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By Elian Zimmermann
31 March 2023

Ignition SQL Bridge Module – The Swiss Army Knife for integrating PLCs

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#DLF. LET’S MAKE INDUSTRIAL DATA GREAT AGAIN!

In our first DLF Live, we discuss how the Ignition SQL Bridge Module enables you to get a highly efficient SQL-based tag historian and transaction manager.

Guest speaker Damian de Arruda from Afrilek shares his insight into this powerful Ignition module, as we take a deeper look at a recent case study involving UCL Sawmill.

We also cover the much anticipated Flow release, 6.0.9. What started out as a minor enhancement turned into the addition of a powerful feature.

Lastly, we share the latest updates and important information on Ignition, Canary, Flow, Sepasoft and Element8.

 

Timestamps:

0:00  Welcome

01:27 Panel members and guest speakers

05:01 Element8 and community news

18:08 What’s New: Ignition

41:48 What’s New: Flow

40:11 UCL Case Study

1:24:14 Give-away

Resources

Transcript


00:08
Jaco
Good morning and welcome to the data Liberation Front. The DLF. I just realized I probably have to give the full name. I’m not sure everybody knows what DLF is. Welcome to the DLF Quarterly update. My name is Jaco. I’m with element eight. If you’re not familiar with the DLF, you will probably be mistaken if you thought that it as a political party, it’s a movement of like minded people striving for a data driven and flourishing future for all manufacturers and utilities in our industry. So we started the DLf s element eight about a year ago. And we have quarterly updates where we involve the community and share some success stories as well as product updates and what’s new. So this is our quarterly update. The first one for 2023.

00:59
Jaco
I think the last get together we had was actually the breakfast we had in Johannesburg. That was the last DLF breakfast that we had. But yeah. Welcome to the webinar. I hope you can hear me. Okay. We will do q and a at the end. If you have any questions, please chat literally in the chat if you have any questions while we’re speaking and going through the presentation. But thank you very much for joining us. We look forward to the next hour. So on this side I have with me today, very excited to have Damien Deruda from afrile automation. Damien, you are the business unit manager for smart manufacturing. Yes. Thank you for joining us.

01:38
Damien
Thank you so much. It’s a pleasure to be here.

01:40
Jaco
And you’re going to talk us through a recent story, case study that you completed for UCL. Absolutely.

01:46
Damien
I’m very excited to share with our community our success story.

01:51
Jaco
Fantastic. It’s going to be a good one. Then I also have with me in person on this side, I’ve got Gary Lowenstein. And Gary, hi.

01:59
Gary
Morning, Jaco.

02:00
Jaco
Gary is our customer success lead development date. Joined us in January. Okay. Been an exciting three months. Does it feel like three months? No, we’ve been busy. I’ve been drinking from a fire hydrant for the last three. Yeah, it’s been a cracker start to the year, which is really good news. It feels like there’s a lot of things happening, a lot of projects, a lot happening in the industry. So that’s really good. And then also online with us today, I have, first of all, Laura. Laura is part of our customer success team. Hi, Laura, how are you doing?

02:37
Laura
Good morning, everyone. I’m good. And yourself?

02:40
Jaco
Very well, thank you. Joining us from Cape Town. How’s the weather in Cape Town today, Laura?

02:46
Laura
Stunning, like always.

02:49
Jaco
Okay. It had to be good news. You couldn’t say that it was cold and raining.

02:53
Laura
No. Sorry.

02:54
Jaco
Cool. Thanks for joining us, Laura. And we also have online, all the way from Howe, we have Vaughan Rampasad. Vaughan is the product manager at Flow Software. Good morning, Vaughan.

03:05
Vaughan
Hey, good morning, guys. Thanks that I could join you. I would show my face, but I see it says the host has stopped my video, which is perfectly fine. Maybe that’s a good thing for everyone.

03:17
Jaco
Okay.

03:17
Vaughan
All right.

03:19
Jaco
Yeah. Maybe somebody made a call and decided, all right, this is probably not view friendly. Okay. But thank you for joining us. Bourne, all the way virtually from Howek. Looking forward to your flow update. So just a recap of the agenda for today. We typically kick off with a little bit of community news, things that you may have missed over the past three months since our last conversation that we had. We’ll go into some product updates, some exciting new shares from ignition, and Vaughan will share some flow updates. We’re going to talk through the success story, which we’ve just alluded to with Damien, which is UCL Somal, and get through a bit of detail there. It’s a really nice application that Afridaq developed for him there. So that’ll be a nice share. And then we’ve got the giveaway.

04:14
Jaco
We did promise that we will have a lucky draw. We’re going to pivot more towards a answer the correct question, first person to answer the correct question. But we do have a giveaway today, which is, of course, as per usual, a very nice branded set of apparel, backpack and shirts, and all sorts of things like that. We’ll do that at the end. And then again, if you do have any questions, don’t keep them until the end. Please put it in the chat. We are monitoring the chat. So if you do have any questions at any time, feel free to ask, and we’ll make sure at the end that we have covered all those questions that we have received. So that’s our time with you today.

