Software Toolbox Technical Blog

4 min read

Easy-to-Use Interactive Reports and Dashboards Helps Minimize Downtime

By Kevin Rutherford on Aug 22, 2019 2:00:00 PM


In the industrial automation industry, more and more companies are looking for ways to increase profitability through minimizing downtime and the lost productivity associated with it.

In this blog post, we discuss how actively monitoring and tracking downtime occurrences can empower you to reduce or even eliminate such productivity-killing situations.

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5 min read

Cogent DataHub V9 Provides Secure Remote Configuration Built In

By Win Worrall on Jan 10, 2019 2:00:00 PM


While Cogent DataHub is, of course, primarily known for its extensive connectivity interfaces, just as important is how you, the user, are able to intuitively use and configure the functions in DataHub, both locally and remotely.

In this first blog post of a detailed series on specific DataHub Version 9 features, I'll provide insight into the new Remote Configuration capabilities and show you how Cogent DataHub V9 provides a secure, reliable and easy-to-use configuration experience locally and remotely.

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4 min read

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

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 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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3 min read

Automated KPI Reporting Helps Maximize Your Productivity

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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7 min read

Three Key Ways Dream Report provides ROI through Business Intelligence

By Kevin Rutherford on Jun 28, 2018 2:00:00 PM


Today’s automation professional is tasked not only with continuous improvement of the automated processes he or she is responsible for, but also doing it with less resources and a lower budget. Labor is expensive and over-tasked.

With all of the core business tasks an engineer faces today, they simply may not have the time to sift through the all of the options available in the marketplace for gathering “business intelligence”.

A key buzz term used in the front office of many companies, business intelligence needs on the automation side of an enterprise are centered around Industrial applications. While business intelligence tools are great at dealing with counts and currencies, automation processes need that and more.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the three main reasons to have a business intelligence solution and, also, the three key ways that Dream Report delivers nicely on the greater needs of hybrid industrial/business data analytics requirements to provide business intelligence for making key decisions regarding a process to save time, money and expenses.

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1 min read

Video Tutorial: Tracking the Health of Your Servers

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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7 min read

Enabling System Health Tracking in OT Software Applications

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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4 min read

DataHub V8 and You - Common Questions & Answers

By Win Worrall on Mar 2, 2017 2:00:00 PM


By now, I’m sure you’re aware of the Cogent DataHub v8 release.  Since announcing the release date, we have had many good questions from existing users like you.

This blog post will address the most common questions we have received and provide the answers you need to plan your DataHub V8 migration.

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4 min read

What Can Cogent DataHub V8 Do For You?

By Win Worrall on Feb 23, 2017 2:00:00 PM


You may have heard about the upcoming release of Cogent DataHub Version 8 on March 1.  The new features in Version 8 are focused on enabling the Cogent DataHub to deliver high-quality data communication – secure, fast, and fully integrated within the plant and beyond.

In this blog post, to give you a bit more insight into what you can expect, I will provide further details on each of the new features.

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6 min read

OPC Connectivity & Security Concerns in IT/OT Convergence

By John Weber on Dec 20, 2016 2:00:00 PM


Complications of Domains, Workgroups, & Mixed Windows Versions & Solutions

In the Operations Technology or OT world that most of our users live in, it’s normal to have multiple versions of Windows and systems that may not always be setup consistently but we have to make it all work anyway.   Connecting OPC clients and servers when the Windows computers are not on the same version, not in an Active Directory or, using older terminology, a domain, and having everything work well takes skill, and keeping it secure involves a lot of details.

In this blog post, our team asked me to explore with you the details involved to assist you with better understanding Windows Security and to converse more productively with your IT Team.  I’ll also share how you can learn more about how to make things easier on yourself through the use of OPC UA or with Tunneling.

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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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