Win Worrall

Win Worrall
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Cogent DataHub V9 Adds IoT to OPC Connections, Remote Config, & More

Posted by Win Worrall on Oct 31, 2018 2:00:00 PM

Cogent DataHub is known for its extensive connectivity to OPC DA, OPC UA, OPC A&E, Databases, Excel, ODBC, DDE, Linux, Modbus.  The new V9 releasing in January 2019 takes our saying that "once the data is in DataHub, it can go anywhere" to a new level with IoT connectors and more as listed below.

In this blog post, I'll provide insight into these new features and show you how Cogent DataHub delivers secure, scalable, integrated connections within and between your plants, to the cloud and beyond.

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Topics: Wonderware, Device Integration, IT/OT, OPC UA, Security, DataHub, Azure IoT, Amazon IoT, Google IoT

Video Tutorial: Easy Integration of Your OPC DA/UA Data with MS Excel

Posted by Win Worrall on Apr 5, 2018 2:00:00 PM

With DDE (Dynamic Data Exchange) fast becoming obsolete technology (Microsoft superseded DDE with OLE years ago), OPC DA and, more recently, OPC UA data sources have become the primary go-to for process data integration.  Recently, Microsoft even disabled certain DDE functionality in MS Office applications due to security concerns and malware exploitation targeting the DDE interface.

But the usefulness of MS Excel for data analysis across many industries even today is still undeniable and the primary mechanism for MS Excel to connect to a data source is via DDE.  So what do you do if you're still using MS Excel for process data analysis and reporting via DDE?  What's the alternative?

The following short video blog demonstrates step-by-step how to easily read/write data from process data sources (OPC DA and OPC UA Servers) using MS Excel (without DDE) with the Cogent DataHub.

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Topics: DataHub, OPC Integration, OPC DA, OPC UA, Excel, DDE, Video Tutorials

Video Tutorial: Tracking the Health of Your Servers

Posted by Win Worrall on Mar 8, 2018 2:00:00 PM

Knowledge is power and knowing the current state of your underlying server hardware for your process can be very powerful indeed.  Keeping a pulse on information like CPU usage, available memory, memory consumption by a process and whether or not critical process are still running can be the difference between hours of downtime with thousands of dollars in lost production and being able to proactively avoid any downtime.

The following short video blog demonstrates step-by-step how easy it is to use the Cogent DataHub to monitor vital system statistics on your servers that can be shared in real-time via supported client interfaces such as OPC DA and OPC UA or even send email/SMS notifications.

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Topics: DataHub, OPC Integration, OPC DA, OPC UA, IT/OT, Alarming, Windows, Video Tutorials

Video Tutorial: Sending Email & SMS Alerts Triggered by Process Values

Posted by Win Worrall on Jan 25, 2018 2:00:00 PM

Timely notifications about abnormal conditions in your process are vital to minimizing downtime and the costs associated with it.  Automating the process based on the condition of specific process variables gets you the information you need for making decisions as quickly as possible.

The following short video blog demonstrates step-by-step how easy it is to use the Cogent DataHub to establish a connection to an OPC data source and then define various flexible conditions for triggering email and/or SMS text notifications based on values collected from that OPC server.

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Topics: Device Integration, DataHub, Alarming, SMS, Email, OPC Integration, OPC DA, OPC UA, Video Tutorials

Can your OPC systems tell you when something is wrong?

Posted by Win Worrall on Dec 4, 2017 4:23:13 PM

In this edition of OPC Talk with Win and Marc, we’re going to discuss when things go wrong and how do you know?  No matter what OPC software you’re using, there are many things that can happen that could cause system problems.  Most people would rather know about a problem before it ruins their day, week, month, or career, right?

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Topics: OPC

Enabling System Health Tracking in OT Software Applications

Posted by Win Worrall on Nov 30, 2017 2:00:00 PM

The heart of any control system is the computers and servers that run your automation software.  For example, when PLCs talk to AC drives over Ethernet, the drives will shut down if they lose communications for more than a second, sometimes even milliseconds.  Drives shutdown = Line shutdown = Plant shutdown.  What IT calls a blip for plant operations can mean downtime, scrapped product and even your company’s reputation due to missed delivery deadlines.

Traditionally, server maintenance and upkeep is the role of IT.  However, when these systems go down, it affects operations (OT) with different pains than IT sees on the business side.  IT has systems to monitor their own assets, on the standards they need for the business, but they need the OT side to expand monitoring of their own systems and self-reliance in order for OT to meet operational needs, while bringing in IT as a resource.

This blog post will discuss how to get information about health of servers and PCs that runs the automation software OT users need without having to rely solely on IT.

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Topics: DataHub, OPC, IT/OT, Alarming, Windows

Got OPC Redundancy Questions?

Posted by Win Worrall on Nov 28, 2017 4:00:00 PM

In this edition of OPC Talk with Win and Marc, we’re going to address some common questions we get about redundancy involving OPC software.  If you’re new to the industrial automation space and want to learn more about redundancy in automation in general, visit our Demystifying Redundancy in Automation blog post.

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Topics: Automation 101, Redundancy, OPC

Yes, You Can Integrate Business & Other Databases with Control Systems

Posted by Win Worrall on Nov 16, 2017 2:00:00 PM

It is common for companies to use databases for long-term storage of their critical information.  In our experience, we also see machine setup information, short term operational data and much more besides traditional historical data put into shop floor databases in the operations technology or “OT” world.

Over on the business side or the “IT” world, everything somehow ends up in a database: Production plans, forecasts, orders, it’s all there.  Increasing business demands and IT/OT convergence are driving more real-time integration between these databases and control systems.

This blog discusses some of the key reasons users like yourself need this information and then shows how the DataHub can help move this data from a database to your control systems via OPC DA, OPC UA, Modbus and other interfaces or protocols that are common in the automation layer.

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Topics: DataHub, OPC, ODBC, SQL, Database

What is OPC – 10 Frequently Asked Questions & Answers

Posted by Win Worrall on Nov 14, 2017 4:00:00 PM

We’ve been working with the OPC software interoperability standards since 1996, and it’s easy to forget that others who are new to this space often find the whole discussion around the OPC standard and all the different standards confusing. 

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Topics: Automation 101, OPC, OPC Alarms and Events, OPC DA, OPC UA

Get It Your Way with DataHub

Posted by Win Worrall on Nov 2, 2017 2:00:00 PM

What's "It"?  The "it" can mean a lot of things. What we mean is solving software and information integration challenges the way YOU want to solve them, and not being totally limited by the fill in the blank configuration settings in software. 

Whether you are a system integrator or a sophisticated user, you know there are times where fill-in-the form software configuration makes things easy, but can also constrain you.  Whether it's scability of large configurations, enhancing existing product features to satisfy YOUR NEEDS, or even adding functionality to a product, you don't like being limited by fill-in-the blank software.  

The most powerful functionality of the Cogent DataHub is its balance between fill-in the blank quick configuration for most users, and the freedom to "Get it YOUR WAY" for others.  Cogent DataHub does this through the free scripting engine that is included in every license. 

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Topics: Scripting, Development, Customization, OPC, DataHub

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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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