OptoBlog

Josh Eastburn

Josh built his career in industrial automation on being a great guy to work with and by applying software engineering processes and design techniques to deliver automation more consistently. His hobbies include books, music, tabletop games, and raising his five kids.
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Recent Posts

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, EPIC Security, 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

Outside-In Journal: Training Day Part 2

Posted by Josh Eastburn on Sep 10, 2019 12:52:37 PM

Step inside Opto 22 HQ again for day 2 of groov EPIC training.

The Outside-In series brings you an outsider’s perspective into the way Opto 22 operates behind the scenes. Today, we’re back in Temecula, CA (not Australia… I know! I was surprised too) for the next day of groov EPIC® system factory training. If you missed the first day, the class was introduced to groov Manage and PAC Control™. Plus, we got to see Terry Orchard demo Linux® secure shell access on the EPIC.

Day 2 wraps up PAC Control and covers PAC Display™, groov View™, Ignition Edge® and CODESYS®. If you’re interested in the hands-on training available for HMI/SCADA development or IEC 61131-3 languages on the EPIC platform, keep reading.

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Topics: Training, IIoT, Ignition Edge, PAC Display, Codesys, groov View, groov EPIC, groov EPIC Learning Center, Factory Training

Outside-In Journal: Training Day Part 1

Posted by Josh Eastburn on Sep 4, 2019 10:18:01 AM

Documenting the journey from the outside world into the world of Opto: First in a series.

After more than a decade as an automation engineer, I recently joined Opto 22’s marketing group. A few weeks ago, my workday was focused on maintaining the cell culture process automation of a world-class pharmaceutical manufacturer. This system had dozens of distributed controllers and hundreds of devices that worked together to deliver thousands of kilograms of the finest monoclonal antibodies you’ve ever seen. It was big.

What I enjoyed most about my job, though, was helping other engineers succeed. In the early years, I learned pretty quickly that you could take a group of smart people, give them bad tools, callous management, and a ridiculous schedule, and they would fail every time. I did the best I could to fix the managerial and scheduling issues, but the tools were always a limitation.

Now it’s my job to help connect other engineers with the kinds of tools and technologies I wish I’d had. I’m kicking it off with a deep-dive into the first place I visited as a new Opto employee: the training room.

If you’re wondering whether it’s worth your time and money to get some Opto training yourself, I’ll be walking through everything you can expect to experience.

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Topics: Training, PAC Control, Node-RED, Ignition Edge, groov EPIC, groov EPIC Learning Center, Factory Training

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