Most industrial organizations face one common and highly substantial problem: how to connect all their disparate devices, to all their disparate hardware from all the different vendors to establish communication between all these devices. On top of that, organizations wonder how they can possibly normalize the data from the many types and brands of devices. But no worries. They can, and there is a way. Once companies capture data, it can be used both locally on site and in IoT applications via a Cloud connection and then leveraged and turned into information for operational insight and wisdom - all for the purpose of driving improved efficiency and sustainability. After all, this is what digital transformation is all about. To accomplish this, there must be a connectivity solution that gives companies the ability for all their existing devices to talk, thus establishing interoperability and reliable communication This connectivity is achievable with one leading solution, the Takebishi DeviceXPlorer OPC Server.

Takebishi – New to the USA, but Proven Globally

Takebishi’s DeviceXPlorer OPC Server is a leading OPC server software suite that provides connectivity with control devices in discrete manufacturing, process building automation, and control and operations environments. This connectivity is important in both process and hybrid applications (oil & gas, pharmaceuticals, water treatment, chemicals, food & beverage, etc.) and discrete applications (packaging, automotive, machine tools, warehousing, etc.). The Takebishi DeviceXPlorer provides communication functions with multiple devices via a variety of network technologies and helps bridge source data to various client applications. It supports a variety of OPC Foundation technologies including OPC UA, OPC Classic DA – Data Access, and AE – Alarm and Events and can connect to over 200 device types. It is integrated into the ICONICS GENESIS64 software suite and the IoTWorX  environment and is also available separately. Additionally, it allows direct communication between ICONICS software, and other applications, with the actual physical equipment and machinery on your production floor, providing you with the ability to monitor and control your facilities, factories, and processes. The OPC server is also used for a solution that enables IoT applications via integration into ICONICS IoTWorX.

Takebishi DeviceXPlorer Delivers Connectivity

Let’s assume that a company has ICONICS software, a leading OPC client solution. The ICONICS products, as others do, benefit from a common interface to an all-encompassing namespace, as the Takebishi DeviceXPlorer provides. This enables the user to connect to and communicate with whatever devices you have on your plant floor. For example, you might be getting a new machine with embedded Siemens equipment, but you already have another machine with Rockwell equipment and another one with Mitsubishi equipment. The Takebishi DeviceXPlorer OPC Server can connect to all these data sources natively, meaning it speaks the different protocols to each and then provides the data to the ICONICS software using one common OPC interface. And it’s also possible to write back and forth between these devices. If data needs to be taken out of the Siemens controllers and fed into the Mitsubishi controllers, the Takebishi DeviceXPlorer OPC Server software can coordinate operations between these two machines, enabling you to use your ICONICS software to monitor operations and provide supervisory control, data archiving, analytics, alarming management, and notification functions.

No Need to Reinvent the Wheel – Standardization of Industrial Names for Data Is Coming

The Takebishi DeviceXPlorer provides both the import of tag definitions and the related expressions in an ISA-95 hierarchical format. This capability, combined with another breakthrough in the market, the standardization of industrial names for data, make it a futureproofed technology. We’re at a point in time in industry where there’s a need to get smarter about how we name data. Traditionally, control system engineers have had to dream up a bunch of names for their data sources. For instance, if there's a machine run variable, they might call it “Machine 1 Status”. Since these engineers named the data point, others that access the driver to read the data need to consult the domain experts to know exactly what that name means. This workflow wastes time and effort, and ultimately wastes money. Therefore, there’s a real need to standardize the naming of data sources. Industry understands the importance and value of this and has begun the process of standardization, not just for easing the recognition of data variables, but also for enabling automated layering of applications that can recognize and configure themselves.

This is a big shift that's happening right now in industry. When you use known data variables and names, you can prebuild applications that can make use of these. For example, if you know you’re going to have a variable called “Machine Speed”, you can then build a gauge in your ICONICS software that looks for any variable called “Speed”, and the software automatically instantiates 10 gauges for 10 machines. This capability is a huge benefit because this means that operators can use the same naming structure for all the devices coming from the many manufacturers. This standardized naming across a multitude of devices also provides an easy way for operators to carry out preventive maintenance and diagnostics, allowing them to swap out one vendor with another and not have to change the upper-level applications.

Look, we understand there are plenty of companies that do not have the money, expertise, or time to implement smart machines because in many instances there is too much work involved using today's technology. But  standardizing data names gives us the ability to deploy applications that can automatically recognize the data. As a result, we can make the industry plug and play, so it would be much easier and less expensive to layer analytics on top and innovate from there. That's what we're striving for, and that’s the direction we want to go in. Additionally, these concepts and goals will drive any digital transformation journey.

As is always the case though, it is important and helpful to hear experts level up on the available technology that can help you address your digital transformation challenges. Tom Burke, ICONICS Global Director of Industry Partnerships; Ad Luijks, Takebishi Business Development Manager; and Roy Kok, Sr. Partner and Alliance Manager CC-LINK Partner Association – (CLPA) – Americas, did just that on January 20, 2022, in their webcast “Digital Transformation: Connecting to Everything Through Takebishi Device Drivers”.

These experts covered connectivity, interoperability, the importance of collaboration, and how the e-F@ctory Alliance provides the foundation for a complete solution for customers. They also talked about edge to cloud and how the Takebishi DeviceXPlorer provides data that allows companies to interconnect these edge devices, and how other ICONICS products like the AnalytiX suite of solutions allow companies to turn data into useful information that can be communicated to both on-premises and off-premises clouds.

Industrial Connectivity Doesn’t Have to be a Headache

Cost effective and easy to apply technology exists that will let you address your broad-based connectivity challenges, technology like the Takebishi DeviceXPlorer OPC Server software. Besides supporting a lot of other communication protocols, another great plus is that Takebishi is an excellent high-quality product. Ultimately, it will be a game-changer that will make your life and your work much easier and more efficient. Hey, industrial connectivity doesn’t have to be a headache and with new technology like the Takebishi DeviceXPlorer OPC Server software, you can then get on with managing the bigger more important operational issues.

To learn more about the connectivity conversation, you can watch the “Digital Transformation: Connecting to Everything Through Takebishi Device Drivers” webcast on demand here, and be sure to check out our other upcoming on-demand webcasts at: