Thursday, June 26, 2014

Top 5 InTouch Development Tips

1. Secondary Source
Each access name can be given a secondary source. This results in redundant paths to a PLC. Select Special, Access Names, and choose an access name of your choosing. 

When enabled, the Failover button becomes active which allows the timing between failures to be manipulated. In intermittent networks, it's best to allow an amount of seconds before switching over to the backup.

 2. Change Default Font Size
Placing text or buttons on your windows can appear with small or unreadable font. Change the default font from Special, Configure, WindowMaker. At the bottom right, select text or button and adjust the settings.

3. True Fullscreen
WindowViewer comes with a titlebar and toolbar constantly showing. This coupled with the Windows Start Menu can make window creation and sizing more difficult. To make the WindowViewer experience truely full screen, go to Special, Configure, WindowViewer, and Window Configuration tab. Uncheck 'Menu Bar', check 'Hide Title Bar', and lastly check 'Always Maximize'.

4. Duplicate with a Pattern 
Creating duplicates or shapes or elements, it's typically important to keep them in line or at least follow a pattern. After first duplicating, move it immediately to the spot you desire and select duplicate again. Observe and breath a huge sigh of relief.

5. Delete Tags 
Has this ever been a problem? 

Wonderware has created a particular work flow for a tag to be deleted. If we deleted tags willy nilly, the animations throughout the application would be left orphaned without parents and all alone. No one wants to be alone. Except creepy people who hang out in basements all day.

First, run Special, Cross Reference, and search for the tag in question. Leave the default settings.

Delete or replace the tag everywhere it's being used. The resulting cross reference can be saved as a file for later digestion.

After the tag has been taken out of use, select Special, Update Use Counts. This will be the final blow against our rogue tag.

 The delete button has now become available.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

And the password is...Security for PLC Access

Don't compromise the functionality of your processes by not implementing security settings on your GE PLCs. Security can be set to four different levels of access on your PLC. If a user types in the password for a particular level, then they have the ability to do different tasks. 

The four levels are shown here:
You can get to this screen by right clicking the online target and choosing Online Commands - Show status and then click the Protection tab.

By default all of the passwords will be blank. You have to click the passwords button and assign them individually as shown here:
Once the passwords are assigned, you then have to enable passwords in the hardware configuration.
Changing this will require a STOP download. Once this is complete you will have different levels of access available.

Monday, April 28, 2014

No I/O server? No DA server? No problem!

OPC Unified Architecture is a technology that enables platform-independent communication. It is not Window-based like standard OPC-DA.  For example, it enables any OPC-UA client HMI to connect directly to field equipment like a PLC with no protocol translation or I/O server.  An additional benefit is that it is much more firewall-friendly than OPC-DA.

We now have a PLC that utilizes OPC UA.  The RXi controller for GE has upgraded their firmware to include an OPC UA server.  This article will explain how to set up that server to a Kepware OPC UA client.  Other client vendors include Wonderware, who recently released its OPC-UA client for System Platform 2014. 
1) The first step is to upgrade your RXi to the latest firmware version 8.11:

2) You will then need to download the program block and instructions to run the server:

3) Import the XML block into Machine Edition. (Make sure passwords are set to disable)

4) Add a call to_MAIN.

5) Assign the imported block to that CALL and assign variables to it.

6) Create a variable called TEST and make sure that it is Published External.

7) Download and start the PLC.
8) Set the UToffset to 300 and toggle the START. You should see the Running turn ON and the SERVER_STATUS got to a value of 2. 
9) Now the OPC UA server is ready. You could later add logic that would start the server if it has issues.
The next step is to add a Kepware OPC UA client. (Use default settings unless otherwise specified below)
10) Add the following Endpoint substituting your IP address.

11) Leave the username and password blank for now. This will create an Anonymous connection. You can also add security by setting the PLC up with a password and entering it here.

