Software Toolbox Technical Blog

Tech Support Corner: Adding Friendly Topic Names in TOP Server

6 min read

By Kevin Rutherford on Apr 8, 2021 2:00:00 PM

If you're a TOP Server for AVEVA (formerly Wonderware) user, you've certainly connected to a device configured in TOP Server using a topic name. But did you know you can create custom topics called aliases with any meaningful name you would like to represent your devices?

Continuing our Tech Support Corner blog series, this blog post covers how to easily add define meaningful aliases for your devices in TOP Server for use as topics in your client applications.

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Integrating Fluctuating Energy Prices using OPC For Process Decisions

4 min read

By Win Worrall on Mar 11, 2021 2:00:00 PM

While the recent winter storm in Texas and its rolling energy shortages has brought the subject of the availability of affordable energy and deregulation of power markets to the forefront of the conversation, this has been a problem in many areas of the world for a long time. This is mainly because of the large fluctuations in the price of energy that both residents and businesses have to endure.

It's ultimately the law of supply and demand driving such issues - when energy supply is eclipsed by extraordinary demand for it, an inconvenience during the best of times becomes a crisis in the case of extreme situations such as unexpected winter weather, devastating storms, hotter than normal summers and other unpredictable situations.

In the case of manufacturing and other industries that rely on energy as an input for operations, the cost of energy can literally determine whether a production run is profitable or not. This post discusses methods for monitoring energy costs in real-time from your HMI, SCADA or MES system using OPC UA or OPC DA, for decision support to prevent avoidable losses. 

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Virtual Training: Using Writebacks in the OPC Data Logger

2 min read

By Tyler Lindsey on Dec 17, 2020 2:00:00 PM

An often important task when logging important process data to a database or even to the cloud is verification that the data has been logged. This ensures that data has been successfully logged and will not be lost when overwritten in the downstream process.

In this video blog, we'll step through the configuration required in the OPC Data Logger for logging important process data to a database on condition related to a monitored item and how to perform a writeback to the OPC data source confirming the data has been successfully logged.

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Virtual Training: Flexible Logging of OPC Data to SQL & Azure SQL

3 min read

By Tyler Lindsey on Dec 3, 2020 2:00:00 PM

With the advent of cloud-based solutions in every industry, it's only natural that you might need to migrate from a traditional locally-hosted SQL database for logging your process data to Azure. Fortunately, logging both to traditional SQL and Azure SQL are similar in many ways and OPC Data Logger makes it possible to log to both for OPC UA and DA data sources.

In this video blog, we'll review the basic setup and architecture for OPC Data Logger and then step through the configuration required for logging to SQL and Azure SQL from an OPC server.

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Video Tutorial: Convert OPC DA Servers to OPC UA using TOP Server

2 min read

By Kevin Rutherford on Nov 19, 2020 2:00:00 PM

TOP Server for AVEVA™, formerly Wonderware provides connectivity to hundreds of device types and protocols, but that's not all.  With the TOP Server OPC Client Suite, it's also possible to use your existing classic OPC DA and OPC XML-DA servers with OPC UA clients.

In this video blog, I'll show you how to make a secure OPC UA connection from OPC UA clients supporting the Data Access profile to TOP Server for integrating process data from OPC DA Classic servers using the TOP Server OPC DA Client driver.  I cover the basics of connecting to your OPC DA server and making an OPC UA connection using an OPC UA test client.

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Key New Features - OmniServer V3.2.0.5

3 min read

By Kevin Rutherford on Oct 15, 2020 2:00:00 PM

As you may be aware, OmniServer is updated several times a year to add additional useful features and tools, and to resolve any known issues as part of our continuous improvement process.

In this post, I will cover updates and enhancements available in OmniServer V3.2.0.5 to help you with increased flexibility for implementing protocols and updates for OPC UA client connectivity for integrating all of your non-standard devices.

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Firewall Ports: There's More to It and Why Your IT Team Has Concerns

5 min read

By Win Worrall on Oct 8, 2020 2:00:00 PM

In follow up to my teammate Marc’s post last week around OPC UA and network traffic, this week I’m going to explore firewall ports in more detail. My goal is to help you understand where IT is coming from when they get concerned about any open inbound ports on firewalls. There is more to it than the obvious which is why they ask a lot of questions. This is especially true when one is talking about a connection that is coming from outside the plant firewall, but also even when it’s a port between a business and a production network.

Through understanding more, you’ll be able to have collaborative discussions with your IT team, where you can weigh the risks with IT as your partner, look for options that address the risks, and accomplish the movement of data required to run your business in ways that address your application-specific security concerns.

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Tech Support Corner: When Your IT Team Asks about OPC UA and It's Potential Network Impact

3 min read

By Marc Holbach on Oct 1, 2020 2:00:00 PM

The adoption of OPC UA technology continues to grow more with each passing year.  And for good reason.  OPC UA provides a means to encrypt data as it is transferred between client and server that other client interface options simply do not. But when it comes time to have that discussion with your IT department around whether they are going to let you run OPC UA inside the firewall on a network, they likely will have concerns centered around common IT concerns in networks. 

Continuing our Tech Support Corner blog series, this post covers some common concerns that our support engineers have encountered from process engineers collaborating with their IT department about OPC UA client's and servers running on their network and the factors to consider in those discussions. 

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