Showing posts from 2012

Case Study: InSQL to PI Migration

This case study describes the process, the challenges and the outcomes of a historical data migration project. This project consisted of migrating data from two Wonderware (Industrial SQL) Historians to a single OSISoft PI Historian. The PI Historian had replaced the InSQL Historians, but this resulted in valuable historical data being split across three historians. By migrating the historical data from the two InSQL Historians to the PI Historian, all the historical data became available in the PI Historian, and the two InSQL Historians could be decommissioned. We will refer to the 2 InSQL Historians as ‘InSQL 1’ and ‘InSQL 2’. These two historians had the following properties: InSQL 1: Time span: 4 year and 7 months. No. of Tags: approx. 23 000. InSQL 2:  Time span: 1 years and 11 months. No. of Tags: approx. 40 000. The InSQL Historians not only overlapped in time, but also had common tags which extracted their data from the same source. The tags in the PI Hist

Outsourcing the Migration of Plant History

When an organisation makes a decision to introduce a different Plant Data Historian the requirement to retain visibility and access to existing historical data can be a challenge. There might be multiple years’ worth of valuable plant data associated with the legacy Plant Data Historian which somehow needs to be migrated to the new Plant Data Historian. Typically the same or a similar tag set is established on the new Data Historian and plant data will start to be recorded in the new system. There might be a switch over period where both the old and new systems each record data until the Plant is convinced that the new system is fully commissioned. All reports and web-portal views will now reference the new Plant Data Historian. Data migration is typically done in one or two tranches and the legacy Data Historian is finally decommissioned and all costs associated with its maintenance cease. In our experience the users of plant data are not empowered to attempt this onerous

Migrating Historical Data between Historians

Organisations that wish to change the data Historian they use are often faced with the challenge of what to do with the data contained in the existing historian. Simply powering the old historian server off is usually not a viable option, and maintaining two parallel systems introduces additional complexity and cost. Clearly, migrating the data in the existing system to the new system is the preferred route, but when large quantities of data are involved over extended time periods, this is not as straight forward as it may appear. Historians often include tools such as an OLEDB client that can be used to import data from other OLEDB-compliant sources. These tools are usually fairly limited, single query-based affairs that return and insert data in large lumps and tend to be slow given the quantity of data queried.  Also, the data is inserted blindly into the new historian, without providing any way of validating the inserted data, bar manually eye-balling trends of the inserted

IDX 8 Tag Manager - Managing the unmanagable?

Tag management of real-time data systems can prove challenging. As an industrial IT company we frequently come across the problem where tags need to be migrated from one system to another or where tags need to be synchronised and maintained between systems including historians. Generally, this ends up being a manual process, often involving Excel and much diligence and patience of the maintainer’s behalf. IDX Unifig was the first incarnation of a tool we designed with the aim to simplify the migration and management of tags between systems. The tool worked, but with as with most first editions of software tools, we could see the need for improvement and refinement of the approach used. Thus Tag Manager was born, and has become the key stone in the IDX 8 software suite. All other IDX 8 modules, such as Data Exchange, Alarms and Events and the Historian use Tag Manager to store and reference tags. The comparison result we like to see - no changes.   Tag Manager employs a plug

IDX 8 Data Exchange and Alarms and Events

Data Exchange has been the core of the IDX suite since its first inception in 1995. Data Exchange allows real-time tag data to be shared between various, usually incompatible, systems with IDX being the intermediary that converts the data between the systems.  Up to IDX 7, IDX was exclusively a Data Exchange engine with a reliable industry track record. IDX 7 still exists today, and provides the bulk to the Data Exchange requirements to service our clients’ needs. This includes special connectors such as the Gensym G2 Expert Sytem bridge, as well as more common OPC DA, MODBUS, and OPC DA tunnelling via TCP. IDX 8 introduces its own implementation of the Data Exchange engine. The intention is to mirror the functionality of common IDX 7 connectors, such as the OPC DA client, in native IDX 8 connectors to provide general data exchange ability to service functionality such as Alerting (more below). However, in the near future, the IDX 7 runtime will become a “proxy” data exchange engi

IDX 8 Historian

Industrial Data Historians are fairly common place. Generally they fall into two categories: enterprise-class historians such as OSISoft PI and Wonderware Historian, which bristle with features and carry a correspondingly enterprise-class price tag, and then there are the “cheap” historians (or sometimes glorified file loggers), that log data, but usually have significant performance or other functional limitations. The IDX 8 Historian is aimed at users that don’t want to spend the earth to get a solution that fits in between these two cases, that will provide data logging that is extensible to fairly large capacities and without the multitude of features most users don’t know how to or even wish to use. Our historian is built on Microsoft SQL 2008 (or above). Certain features introduced in SQL 2008 have made it viable to implement data logging with performance we were happy with (rough ball park figures show we routinely achieve around 20-30K sustained writes and 30-50K reads

Siemens S7 PLC programmer and communication interface.