04:53
Gary
All good. All right.

04:55
Jaco
So let’s maybe start off with some news that you may have missed over the last few months. We have some new partner certifications. Very excited to see four new ignition certified partners since December. We have Dualtron, Peter and his team, G 69, all the way out of Namibia, Valitech. We have Caltron electrical engineering down in the Western Cape. And we have PCMP, crystal portfitter and his team, not too far from us, out on the west rand. So it’s a nice spread of geographically diverse partners. It’s nice to see Namibia come online with some certifications as well. The flow certifications have really been coming in at a steady pace the last 30 days or so. So flow introduced a new certification program which is online on the back of their flow masterclass. And we have certifications over the last few months. We have advances. Afrinek.

05:54
Jaco
Damien, was that you? Was it fantastic? Well done. CSI driest and the team, Dhana engineering, that’s Kunran, Rudy, and of course the next integration robin, his team down in the Western Cape. So it’s a good number of certifications over the last few months. Don’t know if everybody’s had a lot of time, but it’s really good to see. And just a reminder, if you need any help with, if you’re a partner, system integrator partner and you need any advice, guidance, how to get started with any of the certification, how to sign up and become a partner, please feel free to reach out to Clarice, who’s our channel partner lead again. Whatever we talk about this morning show highlight, we will be sure to share the links of all of those assets and contact people when we share the recording.

06:46
Gary
Right.

06:47
Jaco
As far as learning and enablement is concerned, Vaughan, you guys have worked really hard to deliver the flow masterclass that came online fairly recently.

07:00
Gary
That’s right, Jacob.

07:01
Vaughan
And I’d like to say it’s just phase one of the master class. It’s an ever growing course. You should see new lessons drop within the next week as well. And we’re quite excited by the number of enrollments and people that are following through on the video lessons for sure.

07:19
Jaco
I did complete one of the modules. I think it was, it is really intuitive. It’s a series of videos with some self testing. Really good work there to just help ensure online enablement. So the flow masterclass, and that’s obviously the prequel or the departure point for flow certification as well, which Sion and the team looks after. So check that out. If you haven’t seen it on the ignition side, you may or may not be familiar with inductive university. It is also free to join online. Very intuitive video self testing quizzes. As far as the certification goes for inductive Gary, there’s been some updates on the admission side. Yeah, we can now do in course certification. So if you join us for a five day training course, you can at the end of the course, complete some lab work and some questions.

08:16
Jaco
And if you successfully pass those, you can get in course certification or ignition. Okay, fantastic. And are there any prerequisites to join the training yeah. In order to join the core training, you need to have completed the inductive university videos and questions, and obviously to become gold certified, you need to have attended core training, past core training, and then attend the perspective training and the advanced scripting training. Cool. So that’s quite nice. It’s just an alternate way to become certified. All right, fantastic.

08:55
Gary
Cool.

08:55
Jaco
Now, I know, Laura, we’ve had two fairly full training sessions this year so far. I know you were fortunate or happy to certify quite a few people already over the two courses, correct?

09:11
Laura
Yes.

09:13
Jaco
So, yes, that is a nice alternative to become ignition certified. So again, just to recap, you can either do it through inductive university and the online certification, or you can complete inductive university and join us in training. So it’s not a given if you join us on the Monday and you leave on the Friday that you will be certified. There is lab work involved just to maintain the integrity of the certification, which is quite important. Damien, I know you’ve been through most of those, if not all of those, and it’s stuff that’s a challenge.

09:47
Damien
Yes, for sure.

09:49
Jaco
Okay, cool. Maybe just some couple of helpful resources. We always try and share the bits that we found very helpful and people have told us that are helpful. So what we’re reading at the moment, we have four resources over here. The first one is a flow white paper addressing three blind spots to improve data analysis. That was a fairly recent resource that Jeff and Vaughan and the team have put out. Very, very good white paper, very insightful. The other one is, you may be familiar with the unified namespace. You may have heard of the unified namespace. Flow recently introduced a guide or recently created a guide introducing the unified analytics framework. So is it another three letter acronym? Yes, it is. That’s the bad news.

10:39
Jaco
The good news is that it makes absolutely 100% sense in the world of analytics and the analytics continuum and how you pull all of that together. So that is a really nice guide that is also available. Both of them are on the Flow website. Again, we’ll share the links on the ignition side, a very helpful guide, also around 21 CFR part eleven, which, if you are not that familiar, is part of the pharmaceutical industry, not just part of the pharmaceutical industry. It’s quite integral to the compliance within the pharmaceutical industry as it relates to the FDA approvals and how you achieve that with ignition. So that’s quite a helpful guide to take you through that process. And then the final one on the screen here is canary. There is a new system pricing guide.

