OPC Data Client Development Toolkit Update – UA Platforms, Security, & Interoperability

Posted by John Weber on Nov 13, 2018 10:00:00 AM

The 2018.3 release of the OPC Data Client toolkit continues to make OPC UA client development easier, more secure and interoperable, while continuing to support OPC DA, A&E, and XML-DA development.

In this blog post I have taken the release notes and boiled it down to the key benefits that might drive you to upgrade, get back on support, renew support, or, if you’re new to OPC client development, try our OPC Data Client toolkit.

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Topics: OPC UA, OPC, OPC Data Client, Developer Tools

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

Building Custom CRCs for Non-Standard Protocols

Posted by Kevin Rutherford on May 17, 2018 2:00:00 PM

If you’ve been following our blog series on custom error detection, you’ll remember that OmniServer provides a large number of pre-defined Error Detection Codes (EDC) for use in different protocols for non-standard device communication.  And, again, it’s not uncommon to find an EDC from a vendor that is not pre-defined due to some specialized handling by the device manufacturer.

As we covered in our previous posts on creating a custom checksum and LRC, OmniServer gives you the ability to build custom EDCs in an OmniServer protocol to handle these situations.  This post, the final of three on custom Error Detection Codes, covers the basics steps to creating a custom CRC (Cyclic Redundancy Check) in an OmniServer protocol.

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Topics: Wonderware, Device Integration, Protocols, OmniServer, drivers, connectivity, OPC, OPC DA, OPC UA, Protocol Design, Error Detection, CRC

Building Custom LRCs for Non-Standard Protocols

Posted by Kevin Rutherford on Apr 19, 2018 2:00:00 PM

You may be aware that OmniServer provides a wide variety of pre-defined Error Detection Codes (EDC, also known as CRC, LRC and Checksums) for use in protocols for non-standard device communication.  However, it’s not uncommon to find an EDC that isn’t pre-defined due to some specialized handling by the device manufacturer.

To handle such situations, OmniServer provides the ability to build your own custom EDCs in an OmniServer protocol.  This post, the second of three on custom Error Detection Codes, will cover the basics of creating a custom LRC (Longitudinal Redundancy Check) in OmniServer.

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Topics: Wonderware, Device Integration, Protocols, OmniServer, drivers, connectivity, OPC, OPC DA, OPC UA, Protocol Design, Error Detection, LRC

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

Building Error Detection Codes for Custom Protocols

Posted by Kevin Rutherford on Mar 15, 2018 2:00:00 PM

If you’ve worked with OmniServer to connect your non-standard devices in the past, you may be aware of the large number of pre-defined Error Detection Codes (EDC, also known as CRC, LRC and Checksums) available.  However, as is the nature of custom protocols out there, it’s not uncommon to find an EDC that isn’t pre-defined due to some specialized handling by the device manufacturer.

To that end, OmniServer provides the flexibility to define your own custom EDCs in an OmniServer protocol.  This post, the first of three on custom Error Detection Codes, will cover the basics of creating a simple custom checksum in OmniServer.

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Topics: Wonderware, Device Integration, Protocols, OmniServer, drivers, connectivity, OPC, OPC DA, OPC UA, Protocol Design, Error Detection

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

Integration of Vibration Monitoring Hardware into HMI, SCADA, MES, & Historians

Posted by John Weber on Feb 21, 2018 2:00:00 PM

Software Toolbox has worked with integrators, users, OEMS and distributors of Wonderware Software products since 1997.  At a Schneider Electric Software conference in 2017, they met a hardware supplier new to the Wonderware user community, Test Products International, also known as TPI.  It turns out TPI is not new to the vibration monitoring space, though, and has a long history of providing handheld test and measurement equipment. In this video blog...

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Topics: Wonderware, OmniServer, OPC, OPC UA

3 Reasons to Be Excited about OPC Data Client 2018.1 Release

Posted by John Weber on Feb 14, 2018 2:00:00 PM

Our latest release of the OPC Data Client development toolkit provides some exciting new features for leveraging powerful OPC UA technology features including OPC UA complex data support.

In this post, we will cover some of the key reasons the OPC Data Client 2018.1 is an easy, effective method for bringing the power of OPC UA to your custom client applications.

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Topics: OPC UA, OPC, OPC Data Client, Developer Tools

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

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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.

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