Did You Know? OmniServer Can Integrate Most Printers with Your Process

Posted by Marc Holbach on Aug 1, 2019 2:00:00 PM

Whether your role is IT or OT, there tends to be an almost universal dislike of having to work with printers. It is likely, for this exact reason, that when tasked with integrating a printer (be it a laser jet printer for labelling packaging, or a label printer to track your products) many users are simply forgoing the integration completely.  That might mean opting for limited integration with a PLC on the line or simply choosing to not integrate at all while continuing to make any configuration changes manually.

In this blog post, continuing our OmniServer Did You Know series, we’ll discuss several methods that users have implemented over the years when needing to use printers in a process and how OmniServer provides an off-the-shelf, easy-to-use alternative for direct integration of most printers with your process control systems.

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Topics: Wonderware, Device Integration, Protocols, OmniServer, OmniServer Did You Know

Did You Know? OmniServer Supports CSV Import/Export

Posted by Kevin Rutherford on May 2, 2019 2:00:00 PM

OmniServer's main purpose is enabling connectivity without custom code for devices that use ‘non-standard’ protocols to communicate such as weight scales, barcode readers, and printers.  And OmniServer does that in a more efficient and cost-effective manner than writing custom code.

Furthering the goal of efficiency and cost-effectiveness, you may or may not be aware that OmniServer supports CSV import and export for speedy configuration of many things including topics, devices and, in the actual protocol itself, items, registers, topic variables and even messages.  On larger projects, this provides a substantial time savings.

In this post continuing our "OmniServer Did You Know?" blog series, we will cover how to use CSV import and export in OmniServer to facilitate faster configuration on larger protocol implementations.

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Topics: Wonderware, Device Integration, Protocols, OmniServer, OmniServer Did You Know

Preview the Future of Non-Standard Protocol Creation

Posted by Kevin Rutherford on Apr 11, 2019 2:00:00 PM

If you're familiar with OmniServer, you know that OmniServer is frequently used for accessing information from devices that use ‘non-standard’ protocols to communicate such as weight scales, barcode readers, and printers either over serial connections or Ethernet connections.

With the advent of touchscreen technology and the increasing availability and familiarity with drag-and-drop functionality across computer systems and applications, we feel it is important to evolve the OmniServer user experience to be more inline with current technologies and user expectations regarding ease-of-use.

In this blog post, we will cover a visual protocol builder we've been working on for OmniServer, showing you the key enhancements to the user experience that will make integrating your non-standard devices easier than ever.  And you'll be given the chance to request more information and consideration for our new beta program.

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Topics: Wonderware, Device Integration, Protocols, OmniServer, OmniServer Did You Know

How to Integrate Your S7-1500 via OPC UA using TOP Server for Wonderware

Posted by Marc Holbach on Mar 7, 2019 2:00:00 PM

In recent years, many of our users have let us know they are adopting the latest Siemens technology, particularly S7-1500 controllers.  And, with that adoption of those controllers, users have been asking for connectivity via the symbolic optimized block addressing.  So we added a Siemens Plus Suite to enable connectivity to new and legacy Siemens devices.

This post focuses specifically on the general steps required to integrate S7-1500 controllers by connecting to their embedded OPC UA server using TOP Server for Wonderware.

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Topics: Wonderware, Device Integration, OPC UA, Protocols, drivers, connectivity, Siemens

Did You Know? How to Integrate Virtual COM Devices with OmniServer

Posted by Kevin Rutherford on Feb 14, 2019 2:00:00 PM

If you're familiar with OmniServer, you likely already know how OmniServer is commonly used to retrieve information from devices that use ‘non-standard’ protocols to communicate such as weight scales, barcode readers, and printers either over serial connections or Ethernet connections.

However, with the advent of USB connectivity, many such devices that would have traditionally been a serial/COM device now physically connect to a machine via USB, instead.

Continuing our "OmniServer Did You Know?" blog series, we will cover how OmniServer can easily connect to USB or serial-to-Ethernet devices that are mapped virtually as Serial/COM devices.

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Topics: Wonderware, Device Integration, Protocols, OmniServer, OmniServer Did You Know

Did You Know? How to Test OmniServer Protocols Prior to Building Your Client Application

Posted by Kevin Rutherford on Jan 3, 2019 2:00:00 PM

When working with non-standard protocols based on protocol documentation from a device vendor, there will always be some expected amount of testing, trial-and-error and troubleshooting in order to fine tune communications with a device.

Continuing our "OmniServer Did You Know?" blog series, this blog post focuses on how to use the built-in Item Values window in the OmniServer diagnostic tools and the included OPC Test Client to test communications using OmniServer.

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Topics: Wonderware, Device Integration, Protocols, OmniServer, OmniServer Did You Know

Demystifying Modbus Function Codes

Posted by Kevin Rutherford on Dec 13, 2018 2:00:00 PM

With the wide range of devices that use Modbus for their communication protocol, you'll find many different interpretations, terminology and labels with respect to how to access different types of data in those devices.  Sometimes a device manual might only refer to the supported Modbus function codes and the range of offsets available for those function codes.

In this blog post, I will step through the specifics of Modbus function codes and how they pertain to addressing, and how they affect what addresses to use in TOP Server for Wonderware applications.

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Topics: Wonderware, Protocols, Automation 101, TOP Server, Modbus

Did You Know? How to Recover from Device Errors with OmniServer Error Messages

Posted by Kevin Rutherford on Nov 7, 2018 2:00:00 PM

With any communication server for collecting process data, there has to be a reliable mechanism built-in for dealing with error responses from the underlying devices.  This is true even for OmniServer as a user-configurable communication server.

Continuing our "OmniServer Did You Know?" blog series, this blog post focuses on how to use error messages and notification items in an OmniServer protocol to properly handle error responses or conditions received from your non-standard process devices.

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Topics: Wonderware, Device Integration, Protocols, OmniServer, OmniServer Did You Know, error handling

Demystifying Modbus Register Addressing with TOP Server for Wonderware

Posted by Kevin Rutherford on Oct 11, 2018 2:00:00 PM

I'm sure you've all at least had some interaction with Modbus, working in the automation industry.  It's one of the most widely used protocols (if not the most widely used) in the world.  Which is both its blessing and its curse, to some extent.

Given how long Modbus has been around and in use as an "open" protocol (starting in 1979), there have been many different interpretations of Modbus throughout the years.  And with those different Modbus interpretations, much confusion about the different terminology for accessing data.

In this blog post, I will step through the basics of Modbus addressing including how offsets come into play, and how they affect what addresses to use in TOP Server for Wonderware applications.

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Topics: Wonderware, Protocols, Automation 101, TOP Server, Modbus

Did You Know? How to Setup Chained Messages in OmniServer

Posted by Kevin Rutherford on Oct 4, 2018 2:00:00 PM

In a nutshell, OmniServer's purpose is to retrieve information from devices that use ‘non-standard’ protocols to communicate such as weight scales, barcode readers, and printers.

Sometimes with some protocols, simply sending one message to a device, or doing nothing but simply transferring data to a client isn't enough. There are some more complex protocols where you will need to send a series of messages to the instrument, or respond to an event coming in from the device or to handle a sequence of handshaking messages. This is where "chained messages" come into play in an OmniServer protocol.

In this second post of a follow-up to our "OmniServer Did You Know?" blog series, we will cover how to chain multiple OmniServer command/request messages together in a protocol to flexibly handle such complex protocols.

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Topics: Wonderware, Device Integration, Protocols, OmniServer, OmniServer Did You Know

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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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