12)  Add a device for the PLC. (Use default settings unless otherwise specified below)

13) Click the select import items button.

14) Browse the Application-Variables folder and add the items you want to see.

15) Go into Quick Client and browse to the application folder to see your value.

Additional information about the setup can be found in chapter 13 of the RXICLT000 Manual.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Don't Use Platform Killer

Platform killer is an unsupported tool.  Most people believe the tool is supported because it was so widely used, even recommended (out of necessity) by support people.  The necessity has been eliminated in System Platform 2012. Now, platforms remove much cleaner.  There is a supported reliable method for removing a platform.  It is done though the system management console. Here are the steps.

1.) Open SMC – Navigate to Start | All Programs | Wonderware | System Management Console
      2.) Navigate to Galaxy name – In the left pane, find platform manager and expand it.  Click on the name of your galaxy.
3.) Remove Platform – Right click on the name of your plant then select remove platform from the context menu.  This removes the platform from the local computer and only the local computer, no other platforms will be removed.  Your screen will look like the screenshot below at this step.

Please remember to use this supported method.  Platform Killer shouldn’t be used for System Platform 2012 and above.  Platform Killer can create problems requiring a system to be reformatted on 2012 and above.  Even for versions before 2012 it is better to try the supported method first then try Platform Killer. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Extending IP Networks over Copper Wires

To improve the efficiency of industrial automation systems, many operators are considering
the possibility of IP upgrades to provide centralized control/management and remote
monitoring. When migrating to a converged IP-based network, acquiring an Ethernet
communication framework will be necessary to provide higher bandwidths and longer
transmission distances, which can require the installation of new cables. However, installation
of new cables can incur substantial costs in planning, labor, and system downtime. Under
hard-to-wire circumstances, or when budgets are limited, existing legacy copper-wire networks
can be a cost-effective alternative to quickly deploy an Ethernet extension.
Read this article to learn how you can significantly improve network communication and the methods to ensure a stable, reliable, and efficient DSL Ethernet extender deployment.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Exporting a Wonderware Log File

This document details the steps of exporting a Wonderware log file.

Step 1: Open System Management Console – In Windows search bar type “System Management Console” then launch it.
Step 2: Select the logger – Click on “Log Viewer” in the left pane.
Step 3: Select the relevant computer’s logger – Drill down into logger viewer then drill down into default group then click the relevant machine.  Most likely you are working on the local computer so “local” would be the relevant computer.  Below is a screenshot of what your screen should look like at this point.

Step 4: Filter Data by Time Range – Refer to the above screenshot.  Select the filter icon by the black arrow.  Now select the Time Range time.  Adjust the time range to one day before the issue that occurred to one day after the issue occurred.
Step 5: Select Export – Right click in the left pane on the computer you are working on.  Navigate in the context menu to messages then export.  Click export.  Refer to below screenshot for example.

Step 6: Save the file – Put your company’s name at the start of the filename but leave the rest the same.  Leave the save type the same.  Pick a location to save the file, anywhere you choose, then click save. 
Step 7: Send Log file to Logic tech team -  If the log file is smaller than 10 MB it can be sent through email to the logic person working with you on the issue.  Files greater than 10 MB will not go through Logic’s email servers and will need to be uploaded (you can try zipping a file to get it under 10 MB limit).  To upload a file go here:  The upload is extremely easy to use, no username/password required.  Once the upload is complete, give us a call to review your file. 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Industrial Networking Security Best Practices

      Protecting network-enabled industrial control systems from both external and internal
threats is critical to preventing costly intellectual property theft and ensuring cybersecurity.
In this white paper, Moxa explores the following five important topics related to 
  • Protecting against external hackers who want to cause a disruption
  • Protecting against external hackers who want to steal information
  • Protecting against internal employees who accidentally cause a disruption
  • Protecting against internal hackers who want to cause a disruption
  • Protecting against internal employees who want to steal information

                              Industrial Networking Security Best Practices