OptoBlog

Josh Eastburn

After 12 years as an automation engineer working in the semiconductor, petrochemical, food and beverage, and life sciences industries, Josh Eastburn works with the engineers at Opto 22 to understand the needs of tomorrow's customers.
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Recent Posts

MQTT: Mission-critical fault tolerance

Posted by Josh Eastburn on Jun 16, 2020 9:01:50 AM

Our MQTT series continues with a deep dive into groov EPIC’s (and now groov RIO’s) features for high-reliability MQTT networks.

Part 1 - MQTT: Basic publishing with groov EPIC
Part 2 - MQTT: Faster, better with Sparkplug B

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Topics: Node-RED, MQTT, Ignition Edge, groov EPIC, groov Manage, Sparkplug, MQTT implementation, groov RIO

Go further with groov EPIC 2.0

Posted by Josh Eastburn on May 5, 2020 4:03:17 PM

With the latest firmware update, groov EPIC gets I/O for the IIoT and more

Out this week, groov EPIC firmware version 2.0 is a milestone for the platform, and there are more than a few reasons to consider updating. Here’s an overview of what’s included.

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Topics: Updates, PAC Control, IIoT, Node-RED, MQTT, Codesys, groov EPIC, groov RIO

MQTT: Faster, better with Sparkplug B

Posted by Josh Eastburn on Feb 18, 2020 3:30:40 PM

In part 2 of our series, we look at how to set up groov Manage and Ignition Edge for publishing with Sparkplug B payloads.

Part 1 - MQTT: Basic publishing with groov EPIC
Part 2 - MQTT: Faster, better with Sparkplug B
Part 3 - MQTT: Mission-critical fault tolerance

MQTT is the darling of enterprise IoT because of its efficiency, simplicity, and flexibility, which makes it ideal for use in applications that communicate with resource-constrained edge-of-network devices. After being nurtured for years within IBM, and incorporated into their smart energy, health, and utilities solutions, MQTT has become the chosen messaging protocol across all the major cloud IoT platforms as well as highly scalable applications, like Facebook Messenger.

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Topics: Node-RED, MQTT, Ignition Edge, groov EPIC, groov Manage, Sparkplug, MQTT implementation

Announcing another Opto 22 breakthrough: groov RIO - remote I/O for the IIoT

Posted by Josh Eastburn on Feb 4, 2020 9:08:10 AM

You’ve heard the rumors. Now, as an OptoBlog subscriber, you can be first in line...

Coming next month: groov RIO®, a new family of intelligent, standalone, Ethernet-based, PoE-powered, remote I/O units for IIoT and automation applications.

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MQTT: Basic publishing with groov EPIC

Posted by Josh Eastburn on Jan 8, 2020 8:35:33 AM

Wondering how to implement MQTT with groov EPIC? Follow along with this series, starting with basic string publishing.

Part 1 - MQTT: Basic publishing with groov EPIC
Part 2 - MQTT: Faster, better with Sparkplug B
Part 3 - MQTT: Mission-critical fault tolerance

Ever since ‘00, when the next year rolls around I think, “Welcome to the future!” Every year it feels much truer, and how could 2020 be any less? I’m excited about what we have planned for you this year. Among other things, we’re upping our commitment to MQTT in a big way. Stay tuned for announcements on that in the coming months.

For the moment, though, I want to address the current feature set groov EPIC offers for MQTT, the lightweight pub-sub communication protocol for IoT. With so many ways to do it—via groov Manage, Node-RED, or Ignition Edge—you may be wondering which, if any, is right for your application. In this series, I’m going to look at different scenarios where you might want to use MQTT and show you how to get started.

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Topics: Node-RED, MQTT, EPIC, groov EPIC, groov Manage, MQTT implementation

Open source is the future of automation

Posted by Josh Eastburn on Dec 4, 2019 8:00:00 AM

Opto 22 speaks up for open-source software.

For this month’s IoT feature in Design World magazine, Opto 22 had the chance to weigh in on the value that open-source software brings to industrial automation.

Some key points for the industry:

  • Open source is everywhere in the enterprise and consumer sectors, powering innovation in products, services, and projects we all know.
  • Open source changes the economic model for industry, freeing engineers and end users from the trap of vendor
    lock-in.
  • Open source accelerates innovation and offers key technologies that empower IIoT growth.
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Topics: Node-RED, groov EPIC, Linux, open source software

Outside-In Journal: Unboxing the groov EPIC Learning Center

Posted by Josh Eastburn on Oct 31, 2019 8:25:22 AM

Curious to get your hands on a groov EPIC learning center (LC)? So was I. Lucky me, this was dropped off at my cubicle recently. Let’s see what’s inside!

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Topics: Training, IIoT, groov EPIC, groov EPIC Learning Center

New VPN Client in groov EPIC simplifies remote equipment communications

Posted by Josh Eastburn on Oct 21, 2019 1:19:24 PM

One of the new features in recent versions of the groov EPIC firmware (R1.4.0+) that hasn’t gotten much attention yet is the built-in virtual private network (VPN) client. I’m excited about it because it’s an incredibly rare feature in PLCs and PACs and makes it much easier to create a secure architecture for managing remote equipment.

Why? Because a VPN essentially creates a secure tunnel through the internet—using encryption and user authentication—that can connect remote EPICs to your PC or trusted company network. From a security and connectivity standpoint, it’s like the EPIC is on your desk or in your facility, protected in all the ways you protect your company network. Anything you can do with a locally networked device, you can do with a remote system using VPN.

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Topics: Security, groov EPIC, OpenVPN

Riding out the storm with the groov EPIC system

Posted by Josh Eastburn on Oct 10, 2019 10:22:30 AM

How one integrator used the remote connectivity in groov EPIC and groov View to save his systems from Midwest storms.


Rainstorms have pounded Wisconsin this season, along with much of the Midwestern United States, producing strong winds, flood waters, and tornadoes. Opto 22 field sales rep Dave Engsberg calls this area home and shared a story last week about one groov EPIC system on a particularly rainy night.

His story is a great example of what secure remote connectivity can mean for your applications: the difference between continuing operations or being submerged under water.

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Topics: groov View, groov EPIC

Outside-in Journal: Training Day Part 3

Posted by Josh Eastburn on Sep 23, 2019 3:54:52 PM

See what the final day of Opto 22's factory training looks like from the inside.

As the resident engineer-in-training, I’ve taken on the job of communicating to the outside world what it looks like inside of Opto 22. I’ve started off by giving you a look into the mindset and technologies at work here through the lens of our on-site training. Follow these links if you missed part 1 or part 2 of the series.

Last time I left you hanging right when we were about to get into CODESYS® near the end of Day 2. Today I make good on that teaser, as well as looking at Day 3 content (including Node-RED, MQTT, and the groov View™ graphics library) before Ben and Norma wrap up the class with a lesson on design fundamentals.

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Topics: Training, Node-RED, MQTT, Codesys, groov View, groov EPIC, groov EPIC Learning Center, Factory Training

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