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SCADA Software or Industrial Data Platform?

For decades now, SCADA software has been an indispensable monitoring, control, and diagnostic tool for plant operators. SCADA software has almost entirely replaced mimic panels, push-button stations, circular chart recorders, and the like, and most plants would not operate for long without it. As the evolution continues, modern SCADA platforms are uniquely positioned to transition beyond the plant floor to center stage as the Industrial Data Platform for digital manufacturing enterprises.

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Siemens Automation Summit 2018

Another Siemens Automation Summit is in the books, and it was a great one this year! Digitalization, connectivity, and security were the hot topics. Vertech was one of over 60 presenters with Calvin Hamus presenting “Extending WinCC OA with Web Technology.” The Tech Café presented Siemens product offerings like the TIA product family and MindSphere IIOT offering along with partner solutions from companies like Seeq (data analytics) and Claroty (ICS cyber security). Siemens provided great networking opportunities as well like the welcome reception sponsored by Siemens Solution Partners and the pirate-themed customer appreciation event on Wednesday evening.

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Getting Started with Siemens MindSphere IIOT Platform

Siemens MindSphere is a cutting edge industrial Platform as a Service (PaaS) product that takes a lot of the work out of building and deploying IIOT applications. Siemens bills MindSphere as "the cloud-based, open IoT operating system from Siemens that connects your products, plants, systems, and machines, enabling you to harness the wealth of data generated by the Internet of Things (IoT) with advanced analytics." Vertech recently became a MindSphere Solution Partner, and here are a few beginners tips our developers learned as they got started using the platform.

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Cloudy with a Chance of Security

How to Securely Get Plant Data into an Azure Database Via a Site-to-Site VPN.

Data that is generated and resides in the plant can be extremely useful for the continued success of the company, but it often resides in a highly protected and regulated environment. Rather than pushing the information to a database on the enterprise network, many people are moving toward cloud-based data processing and analytics for greater accessibility and expandability. So how can we get the data out of that environment securely and allow the business to start further increasing the value of that data? 

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Tips for Using Python in Ignition SCADA Software

Python is a popular high-level programming language known for its readability and performance. Typically, when you code in Python, you’re using the standard Python implementation – CPython – which is simply Python written in C. When scripting in the Ignition SCADA software by Inductive Automation however, you’re actually using Jython – a flavor of Python that runs in the Java Virtual Machine. With Jython come a few tips that you should know. 

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Integrating Slack with WinCC OA SCADA Software

In a previous post, I shared a method to send data from the Siemens WinCC OA SCADA software package to the Slack messaging service. I then thought about how cool it would be to do the same thing but to send messages from Slack to WinCC OA.  Using a bi-directional connection, WinCC OA can push things like event notifications, periodic production information, or maintenance requests to Slack, and then recipients can acknowledge receipt and take action. This could even be used for alarm acknowledgement, and that's the use case I'll focus on in this post.

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SCADA System Telemetry Network Transformation

Like any SCADA system component, radio telemetry networks age and eventually need an upgrade. The Town of Queen Creek in the Phoenix, Arizona metro area was faced with this eventuality when their rapid growth exceeded the capability of their existing 900MHz radio telemetry network. They needed new radio infrastructure that could provide reliable, high-speed connections to their existing sites, provide expansion capacity, and allow integration of video at remote sites.

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Three Consequences of Procrastinating a Control System Upgrade

Your production facility is an income-producing asset – this is where you get products to market and where profits are made or lost. Your control system is the brains of that asset, and it’s critically important to keep that brain as sharp and up-to-date as possible. Failing to give your control system much needed TLC over its lifetime will eventually come back to haunt you. Here are three potential consequences to consider.

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5 Techniques to Mitigate Risk During Your Control System Upgrade

Has maintaining your outdated control system become increasingly difficult, time consuming, and costly? It may be time for an upgrade. Control system upgrades come with some inherent risks of disruption and downtime, but there are steps you can take to mitigate as much risk as possible during the upgrade. Let’s briefly examine five common risk mitigation strategies our engineers at Vertech employ to help ensure a smooth migration.

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VerBrewHaus Nano-Brewery is Online!

We are excited to announce that our in-house nano-brewery, “VerBrewHaus” is now operational! Our team finished up programming the Siemens S7-1500 processor and Inductive Automation Ignition HMI in late March, and we produced our first batch of beer a couple of weeks later. This was a true team effort with programmers, shop technicians, and admin team members all working together to make this possible.

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