The typical user interface device—the control—is no longer a sufficient means of accessing machine or system data. Mobile devices, such as smart phones and tablets, offer the promise of un-tethered data, if you can access it. Software and tools for “mobilizing” machine data exist, “but they often involve high licensing or learning costs,” noted Benson Hougland, vice president, Opto 22.
To help engineers and users mobilize data trapped in legacy systems, Opto 22 offers groov, and is now releasing version 2.0. Like the original release, this version is a zero-programming, web-based way to build, deploy, and view effective, scalable operator interfaces to monitor and control systems and equipment using mobile devices and other computer-based systems.
The key development with version 2.0 is that you can now use it to mobilize data without going through the SNAP family of products. Previously, SNAP PAC was the way groov communicated to other devices, such as PLCs, PACs, and so on. Version 2.0 is expanded to be compatible with systems from Rockwell Automation, Siemens, Schneider Electric, GE, Mitsubishi, and others.
“We keep an eye on developments in the commercial side of technology,” continued, Hougland, “and groov was somewhat inspired by Google Apps, where you do just about anything through a web browser. Groov will also be a platform for us that we will be building on for years to come.”
It operates on smart phones, tablets, and other mobile devices, and lets industrial automation end-users, system integrators, machine OEMs, technicians, or any authorized person quickly and securely monitor and control PLCs and PACs like Allen-Bradley ControlLogix and CompactLogix, Siemens SIMATIC S7, Schneider Electric Modicon, GE PACSystems, and other controllers, all from a mobile device. This interface system gets important data out of process control, OEM machines, and manufacturing systems and into operators’ hands.
groov uses a standard method of securely communicating with devices on the plant floor, including PLCs, DCSs, PACs, databases, and OPC-DA servers called OPC Unified Architecture (OPC UA).
groov can augment existing human-machine interfaces (HMIs) and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems by making important information available at any time and in any location. It is available as either the standalone groov Box hardware appliance or the PC-based groov Server for Windows software.
An OPC-UA server may already be part of an existing automation system, but if an OPC-UA server is needed, Opto 22 recommends Kepware Technologies’ KEPServerEX communications platform. Kepware has developed hundreds of device drivers for communicating with diverse automation systems, databases, building automation systems, and more.
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