We are excited to add a new product to our offering: The NETLink PRO Compact can be used as a programmer for an S7 PLC and/or as a PC interface. The device is packaged inside a conventional Profibus plug, and has a direct Ethernet port connection. The device supports MPI, PPI and Profibus, and automatically detects the correct communication used by the PLC. Typical uses of the device include: Programming adaptor to download your Step 7 or PCS7 PLC program  Connect your PLC to an HMI or visualization via ethernet  Access PLC data via ethernet , or use OPC using the S7/S7 OPC server (can be purchased with the NETLink PRO)  Remote logging: Access your PLC data over the internet.  Configuration of the NETLink PRO is done via its integrated webpage.

IDX 8 – Solutions for industrial data problems

Our company, Industrial Data Xchange, shares its name with our software suite, IDX. IDX first came into being in 1995 as an industrial data communications suite at a time when there were few options when interconnecting real-time data systems between vendors. The original IDX concept is fairly straightforward – it provides a pool of tags (or Slots) to which various modules, akin to plugins, can commonly read and write real-time data using Actions. The trick is that the modules implement the custom code to interface with a specified system but also know how to share data into the IDX tag pool. Therefore, as long as one has the modules developed for the system one wants to share data between, IDX becomes a common real-time data hub. Over time, many PLC, DCS and protocol-specific modules were developed, but for us, the most frequently used are OPC DA, IDX TCP (our proprietary TCP protocol), @aGlance, Gensym G2 and MODBUS, in the various flavours. Today, IDX 7 is largely still based

PROFINET Training in South Africa

The IDX Academy ran its second internationally certified PROFINET Engineers course in Johannesburg this last week. Congratulations to the newly certified PROFINET Engineers! The course ran over three days and included a theory and a practical component, and on the third day, two exams.  The theory covered the basics of PROFINET in terms timing, data exchange, the communication stack, infrastructure, GSDML files, etc., while in the practical, the delegates built a PROFINET Cable, created a PROFINET network, setup a controller using the TIA Portal from Siemens and did network analysis with Wireshark. Tools used in the practical include NETILITIES , ProfiTap Industrial and the Handheld PROFINET Cable Tester which are all from PROCENTEC.  The delegates will each receive an internationally recognised PROFINET certification and are entitled to claiming 3 CPD points from ECSA for attending the course. Feel free to contact the IDX Academy or PROFIBUS Competence Centre of South Africa if you

PROFIBUS Training in Durban

A little known fact is that the IDX Academy runs certified PROFIBUS training in the Durban area. The training is run according to a schedule and it is best to get your booking in early because space is limited! IDX has teamed up with Cube Technologies, who host the training, making Certified PROFIBUS training even more accessible in the KwaZulu Natal area.  Who actually presents the course?  Well it will be a certified trainer from the PROFIBUS Competence Centre of South Africa (run by IDX in Johannesburg), so the course cost is slightly higher than if you were to do the training in Johannesburg (because of the cost travelling of the trainer and equipment shipping), but companies in the area find it a lot more cost effective than if they were to pay for the travelling expenses of sending a delegate to Johannesburg. Where is Cube Technologies exactly? Sanyati Park 3 Abrey Road Kloof KZN South Africa How do I sign up? Contact Cube at +27 31 764 6081 or visit

How to Configure an Anybus COM Port Transport Path

When configuring an Anybus Gateway device, some of the configurations need to be downloaded using a COM Transport path. Below is a description of how to configure a COM Transport path. 1. When the Transport Path Dialog appears, Select the Serial Tab. 2.Click the "Create" button. 3. Once you click create, you will be presented with the types of transport paths. Select the "COM-Port Transport Provider". 4. You need to give the Transport path a name. If you are planning on using multiple COM ports, make sure the name helps you select the correct COM port when configuring devices (i.e. You could name the transport path "COM 1 Transport Path" so that you know which COM port it is tied to) 5.Once you have named the Path, Select the COM Port. 6. Now that you have configured your Transport Path, you can select OK to download your configuration. I trust this will help you get your Anybus device configured correc

How to Configure an Anybus COM Port Transport Path.