11:34
Jaco
So very exciting with the new introduction of the canary packages or bundles that they have available. All of those systems now include unlimited clients. It’s great news for everybody. Absolutely. Yeah. And I think that’s where the power of what you’ve created and sharing that data with other people becomes relevant is who you can share it with. So they’ve removed that limitation. So as from the beginning of this year, no canary system comes with any limits on axiom clients or the Excel add in, which is quite cool. All right, what we’re watching at the moment, this is not an upcoming webinar. This was a couple of weeks ago, I think about two or three weeks ago. Sepisoft who is of course, the MES built on ignition, released their new batch solution last year.

12:28
Jaco
And this webinar takes you through that solution as well as how it has been deployed for, I think it was stone brewing, if I’m not mistaken. Really good webinar. You’ll see over here that it’s just under an hour, but really talks through batch manufacturing, the changes in batch manufacturing. It talks about how to create those solutions and then of course it loads, or at least explain a little bit of detail how to achieve that with ignition and the supersoft batch module. Really helpful, practical webinar. We didn’t find it too salesy at all. So that one was quite good. The other one that we have on here is the new IEC 61 850 driver that was released. Gary, maybe by inductive automation you can give us an update on that. Yeah. 61 850 is the standard for substation automation.

13:22
Jaco
So if you are involved in substation automation, you will require the IEC 61 850 driver. It’s now part and parcel of the ignition stack. And this is going to be a webinar, how to get it running. There’s quite a lot of information out there already on how to configure the IC 61 850 driver for ignition. And this is just going to be some more practical, hands on examples of how get it running. Damien, maybe you can give us a demo once we’re done with you.

13:55
Damien
For sure. I haven’t had an opportunity to use it yet, but brand new.

14:00
Jaco
But it’s been requested and it’s been hot on the development priority list. So that obviously adds to the available drivers. The OPC variants, the Siemens, the Bradley, the Omron Modbus. There’s maybe one or two that I’m missing. So yeah, that’s quite an exciting new addition to the list of core drivers for ignition. The other webinar that we’re looking forward to is Jeff Nepper from flow is going to chat with Kevin Jones from Ectobox. Ectobox is a system integrator in North America. We’re looking forward to this one because they’re going to really be positioning the unified analytics framework and how you fill the gaps for full plan data analysis. So that is coming up on the 5 April. Sorry, just by the way, the IEC driver webinar is next week, Thursday, that’s next week as early as next week.

14:56
Jaco
And the one with Jeff and Kevin is on the 5 April. Another webinar that we definitely have on our calendars that we’re looking forward to is the long awaited and anticipated Spark plug 30 mqtt Spark Plug 30 announcement version share what’s new what’s been included? A lot of work has been done, not only by Sirius Link, by the entire community really, that curates and looks after the MQTT protocol to release Spark Plug 30. So that’s going to be a really good update from Arlen, I would imagine, presenting that at Sirius link.

15:33
Gary
Cool.

15:34
Jaco
So that’s a couple of good webinars to look out for over the next little while. Again, we’ll share links to all of these. The batch one is available right now on the inductive automation website. Just a quick note before we get cracking with some updates. We don’t have any birthday cake here. Candles. Feel disappointed that we don’t. A quick note to just mention the 20 years of existence of inductive automation, which is quite a milestone for them. It still feels like a fairly young company. They behave like they’re cultural. They do, yeah, they do. They behave like people who’ve just got out of the excellence like we do. Right, the youngsters? Yeah, of course. So there is quite a nice little video available, just a collection of thoughts and shares by the entire inductive automation community. Not the entire community.

16:30
Jaco
They’ve highlighted a couple of videos from the community, so that’s quite a nice little video. If you want to go check that out, scan the barcode. We’ll also share the link, but it does speak to the pioneering warrior spirit of inductive automation and how they’ve maintained that for 20 years while being independent. So that’s quite a nice message to celebrate their 20 years of existence. So if you have a moment, go check out that video. I think it’s about two minutes long. Yeah, two minutes long.

17:00
Gary
All right.

17:01
Jaco
Shall we get to the good stuff, the product updates? Are we going to start it off with ignition, Laura? I think if you can maybe take us through what you’re going to share on your site. You should be able to.

17:19
Laura
Okay, just give me 1 second. Let’s see if I can do a slideshow.

17:30
Jaco
Laura, I’m going to answer the question in the meantime, if that’s okay.

17:33
Laura
Oh, yes, I’m just trying to.

17:36
Jaco
So we have a question from Durban, Oxley Durban. Thank you for joining us. And thank you for the question. So Durwin’s question is, will existing clients be able to benefit from unlimited clients within canary? So in other words, you have an existing canary system, potentially with x number of clients. Can you benefit from the unlimited Durban? Yes, there is a migration path, and naturally there would be a little bit of cost involved depending on what you currently have. But there is a migration path to get to the unlimited clients? Yes. You don’t have to buy a completely brand new system to get that. All right, Laura, thank you very much.

