You've likely already heard about the latest and greatest TOP Server just released on April 4 – so you've likely received one or more of our mailings announcing the release of TOP Server V6.1.
And I certainly wouldn't blame you for asking, “If I’ve already read those emails, what more is this blog post going to tell me?” I urge you to keep reading to find out more specific details about six of the most exciting features available in TOP Server V6.1.
1. New CODESYS Ethernet Driver
If you've ever had a need for CODESYS connectivity, you may already know that CODESYS (an abbreviation for controller development system) is an open source development environment for programming controller applications. It is widely used by smaller controller manufacturers in situations where developing custom firmware from scratch doesn't make sense. It is also implemented by larger controller manufacturers for niche controllers designed for specific use cases. Some notable PLC manufacturers using CODESYS include Schneider Motion (formerly Elau), Wago, Lenze, and Eaton, amongst others.
CODESYS has two major versions. Version 2.3 is an older version of CODESYS that is more prevalent in the market due to the amount of time it's been available and the number of installations that supported V2.3 prior to V3 becoming available. Many device manufacturers have already or are considering upgrading to CODESYS V3.
TOP Server V6.1 is the first phase of CODESYS connectivity support, and supports V2.3 for those majority installations using that version. The next TOP Server release, V6.2, will add additional CODESYS V2.3 functionality, as well as, adding CODESYS V3 support.
2. OPC UA Client Driver Enhancements
For those looking to take advantage of the latest OPC UA technology and trying to integrate edge devices for IoT, TOP Server V6.1 expands the possibilities with an updated OPC UA Client driver that supports OPC UA Nano for Embedded Devices.
So what does this mean for you? If you have edge devices where the manufacturer has utilized an embedded OPC UA Nano Server, TOP Server V6.1 will allow you to expand your Internet of Things reach by connecting and collecting data from those devices using the OPC UA Client driver.
Also supported with V6.1, the OPC UA Client driver adds UA structured data support, which is required for OPC UA server connectivity where the implementation provides access to device data such as UDTs and complex data structures.
3. New Siemens Plus Suite
Over the past several years, many of you have let us know you are adopting the latest Siemens technology, particularly S7-1500 controllers. And, with your adoption of those controllers, you've been asking for connectivity via the symbolic optimized block addressing.
With TOP Server V6.1, we've added the ability to communicate to S7-1500s using the Siemens-approved method of connecting to the embedded OPC UA Server in those controllers. What this means is that the TOP Server OPC UA Client driver now allows you to access your S7-1500 using the symbolic address references, including UDTs (prior to V6.1, UDTs were not supported in the UA Client driver).
And to cover those of you who need connectivity for both S7-1500 via symbolic references but also still have an installed base of older Siemens hardware such as S7-300s and S7-400s requiring serial or S7 Ethernet, the new TOP Server Siemens Plus Suite provides all of the classic Siemens Suite drivers and includes the OPC UA Client driver for S7-1500 connectivity.
And you may be asking, "But how to we access symbolic references in the S7-1200?" Siemens plans to add embedded OPC UA Server support for the S7-1200, as well, in a future firmware release. Once that firmware is available for your S7-1200, the TOP Server OPC UA Client driver can be used for those controllers, as well.
4. Mitsubishi Ethernet Driver Enhancements
With Mitsubishi PLCs, TOP Server V6.1 provides greatly enhanced read and write performance. To provide a benchmark, the latest version provides read performance for exception-based reads that is roughly twice as fast as TOP Server V6.0 and prior versions. And for synchronous reads, the performance has increased roughly 30% from prior versions.
And for write performance, you'll find that TOP Server V6.1 is about 7x faster than prior versions. What this means for you is that you gain substantially more throughput for your ever increasing demands on your control network speed.
And, in addition to those significant performance increases, the TOP Server Mitsubishi Ethernet driver now provides support for both L-Series and QnA Series controllers, expanding your ability to connect to the data your enterprise needs on systems using these newer controllers.
5. Omron NJ Ethernet Driver Enhancements
And, following the theme of increased performance, with TOP Server V6.1, the Omron NJ Ethernet driver has also be updated to provide much faster read performance. This was facilitated through adding support for an additional command type that provides much more efficient blocking of read requests for increased throughput.
Additionally, the NJ Ethernet driver has been tested and official support is confirmed for the latest Omron NX-Series controllers for your systems using the latest Omron hardware.
6. Expanded ControlLogix Ethernet Firmware Support
And, last but not least, TOP Server V6.1 provides an update to arguably our most used and popular driver - the Allen-Bradley ControlLogix Ethernet driver in the Allen-Bradley Suite. V6.1 now supports Logix Firmware Versions 29 and 30, as well as adding support for some additional new CIP data types added with Firmware 28.012.
Users adding the latest hardware and keeping existing hardware up-to-date with the latest Allen-Bradley firmware will want to make sure to upgrade to V6.1 to stay current and connected to all of your ControlLogix controllers out there.
All of these new features provide expanded connectivity options along with improved efficiency, scalability, and flexibility. And, while this is a sampling of the primary features in TOP Server V6.1, as always, we have a list of other enhancements and features in the release notes that we just don’t have room to cover here - click for details.
Ready to try TOP Server V6.1 for yourself? Click below to request your free trial for immediate download.