When configuring an Anybus Gateway device, some of the configurations need to be downloaded using a COM Transport path. Below is a description of how to configure a COM Transport path. 1. When the Transport Path Dialog appears, Select the Serial Tab. 2.Click the "Create" button. 3. Once you click create, you will be presented with the types of transport paths. Select the "COM-Port Transport Provider". 4. You need to give the Transport path a name. If you are planning on using multiple COM ports, make sure the name helps you select the correct COM port when configuring devices (i.e. You could name the transport path "COM 1 Transport Path" so that you know which COM port it is tied to) 5.Once you have named the Path, Select the COM Port. 6. Now that you have configured your Transport Path, you can select OK to download your configuration. I trust this will help you get your Anybus device configured corr

How to use the Anybus NetTool for Profibus

This describes the process of using the Anybus NetTool for Profibus so that you don't need any previous knowledge of configuring Profibus networks. To start you will have to install the Anybus NetTool for Profibus which will come with installation cd included with your Profibus Master device. 1. Once you have installed the NetTool, open it and select "New project" 2. This will bring up a new configuration area that will contain the setup for you Profibus network. 3. The first device you can add to the setup is the Profibus Master. Drag the selected master to the configuration area. 4.To configure the slave you need to have the correct GSD files installed. The GSD file can be found on the device vendors website.  5.  If the GSD file has not been installed click the "Tools" menu option to find the option to add the GSD file to the library. 6. Once the GSD file has been installed, you can find it under the "Profibus DP"

How to configure an AB7629 Gateway

How to configure your Profibus Master to Modbus TCP Slave Gateway? This seems to be a common question, yet with the amount of time we do it ourselves, we end up forgetting the procedure by the time we receive the next query. So for the sake of all mankind, and our sanity, here is a description of the procedure which will hopefully help you, and help us for the next query... First things first, go to the link below and make sure you have all of the documents and software installed that it describes. The software you will need is: Anybus IPConfig (this sets up the IP address) Hyperterminal (this configure the gateway IO mapping) NetTool for Profibus Master, which should come on the CD with the device (this configure the Profibus network) Hardware that you need: Null modem cable PC with COM port and Ethernet port 24v power supply Profibus RS485 cable with termination plugs (not necessar

FF Training in November 2012

In June 2012 David Bean, from IDX, traveled to Indiana (USA) to complete the FOUNDATION CERTIFIED PROFESSIONAL qualification at Trine University and establish a framework to bring their certified courses to South Africa.  David has subsequently applied to become a CERTIFIED FOUNDATION Instructor enabling him to run courses in South Africa. IDX will work with local vendors over the next few months to establish the necessary training laboratories while also finding out who is interested in receiving training. The Certified Foundation Professional course comprises of two parts: Part 1: Students register online and complete the necessary theory in their own time in the weeks prior to attending the course at IDX Academy. The online learning modules include a number of “open book” tests for submission. Part 2: Students come to the IDX Academy and spend four days doing detailed “hands on” work with Foundation Fieldbus – from making up cables to configuring an in the fi

Profitrace Version 2.6.3

PROCENTEC has released their new version of the Profitrace and in true PROCENTEC style have added some new and useful features.   Some of you may not know but in version 2.6.2, PROCENTEC released the ability to search through the GSD catalogue (list of loaded GSD files) by; Ident Number, Model Name, Vendor Name, Found in Live List or by the Last Network Scan. This is very useful when setting up a device. The latest offering that PROCENTEC has brought to the table is the ability to see the all the device's oscilloscope images displayed on the Live List. The advantage of this is that you can see all the waveforms in one view. The normal Profitrace oscilloscope functionality filters the oscilloscope images based on the responses of a single slave, when that slave has been selected you will only see the waveforms from that device. When networks are very large, you would need to view every device's waveform on the network to determine if there are problems, at time

Anybus Bluetooth Wireless Bridge

Anybus has created a wireless bridges that allows industrial Ethernet based devices to communicate using wireless technology seamlessly. This makes it possible to bridge protocols such as PROFINET, Ethernet/IP, Modbus-TCP, BACnet/IP, etc. over a distance up to 1000m (open air range) Industrial factories and plants are generally very "noisy" environments which cause disruptions in wireless communications. Bluetooth is an excellent option for these environments because Bluetooth switches between different frequencies allowing it to be more reliable and noise immune. The Ethernet bridge is ideal for situations where Ethernet cable needs to be replaced with a robust maintenance free solution. The Ethernet bridge features an intelligent gateway making it easy to install, configure and use. The low emission mode solves potential interference problems that can occur between Wireless LAN and Bluetooth. The key features of Bluetooth are its robustness and low power con

How to License your ProfiTrace Software for your ProfiCore Ultra

It is recommended that you download the latest version of ProfiTrace from here . You’ll be asked to fill in your contact details, but this so that we can follow up and make sure that everything went smoothly with your installation. Now for the licensing part - t here are a couple of ways that you can go about to license ProfiTrace: 1) The easy way: Make sure that the PC is connected to The Internet. Connect the ProfiCore Ultra and run ProfiTrace  Click on the “Init ProfiCore Ultra” button On the window popup The software will try to initialize the ProfiCore A warning error will appear saying that the license could not be found. Click OK Select download and install license Happy days! 2) You can download the license from here and put it into the “/app” directory under the ProfiTrace installation folder in Program Files (e.g. C:\Program Files (x86)\ProfiTrace_V2_6_1\App)  3) Using the Licensing tool Make sure that the PC is connected to The In