPC DA, HDA, and A&E servers and clients. OPC expert Marc Holbach gives a seminar on all of the details below.

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Topics: OPC, OPC UA

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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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