18:18
Laura
Cool, great. Can everyone see my screen?

18:21
Jaco
Yes.

18:22
Laura
I feel like that’s like the most standard question you have to ask nowadays with everything being virtual. Can everyone see the screen?

18:29
Gary
Great.

18:29
Jaco
Feels like you’re getting better with it. Your microphone’s not on.

18:39
Laura
Do you guys want to see my face today or is it also, am I also in the same boat as Vaughan?

18:44
Jaco
I’m not sure. I certainly didn’t disable not being able.

18:48
Laura
To see you guys. Yeah, unfortunately not. It says that we can’t, but it’s fine. You can just listen to my voice. Great. So guys, we’re going to start off the ignition updates. Just running over a few of the prominent features that have been released in 8.1.21 up till 8.1.24. Those are a few of the releases that we haven’t really covered, and that is kind of built up until today’s live demonstration. So just quickly covering 8.1.21. So what stood out to me was the diagnostics bundle, right? So that was cool. The whole idea was to improve the gateway overview page, and they added a nice little button that allows you to download that diagnostics bundle. So what this is technically, it gives you the ability to quickly collect all of your important information. Right.

19:41
Laura
This is very handy when you want to troubleshoot your ignition system. It’s pretty much downloaded as a zip file, and it contains everything from the gateway information to metrics, system logs, thread dumps, and any other important information. And it’s cool because when you log a support ticket, if it’s either to element eight or two inductive themselves, this is a very handy tool. It takes you like 1 second to click the button and it spares a lot of back and forth between the support and the customer or the client to get some information that’s needed. So I really like that little feature that they added.

20:21
Jaco
This helpful. Absolutely.

20:24
Damien
The ability to quickly put everything together. It’s big time safe.

20:28
Laura
Cool than having to go and rummage through the files.

20:33
Vaughan
Absolutely.

20:33
Laura
Find all of this. Yeah. Then 8.1.22 was the configuration Explorer. So. Oh that was awesome. It’s pretty much this brand new feature that they added that locates active bindings on any perspective view. Right. So that update addressed frustrations that could arise when a user was presented, let’s say for example with a project that they didn’t personally design. So without any outside context. Right. So before this feature the user would had to be required to dig through each component, dig through the views, they kind of had to understand the relationship between the items in the system and so on. But now you can simply right click and you choose configuration Explorer to display the location type and the state of all the enabled bindings, which is very cool.

21:23
Laura
So when I say right click that can be on components, items, anything that has bindings on it. And what’s nice is the embedded views and the root containers in perspective. They’re also presented in this overview, right. So the window that allows you to highlight specific bindings and click the go to reference button allows you to review the bindings configuration. So also very handy tool then 8.1.23 there was a lot of IDP updates. So IDP guys, that’s on identity providers. There was quite a few. It’s pretty much just as I think a few of you guys know. Ignition does use identity providers and also allows connection to outside identity providers. So it provides a secure way to log into admission using SSL and two factor authentication.

22:20
Laura
Now this feature is a highly requested update from the customers actually, right, to update internal identity providers which will allow the users to reset an expired password through an internal IDP directly from the login screen. So I find that very helpful. Right, so in previous versions you had to contact the person that has control over the gateway, they had to log in, they had to go to the users, they had to change the password and reset it. Now if someone forgets their password they can just reset it on the login screen themselves and it will update in the gateway automatically. Very cool. And for those who refer to a third party, IDP 8.1.23 and obviously upwards, it adds a copy to clipboard button next to the redirect URI or ACS URI in your identity provider settings page.

23:19
Laura
So that’s just the quality of life update and it provides an easier way to copy a URL during an external IDP configuration. So yeah, in other words, no more highlighting struggles for those of you who knows that I’m talking about. So that’s pretty cool. And then lastly 8.1.24, a solution to a pain point that has frustrated many an integrator. So before 8.1.24, when a session temporarily lost communication to the gateway, all of the IDP authenticated designers and vision client instances would had to be resetted or restarted. I think that’s a better word, so that the users could log back in. So from 8.1.24 upwards it fixes the problem with authentication tokens. So now if you log into the IDP, it generates a special authentication token with a session on the gateway saved in the designer or in the vision client instance memory.

24:22
Laura
And after successful authentication it’s then used. It’s pretty cool. So in the case of an interrupted connection that’s where it comes in handy. The instances like your vision client or your design or whatever you have open it can pass that valid authentication token to the gateway and it can securely reconnect. So that was pretty cool.

