Software Toolbox Technical Blog

Nicole Knox

Recent Posts

Your OPC Client Toolkit Should Keep Connectivity Simple, Right?

7 min read

By Nicole Knox on May 9, 2024 2:00:00 PM

Sometimes we are approached by users and integrators with very specific business demands, and an off-the-shelf OPC client solution isn't always the answer to their problems. As they explore the fully customizable development toolkits on the market, they are often concerned that their OPC expertise is inadequate for writing their own OPC client application. How should states and client objects be handled? When would an OPC group need to be created and have items added? What about timeouts, keep-alive intervals and more? Isn't PubSub (as in OPC UA PubSub) a deli sandwich from a popular grocery store called Publix in the US region we live in? Look – we hear you – and its problems like this that Software Toolbox has been solving since 1996. Let's start by saying this up front – you do NOT need to be an OPC expert or understand the internal complexities of OPC connectivity. Our OPC client development toolkit handles all of that and so much more for you. Let's learn more. 

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Video Tutorial: Getting Started with OPC Router Project Development

1 min read

By Nicole Knox on Feb 22, 2024 2:00:00 PM

OPC Router is a powerful tool that can be used to easily integrate large quantities of data from a variety of sources using its modular configuration, adding value to a variety of industrial, business (ERP/SAP), and IoT data systems. It's drag and drop visual workflows result in reduced engineering time and risk in Industry 4.0, IIoT, and Digital Transformation applications. When combined with Software Toolbox's OPC server offerings and other automation software, plus decades of expertise in automation, the results are rapid time-to-value solutions.

In the following video, we'll walk through a simple example to show you the fundamentals of developing a project in OPC Router. You'll learn how to comfortably navigate the interface and how to verify that your setup is functioning properly. This process will also give insight into the building blocks that make the product so malleable and adaptable to many different use cases.

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Data Exchange File Formats: Exploring ETL Tools with OPC Router

3 min read

By Nicole Knox on Dec 21, 2023 2:00:00 PM

To achieve operational and business goals, many industrial automation system architectures are designed to push and pull data from a multitude of sources and destinations that come with a variety of formats. Bridging the gap between systems that use distinct standards and protocols can be challenging if the right tools aren't properly selected, and too often users resort to custom software. This is where users can leverage OPC Router’s ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) Tools—a valuable solution for seamlessly repackaging data across processes that use distinct standards or protocols.

In this article, we will briefly introduce the power of OPC Router’s ETL Tools, exploring a few use cases that highlight their role in structuring data into popular file formats. If you are not already familiar with what OPC Router is and what it can do for your particular process, you can visit the OPC Router website or the OPC Router Technical Guides with a Quick Start for New Users.

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TOP Server Troubleshooting Scenario: Device Side Communication Issue

17 min read

By Nicole Knox on Oct 26, 2023 2:00:00 PM

Your operations visibility relies on real-time data from machinery, systems, and field devices. When there are communications issues resulting in loss of or inaccurate data, addressing issues promptly is critical. Whether it's stale, poor quality, or missing data in your SCADA or HMI application, a well-defined troubleshooting procedure is a must. Like all our products, the TOP Server OPC Server offers an arsenal of tools to inform you about what is happening and streamline your troubleshooting process, summarized in our previous blog post, Minimize Downtime with TOP Server Troubleshooting Tools.

In this post, we'll take a deep dive into some of those tools, with an emphasis on the device connection side of TOP Server, teaching you a step-by-step process to pinpoint communication issues at their source. While this specific example uses the Modbus Ethernet Driver and an OPC DA Client connection, the same principles can be applied when troubleshooting various other scenarios.

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OPC Router Configuration Management Overview, Methods & Tips

7 min read

By Nicole Knox on Jul 20, 2023 2:00:00 PM

When working with OPC Router, especially as you build larger and more powerful projects to integrate OPC, web services, databases, ERP, SAP, and other systems in your Industry 4.0 initiatives, it’s good to have an idea of the underlying operations of the application. That knowledge can empower you to get the best results from the software’s many connectors and visual workflow engine.  If you’ve never heard of or are new to OPC Router, we invite you to explore the OPC Router website and view the OPC Router Getting Started Virtual Training Video

Topics: OPC Router
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Tech Support Corner: Client/Server Roles & Read Types with TOP Server

7 min read

By Nicole Knox on Feb 23, 2023 2:00:00 PM

A common misconception about TOP Server as an OPC server is that TOP Server will poll your device/devices automatically with no OPC client connected. So, when you are getting started with TOP Server, it is good to have an accurate understanding of how interactions occur between each node of a basic OPC architecture— client-server and server-device— to ensure that the configuration meets your needs and can be scalable to more demanding projects.

Continuing our Tech Support Corner blog series, in this blog post, we will discuss some basics of the interactions between an OPC client and server, including different types of reads and the expected behavior that you'll see as a result of those interactions.

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Tech Support Corner: Running / Maintaining Cogent DataHub as a Service

10 min read

By Nicole Knox on Apr 7, 2022 2:00:00 PM

Great job! You managed to configure Cogent DataHub® to fit your needs, and now you are ready to run it in a production environment, but you are left with one question – “How in the world do I run DataHub as a service?”.

Running applications as Windows services has multiple benefits but, perhaps, the most beneficial reason to run an application as a service is the ability to let the application/process run in the background without the need for a user to be logged on the operating system. For that reason, this might be why you are looking at how to run it as a service, whether you are tunneling, logging, aggregating, historizing data, and/or using Datahub as a Gateway.

Continuing our Tech Support Corner blog series, if you find yourself in this situation like other users over years, do not worry. This post will walk you through the process of running DataHub as a service as well as how to access its properties from a local and/or remote machine.

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We're engineers like you, so this blog focuses on "How to" appnotes, videos, tech team tips, product update announcements, user case studies, and other technical updates.  Subscribe to updates below. Your feedback and questions on posts are always welcomed - just use the area at the bottom of any post.

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