OptoBlog

How to set the clock on a PAC Controller

Posted by Ben Orchard on Aug 11, 2015 10:23:00 AM

What time is it?

Do you know what time it is? Does your SNAP PAC controller know what time it is? Are they the same time? Who’s right?

In this week's blog we are going to talk about this big ball of wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff.… No, not time travel, but actual time…. Specifically how to set your PAC Controller to the current time.

No reading ahead; remember, time flies like an arrow and fruit flies like a banana.

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Topics: Internet of Things, PLCs, IoT, PACs, OEM, Networking, PAC Project

To use a PID or not

Posted by Ben Orchard on Jul 22, 2015 12:26:00 PM

Loop the loop.

PID loops are used in a lot of different applications, and for good reason: they help keep our world under control. If you need to control a process temperature or pressure, you probably are going to use a PID loop. But are they always the right solution?

Ultra quick review; a proportional-integral-derivative control loop (or PID controller) compares a setpoint against a measured input value, and depending on the error, changes a control variable (output). It’s all about math. A PID loop is all about running a mathematical formula over and over at a specific rate.

The most common example of a PID loop that I often talk about in our monthly training class is the cruise control on a car. The speed of the car is the input, the accelerator is the output and the setpoint is what speed the car is doing the moment the driver presses the “set” button.

PID loops are so useful that sometimes we too quickly decide to use a one in a process when it may not be the best solution to the problem. In this week’s blog we are going to take a look at one instance where use of a PID loop may not be the best tool for the job.
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Topics: Process control, PLCs, Remote monitoring, Tips, IoT, PACs, I/O

OptoNews: How to control your MicroLogix PLC from your phone

Posted by Jean Femia on Jul 1, 2015 5:01:13 PM

What's on your MicroLogix™ PLC that you'd like to monitor or control from a mobile device?

Machine status? Temperatures and pressures? Valves and pumps?

Whatever it is, you can see it and do it now with a groov mobile operator interface. 

In our latest groov Workshop video you'll watch Opto 22's Director of Training, Mary St. John, build and use a simple interface for a MicroLogix PLC that's communicating as a Modbus/TCP slave. You'll learn how to:

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Topics: Videos, Process control, Discrete control, groov, PLCs, Remote monitoring, optonews, Integrators, OptoNews 2015-07-01

Building a secure automation network with groov

Posted by Ben Orchard on Jun 30, 2015 8:47:24 AM

Layers of security:

I wish there were, but there just isn’t.... There is no one device, hardware, or software that is the single defense for all known and future network attack vectors—including the one critical weaknesshumans. You know, some thing or device that you could simply put at your network's front door and have it reject all the bad guys, but allow the friendlies in without question. Secure and easy is still a wish.

The solution then really comes down to layers. Adding layers that each will take a lot of time and a lot of effort to peel back, so much so that most attackers simply give up and move on.

The past few blog posts have talked about some of those layers, so let's now put it all together and see just how we might go about building a very robust mobile-accessible industrial automation network.

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Topics: Process control, Discrete control, groov, Internet of Things, PLCs, Remote monitoring, Electronics, Tips, IoT, Machine builder, PACs, OEM, Integrators, Networking

Opto 22 and Allen-Bradley in the same mobile interface

Posted by Jean Femia on Jun 13, 2014 5:26:00 AM

You've heard us talk about how you can control your system on your mobile with groov.

  • "Your system" means any industrial automation, building automation, or other system that talks OPC UA. (Check out the list of compatible systems.)
  • "Your mobile" means any smartphone or tablet with a modern web browser. (See compatible devices.)

Why this flexibility? Because groov is based on the automation standard for interoperability (OPC UA), and on Internet standards for web browsers (like SVG and HTML5).

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Topics: Videos, Process control, Discrete control, groov, PLCs, Remote monitoring

Visualize the Internet of Things

Posted by Jean Femia on May 16, 2014 4:03:00 AM

All this talk about the Internet of Things... but what does it really mean to you and me?

At the Internet of Things North America conference this week in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Opto 22's Ben Orchard presented some new ideas on how we can approach these "smart" sensors and devices and equipment so they make sense for us.

Ben starts in his own geeky house, where his Philips hue lights, WeMo switches, and Twitter account (among other things) make up his own personal Internet of Things.

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Topics: Webinars, Videos, Discrete control, groov, PLCs, Remote monitoring

Build mobile interfaces for your Allen-Bradley PLC system

Posted by Jean Femia on Jan 31, 2014 4:00:00 AM

Do you have an Allen-Bradley® PLC? Would you like to monitor or even control parts of your system with your smartphone or tablet?

Our video groov your A-B shows you how easy it is to do exactly that.

Opto 22 engineer Ben Orchard steps you through it:

  1. Import tags from your A-B PLC to the tag server.
  2. Import tags to groov.
  3. Attach tags to gadgets.
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Topics: Videos, groov, PLCs

groov your system: Build interfaces for Siemens PLCs

Posted by Jean Femia on Jan 10, 2014 4:27:00 AM

Do you have a Siemens® PLC system? If you do, take a look at our latest video: groov your Siemens.

The video shows just how easy it is to build an operator interface to monitor or even control your Siemens equipment from your smartphone, tablet, or computer. It's Your system on your mobile™.

Opto 22 engineer Ben Orchard walks you through the setup in three steps:

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Topics: Videos, groov, PLCs

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