24:46
Jaco
Obviously what we highlighting here across the releases. So ignition has a fairly consistent and reliable release schedule of new versions. So what we’ve highlighted here are a couple of new things. To your point, it’s certainly not all the new updates there are per release. There’s a fairly detailed view of what has been included, added, improved correct.

25:09
Laura
So I’m going to move on to the highly anticipated 8.1.25. For those of you who haven’t dug through the release notes yet, this is the newest one that has been released. On the 14 February they wrote a whole love letter to all of the distributors and the partners telling us why it’s so lovely to be able to use ignition. So I’m also just going to highlight a few of the important stuff that I thought was pretty cool.

25:42
Jaco
Is the current and latest correct.

25:45
Laura
There is 8126 very close on the releasing of it, but that is a maintenance release. So that’s why I’m focusing a lot more on 25 today. Right. Okay cool. So as you guys already know, the biggest thing that came with the 8.1.25 release is the driver. Right? Our very highly anticipated ISC 61 850 mms driver. So it leverages the triangle microworks six 1850 library that supports IEC enabled devices using that MMS protocol. So this driver supports SCD files and it’s designed for Windows and Linux 64 os only. So this is kind of important. A lot of people just misread this completely at this time. There’s no Mac OS or arm support for this driver. Okay, now quality and timestamp attributes are applied to related value attributes through an SCD file and it’s required to take full advantage of this feature.

26:56
Laura
So that’s also something very important to keep in mind. And next up we have the gateway network page. So this is a live diagram tab that has been included and it’s there to show us just how connected your system really is. So the tab houses a real time diagram and it visually represents your gateway network from that local gateways point of view, including all of the connections and corresponding directionality. So that means it shows you where’s an outgoing connection and where’s an incoming connection between.

27:31
Damien
That’s a great.

27:34
Jaco
So much of what we do depends on the visual view and the visual availability. And I love this new live gateway network diagram just to see the scale.

27:48
Laura
I just want to tell you how cool it is because now if someone in the company asks, listen, I want a quick overview of the whole ignition network, I’m going to demo it. There’s literally a button where you can. Are you going to show us that diagram? Yeah, and then you can just.

28:04
Jaco
Cool. Okay, sorry. Fantastic. Cool.

28:07
Laura
Yeah, it’s very nice. Okay, so we have another community request, actually. 8.1.25 implements a context menu function compatible with any prospective component. So the drop down menu, it’s activated by right clicking and it consists of a configurable array of context options. And that can be anything from links to messages to different methods, separators and even submenus. This is a very simple addition, but it greatly expands the functionality of every single perspective component. Right. And it adds the ability to easily nest links and communication. So what I find very helpful when I would use this is I don’t have to go and create menus constantly everywhere and dock them on screens and so on. So this is a nice little feature to add small menus when you right click on certain components.

29:05
Jaco
Absolutely. Whether it’s a navigation or a couple of standard links that you typically have on every screen as a place, as a template or holder, just embedding that in the right click menu. That’s very cool, that’s nice.

29:20
Damien
This is a feature that I’ve personally been keeping about, so we have you to think.

29:29
Jaco
I thought you wouldn’t stop sending them emails.

29:34
Damien
This I can see as adding a lot of value in terms of accessibility, what we can do with components, typically things would be done on like a left click or a double click or something like that. But now having the right click menu where we can additional things there, that is going to be excellent. I’m excited to see how we can use it and make things much better.

29:59
Jaco
Cool.

30:01
Laura
And then lastly 8.1.25 not only just correctly applies one short button styles, but it also adds a new disabled style property that applies separate styles to the button when disabled. So I just find this cool because it’s useful for visually communicating to operators that they can’t just press a one shot button without having to remove it from the view entirely. So that’s just something small. So what I’m going to do is I’m just quickly going to show you guys where to find two of the new features in the gateway and how the context menu looks like. And then I’m going to come back to the slides. So let me know if you guys can see my gateway.

30:49
Gary
Yes.

30:51
Laura
Awesome. So you’ll see I’ve got 8.1.25 running. I do have to say if there’s something that’s going to be a bit slow. I had one of those mornings where windows had to update and restart. It’s one of those mornings, but anyway, standard morning. Correct. Okay, so I want to show you guys where to find the IEC six 1850 driver. So you would have to go down to config because you’re basically setting up a new device connection. So under the Opcua device connections, if you create a new device, then here’s a list of all of your drivers that comes included with installing ignition.

31:36
Gary
So if you just scroll down you’ll.

31:39
Laura
Be able to find is six one eight client driver. Right. Which is very cool because I just want to show you what you need, what type of information you need to be able to use this drivers. You’ll just need the hostname of the actual device, the port, and that’s literally it. There’s also a lot of advanced properties so you can enable authentication. Here’s where you add the information for your SCD file settings and then there’s also space to configure your advanced client OSI parameters as well as your advanced server OSI parameters. So it includes everything that you need to configure that type of device. So everything is included in ignition and very user friendly. I mean it doesn’t hide anything, it tells you exactly what you need.

