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Will SCADA Experts Embrace Smart Manufacturing?

Posted by Dan Turner

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. 

Part Two: Simplifying Remote SCADA with the Scheduler Plug-In

Posted by Sam Elsner

Last week, I described several challenges that SCADA engineers face while determining a remote data acquisition schedule. I also shared the top seven features that our market research identified as helping to resolve those issues. Today, I'm happy to introduce Kepware’s new Scheduler Plug-In for KEPServerEX, which allows our industry-leading communications platform to take on the role of a dedicated polling engine. We’ve designed the Scheduler’s UI with the same clean, minimalist look and feel that users expect from Kepware products. This means we paid attention to reducing mouse clicks and creating intuitive and tidy organizational structures, wizard-driven configuration for more complex features, and a workflow design that is consistent with all of the other tools that you’re used to using within KEPServerEX.

Part One: The Trouble with Scheduling Remote SCADA

Posted by Sam Elsner

For folks out there in SCADA engineering, whether fresh data is arriving on your control screens or not is particularly important. In certain environments (like high-speed manufacturing systems), the decision process around what data to read when and at what frequency sometimes can be as simple as determining the fastest rate of change of your most frequently changing data point—and then designing your control system to request all of your data at least twice as fast as this rate. Yes, it is extremely nice to have dedicated, fast data pipes for all of your important process data. But for SCADA engineers in environments where devices potentially exist hundreds of miles away from a central SCADA operations center, running dedicated cabling to these locations is cost prohibitive if not logistically impossible. This means that to connect to equipment, an organization is often using leased and shared Ethernet or telephone lines or utilizing wireless data transfer technologies like radio, cellular, and microwave. These transfer mediums don’t usually offer anywhere near the performance that you’d need for a one-size-fits-all style of data collection frequency.

Case Study: How an SI Improved Real-Time & EFM Data Monitoring

Posted by Candace Letizia

In April 2013, Kepware released a case study featuring SIGIT Automation, a privately-owned Controls and Automation system integration company that serves the Petroleum and Energy industries. I came across it again the other day while perusing our library of case studies, and was reminded of what an interesting application story they had. Faced with challenges that ranged from data collection to interoperability, SIGIT was able to integrate KEPServerEX with their existing e-SCADA™ system to improve their real-time and EFM data monitoring. Read on for an overview of their challenges, solution, and results.

Streaming Real-Time SCADA Data into Splunk

Posted by Erik Dellinger

If you are familiar with Splunk, then your first thought may be that they are an Operational Intelligence company gathering Big Data generated from log files within a data center. While this is true, it does not paint the entire picture of Splunk’s efforts around Big Data. Splunk has recently partnered with Kepware to harness data from the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). This blog will discuss some possible benefits of industrial machine data as part of business and operational intelligence strategy. It will also demonstrate the practical applications of the new partnership between Kepware and Splunk.

Let Operations Drive Server Architecture

Posted by John Harrington

Many people ask, "What is the optimal architecture for KEPServerEX within a plant; how many servers and where?" As with most questions of this nature, the short answer is that it depends, but there is some guidance we can provide.

Business Intelligence through Network Collaboration

Posted by Erik Dellinger

One of the challenges we see today that goes beyond technology is the convergence of Automation/Control and Information Technology (IT) systems and departments. Automation professionals want and need a hardened system. The systems they manage can and do run 24/7 without any major changes. If the IT department makes a decision to push down the latest anti-virus software, install the latest patches from an operating system update, or even something more significant like install a new operating system, production at a manufacturing facility could be taken offline for minutes to weeks. There is the potential when making IT system changes to make automation systems unusable. On the other hand, IT professionals must ensure all the equipment and networks are secure and vulnerabilities are managed. The business systems that reside on these networks are better understood by the IT team and are not as likely to produce the same significant loss in operations if they are down for a short period of time while changes are made or the system is recovered.

Why It's Time to Stop Losing Data from Your Remote Sites

Posted by Aron Semle

Today’s post provides an in-depth look at the problems facing the Oil & Gas Industry with respect to data loss during remote data collection. What are the regulatory and financial implications? How do we start to solve this problem?

Reimagining Your Remote Communications with a New Distributed Architecture

Posted by Steve Sponseller

Optimizing communications between devices in the field and the centralized applications that need their data is a critical component to the success of a SCADA implementation. The networks that support these communications typically use radios, cellular networks, satellite links, or other types of wireless technology. Due to the bandwidth limitations of these networks, a non-streamlined and inefficient communications solution compromises the network’s ability to acquire and manage data as needed. This blog will discuss a new approach to a communications architecture that simplifies, enhances, and increases the reliability of data collection in a SCADA environment.