A PLC is unexpectedly offline, but the controls engineer doesn't know about it—and once informed, cannot easily trace its root cause. A plant line is under performing, but the plant manager doesn't have any visibility into the factory lines to understand why—or how performance can be improved. A machine is out of its normal operating range, but the maintenance team doesn’t know the status of the anomaly—or what level of maintenance is needed to fix it.
If you work on a factory floor, chances are that one—or all—of those scenarios sound familiar. Everyone recognizes the problems caused by latent data and low visibility into plant floor assets, but there hasn't been a simple solution to address these unique challenges—until now.
On April 8, KEPServerEX® version 6.1 hit the market—with updates and features built to meet your evolving industrial connectivity needs. Today’s release of KEPServerEX version 6.2 furthers these enhancements with new functionality for the CODESYS Ethernet driver, a new TIA Portal Exporter utility, Configuration API support for the EFM Exporter, improved interoperability with the ThingWorx® IoT Platform, and updates to more than 19 other server components, drivers, and advanced plug-ins.
Version 6.2 broadens the already expansive portfolio of devices to which KEPServerEX can connect—and provides new tools so that connecting those devices to diverse applications is easier and quicker than ever before. You can learn about version 6.2's key features below; for more in-depth information please attend the "KEPServerEX Version 6.2 Release Webinar" on June 14 at 10:00 AM EDT.
I am excited to announce the release of KEPServerEX® Version 6.1! This release builds on the usability and performance enhancements of Version 6, while strengthening the industrial connectivity platform’s core functionalities and enabling further device connectivity across the plant floor.
Version 6.1 includes new OPC UA Client driver enhancements, additional Configuration API capabilities, streamlined ThingWorx® and KEPServerEX integration, and two new solutions: a Siemens Plus Suite that incorporates Siemens-approved OPC UA functionality and a new driver supporting CODESYS Version 2.3 connectivity. These enhancements were designed to help bridge the gap between Operations and IT, for seamless enterprise-wide operational intelligence and optimized Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) connectivity.
On February 24, I presented "Collecting Industrial IoT Sensor Data through the KEPServerEX® User-Configurable Driver," a live webinar on how the User Configurable (U-CON) driver for KEPServerEX can help optimize the new breed of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) smart sensors. Attendees sent in great questions and comments throughout the webinar, but due to time constraints I couldn't answer every question asked.
The Q&A pairs below address the topics I didn't have time for during the webinar. I hope that this background information on the U-CON driver will give you the confidence and enthusiasm to explore how it can optimize your smart manufacturing tools.
Many of the promised benefits of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) did not capture the imagination of SCADA professionals a year or two ago. Why not? Because many of the IIoT capabilities lauded as “visionary” match what they have been accomplishing for decades.
Today’s manufacturing plant floor has inherent automation and connectivity challenges. Real-time production control and data analysis requires seamless connectivity across the enterprise—but disparate machinery, devices, and applications can’t always communicate effectively (or at all). Valuable information can be lost in this connectivity gap—at the cost of safety, productivity, efficiency, and profitability.
In October 2015, Kepware released the IoT Gateway advanced plug-in. Leveraging the 150+ drivers within the KEPServerEX® connectivity platform, the IoT Gateway streams real-time industrial data directly into Big Data and analytic software applications. It extends KEPServerEX connectivity to include web-based client applications and helps users create a more connected enterprise.
Since the release of the IoT Gateway, we’ve received questions about its ability to issue an HTTP GET request from our RESTful Client and retrieve data from a RESTful Server within KEPServerEX. Although this functionality is not included in the IoT Gateway, you can retrieve data from a RESTful server for use in KEPServerEX via Kepware's User Configurable (U-CON) driver.
When Kepware developed the Version 5 licensing model eight years ago, our customer base was very different than the one we have today. Our customers now have ever-increasing license counts, with more global operations and increased restrictions from IT. The Version 5 licensing model required a manual “round-trip” with our server for every licensed component (from drivers to advanced plug-ins to support), which created an overly burdensome process—especially for customers with multiple licenses. In KEPServerEX® Version 6, we wanted to improve customer experience and streamline this licensing process.
Our ongoing blog series on the new features of KEPServerEX® Version 6 has covered a lot of ground. We’ve described how Version 6 addresses the ever-changing industrial connectivity needs of our customers, offering native OPC UA technology, a new Configuration API, and an updated user interface. In these posts, we’ve strived to highlight the key goals of Version 6: streamlining server management and deployment, and increasing product scalability and IT-friendliness.
KEPServerEX® Version 6 is the result of nearly two years of planning and development work. Much of this effort was focused on architectural changes designed to meet the evolving industrial connectivity needs of our customers, culminating into a more positive and efficient user experience. All components of Version 6 strive to support and streamline the installation, deployment, and maintenance of our customers' projects—and the new user interface (UI) is no exception.
KEPServerEX users are accustomed to interacting with a simple yet capable UI. With Version 6, we hope to deliver the most positive user experience on the market while also building a foundation to better support future improvements. To learn more about the improved KEPServerEX UI, please read the Q&A pairs below.