32:36
Gary
Right.

32:36
Laura
So back to the status page. You’ll see under the gateway network, the tab that I mentioned that they added. So they always have the network tab that shows you all of the gateways and the incoming and outgoing connections that you have. At the moment, I do have an outgoing connection to another gateway that I have on my local machine. But again, everything we started this morning, it’s just not connecting. But what’s cool is going over to the live diagram you can see, listen, this thing has faulted, right? So it is a live diagram. It tells you exactly what’s going on. If it established the connection, it would show you that it’s online and so on. So what I find cool is. So this is in the gateway itself. See, I unfortunately just scrolled a bit up and down. So this is quite finicky.

33:28
Laura
But there’s a button to reset, zoom and center. So just to mention inductive automation to tell us that they do have. This is going to be an ongoing feature improvement. So they’re going to work on this and add to this and better this. So it’s going to become very cool. So they also have this button that says open in a new tab. So if I click on that, it opens it in a completely different type of view, which is nice. So this is also to kind of get it away from all of the configuration options that you have. But what I wanted to show you is this little icon here that says take screen capture. So if you click on that, it kind of like saves a pNG file, which is very cool.

34:16
Laura
If I click on opening the file, of course it’s going to open it in snipping tool, but there we go. So this is an actual pNg file that you can then go ahead and share with anyone. Guys, this is very awesome because you don’t have to open draw I, o or any type of application or a paint or anything to go and draw out a whole ignition network that you have set up. Any questions on that?

34:46
Jaco
Not from our side, not from your side.

34:49
Laura
If anyone does have questions, they can just add it there. All right. And then I wanted to show you the context menu that they added. So for demo purposes, I just have a nice little button over here in perspective. And if you have the button selected, you would normally think all of the configuration would be under the props section, but for this one it’s under the meta section. So right at the bottom there’s a little option called context menu, and you can enable it or not. But if you do enable it and you want to start building out this context menu, this right click menu. You can then go ahead and add any amount of items. So I added two items, but to show you I have one called inductive automation, I gave it a nice little icon.

35:38
Laura
I changed the color of the icon. You can even add a style to the text. But here is where it becomes interesting. You can choose the different type of context that this little menu gives. So for this example, I just chose a link. So the whole idea is if I right click on this button and I click on the link, it should take me to that website. So I do have it open. Just close this guy. All right, loading. So here’s the button. And if you right click on it, this is that contextual menu. So if I click normally, nothing’s happening. This is a right click menu. So if I click on inductive automation, oh, it’s going to tell me it can’t find it. Guys, I think this is because of my network. I do not have network on this virtual machine.

36:26
Jaco
That’s amazing. The link, not so much.

36:27
Laura
Thank you, Laura.

36:30
Jaco
Thank you. I love the fact that you can customize it to that level of detail, right?

36:35
Laura
Yes. I mean, even if you click on the element h one, it’s going to take you to the website. I promise you it works. But currently I built everything yesterday. It’s one of those, I built everything. It worked perfectly. And this morning it’s like, no, I’m sorry, it’s not working.

36:53
Jaco
We get it. All of that.

36:54
Laura
Okay.

36:55
Jaco
Very cool features.

36:57
Gary
Yeah.

36:57
Laura
So that’s not just on a button, guys. That’s on any type of perspective component, which is cool. All right, so just lastly, what I want to cover is the upcoming Ignition cloud edition. Right? So inductive automation announced many exciting developments, including the new version of ignition called Ignition Cloud Edition. Right. It’s scheduled to launch, they did say, at the start later this year, but I did have a chat with them and they said the whole idea was to get it properly implemented and so on. So they haven’t released an official release date yet. But this is all because of the rising interest in cloud based technologies. Right? So ignition is taking that decisive step to enable hybridization of cloud based and on premise control systems. However, many organizations are already using ignition in the cloud. I know a few of our partners are.

37:57
Laura
So why is this special cloud edition necessary?

38:01
Gary
Now?

38:02
Laura
The goal of ignition cloud is to enable the hybrid architecture that connects one or more on premise gateways and numerous edge gateways that then sends that information to a cloud edition gateway for enterprise wide data aggregation and monitoring that’s like a lot. That’s a lot of words.

38:25
Jaco
If I understand that sentence correctly. We’re not saying it’s positioned to connect plcs to a cloud instance, but rather where you have edge or full gateways at various sites or locations to roll that up into one enterprise view within the cloud. Which makes sense, correct.

38:46
Laura
It’s going to fully round out the Ignition edition offerings, joining the standard ignition on premise control and ignition edge for embedded field devices.

38:57
Gary
Cool.

38:57
Jaco
That’s exciting.

38:58
Laura
Yes, very exciting. So I don’t know. I do have a few options where I can chat about how this product will differ from the standard version of ignition. It’s going to differ in three key ways. So distribution, purchasing and features real quickly, the distribution so the cloud edition won’t be a service provided directly through inductive automation, just like any other cloud based application. It’s going to be made available through the preferred cloud infrastructure marketplace. Right? So this cloud edition will initially be available through Amazon AWS Marketplace, and a little bit later on it’s going to be followed by the Microsoft Azure marketplace. Right. As a pre built image or container purchasing wise. So since Ignition Cloud Edition will be purchased through the cloud infrastructure marketplace, there’s no need to buy an upfront license.

39:51
Laura
As with the standard ignition, it allows for elastic deployments, which is cool. There’s a lot of scalable payment options, like even a pay as you go option, as well as the ability to adapt the compute size and number of instances as needed. And lastly, the features. This edition won’t be ideal, very important. It will not be ideal for direct data acquisition from console plcs.

40:19
Jaco
I’m sure people will, yeah, some people will attempt and probably do it successfully, but in terms of continuity and reliability within your operations, it’s probably not recommended.

40:32
Laura
Great. So for this reason, it won’t have ignition’s original device drivers built in. Instead, this edition will have a collection of cloud connector modules for cloud native technologies like document databases, message queues, key value stores, anything like MongoDB, Kafka, Redis, all those fancy things. So this will be a cloud based technology, meaning it’s going to be accessible on any device with any Internet connection, enabling a range of improvements in reliability, speed, accessibility, scalability, and costs. All the nice words that we’d like to hear.

41:13
Jaco
Cool. Thanks, Laura.

41:15
Laura
Cool.

41:18
Jaco
All right, so if there’s any questions on the ignition update, I think there was a lot of information we did miss. Three months worth of ignition updates, which is quite a lot in the world of inductive automation. Laura, thank you for that sure.

41:31
Laura
Did I even share that last slide?

41:34
Jaco
Yes, absolutely.

41:35
Laura
Okay, great. He’s still seeing my desktop. I got confused for a second. There we go.

41:41
Jaco
Thanks. All right, Vaughan, if you could maybe take us through what is new in the world of flow software. I know you guys have been working very hard on 60 nine and various other releases.

41:54
Vaughan
Yeah, thanks, Jaco. So just very briefly, we have a look at this slide. You’ve probably seen Lenny show the slide before and heard him explain the difference between point normalization, period normalization, and event context.

42:11
Gary
If you haven’t heard him explain it.

42:12
Vaughan
Before, please do yourself a favor. Watch the on demand DLF webinar. I think it’s titled a better understanding of the analytics continuum. The point is, we’ve built on from that because when we introduced tags back in version six of flow with their real time data, we knew that this would unlock significant analytic potential. And so we always knew that we’d have to be able to transform data between the various contexts. So between real time data points, time periods, and event periods, and allow one to manipulate data in all these contexts. Now, we may wonder, why do we need to do that? Let’s use an example. So, currently, I can look at tag data as it’s coming in real time, and based on a set of conditions, I can determine whether to create an event.

43:02
Vaughan
A good example of this is if we have an equipment with a state tag. If it’s non zero, I can say that my equipment is running, and if it’s zero, I can stop that running event. But now, what if the conditions are more complex for an event and rely not just on what’s happening now, but what’s happening now relative to something that happened before? And here I’d like to do a bit of a demo to show you what I mean by this. So we go back to our trusty juice factory. You can download this template. Yeah. Do you like the juice factory, Damon?

43:38
Jaco
Love it. Love the juice factory. We know it. We don’t want anything else. We’ve come to love it, and that’s what we use and look at.

43:49
Gary
Excellent.

43:50
Vaughan
But did you know the juice factory has mixes? We haven’t done anything with the mixes so far. Maybe because we couldn’t. Yeah, maybe because we couldn’t model the producing event that we wanted to. So if we have a look at our juice factory, syrup preparation mixes, we’ll see that the mixer has a state tag like most other things have. And our state tag goes from some zero state to a non zero state, and then back to zero state to tell us that it’s running. But this mixer also has a conductivity tag. And the conductivity, the process engineers tell me, can be used to determine when the mixer is actually producing. So the mixer stops running when the state is nonzero, but it’s not yet producing because I’m pushing water out of the line.

44:38
Vaughan
Product is coming in, and only when the conductivity increases beyond a certain point. In fact, the engineers tell me that the conductivity slope or the rate of change must be greater than 0.1 milliseconds per centimeter per second, and it’s only at that point that it’s producing. So how would we go about modeling that in flow if were purely looking at the real time data points as they’re coming through? Well, the answer is you wouldn’t have been able to do that very easily unless you start querying historical data on itself within flow. But now you can do it natively with the new tech transform functionality. So I’d like to show you how we’re going to do that. So we’re going to start by creating the standard run event. So we’re going to compare the run.

45:23
Jaco
Event to the producing event.

45:27
Vaughan
Nothing fancy here. I’m creating a tag for the state, and I’m creating a tag for the product because I’m probably going to use it in the attribute. And let’s create a running event. And like I said, this is not going to be anything new. We’re just going to look at the state. We’re going to start it when the state is greater than zero. We’re going to stop it when the state is equal to zero. And let’s create a product attribute. Maybe we’ll be able to do something with that a bit later. If you know the juice factory well, you’ll know that there is already an enumeration for product. So we’re going to use that enumeration there for the product, going to deploy it, we’re going to let it run. So it’ll take a few seconds to start running. Of course, that’s normal.

46:14
Vaughan
The engine is going to go batching. Remember what we’re trying to achieve. We’re trying to identify when is this mixer actually producing, and the set of conditions for that is a bit more complex. The first part is we have to know when is my conductivity, my current conductivity, greater than. It has to be greater than the conductivity at which it started running. Okay, I’m just following my requirements. So how do I do that? Well, I’m going to need the conductivity first. Let’s just grab the conductivity. And if we look at the conductivity we’ve seen is ready. This is just a tag that’s changing in value all the time. Right now, I want to know what was my conductivity at the point at which the equipment started running. Now, here’s where we use our first tag transform to create a tag transform.

47:05
Vaughan
We drag a tag onto a tag and we are going to say, what was my conductivity at the start of the run? Okay, not that one. At the start of the run. You see, I now have a few options. I’m looking at my connectivity. I want to know what was its value, so I want to latch its value. This is new at the start of the run event. And if I do that, you’ll see. Let’s look at that in a bit more. Let’s look at a bit more data.

47:40
Gary
Excellent.

47:41
Vaughan
Right, cool. You can see your run event triggering. Let’s just overlay the conductivity as well while we add it.

47:48
Jaco
You’ve got some excited engineers on this side, horn.

47:51
Vaughan
Yeah, I’m glad you are, because I’m super excited for this functionality. You’re going to be able to do a lot with data with this. So now we’ve latched the value. So that’s the first thing we know what the conductivity was at the start of the event. But let’s do a bit more. This gets even more fun. So remember that what the engineers told me. I need to be able to determine my slope or my rate of change of the conductivity. And when it exceeds 0.1 millisemens per centimeter per second, that’s when I know my mixer is now producing. So how do I do that? Well, in order to evaluate a slope, I need multiple data points.

48:31
Vaughan
Remember in the past you could do this with flow, you could do a rate of change, but the best resolution you were going to get is a minute.

48:37
Damien
So you’re going to have to look.

48:38
Vaughan
At data points a minute apart. But now I can look at successive data points if I want to, using a tag transform. So how do I do that? Well, the first thing I’m going to do is I’m going to get a range of data points because it might be like it is in the case of my conductivity in my simulator. It’s kind of a slow moving tag. You’re not going to have this in reality, but because I’m simulating, I know it’s a slow moving tag. So I’m going to fetch a range of data. And hey, I’m going to grab the last 3600 seconds worth of data. It’s overkill. I’m only going to use the very last two data points, but I’m going to fetch the last hours worth of data.

49:18
Vaughan
If you try and view this, you’re not going to see anything different because the last 3600 seconds worth of data overlaid over time is still going to look the same. Right. The power comes in when I then use this tag to determine my slope in a calculated tag. Now, this is what I enjoy doing, coding. So what I can do here is I now have access to a dot points property because I configure this as a range. This is going to bring in all my points for the last 3600 seconds. Now, that may be any number of points, it could be three points, it could be 7000 points, but it’ll bring them all in. And I want to work with the last two points only and I want to create the slope.

50:07
Vaughan
It’s probably best that I create a user defined function to do this. But now, how do I go about creating a user defined function? Well, we know we add a new user defined function. Yeah, no, but this is where I’m going to do a bit of coding. And like any good software engineer who needs to do a bit of c.

50:26
Gary
Sharp, we ask Chat GPT.

50:30
Vaughan
Right, so Chat GPT writes a c sharp function that inputs an array of point. Remember I said I’ve got the array of points. I know that point is a class that contains timestamp value and quality, and I want the function to calculate the slope, like we said, between successive points using only the last two elements.

51:06
Laura
You’re showing us some dangerous things here.

51:10
Vaughan
Look at this. Now, chat is not working for us. Look at that. Now I can’t do my job, guys. I’m sorry, that’s the end of the demo. How do software engineers work without chattel? Fortunately, I can do a little bit of coding, so it’s actually quite interesting to watch Chat GPT. You can tell that it’s wrong. I like doing that.

51:35
Gary
But what we’re going to do is.

51:37
Vaughan
We’Re going to create our function. In fact, Chat GPT did create this function for me. I’m not going to lie. I don’t waste time anymore writing code.

51:46
Jaco
Durin wants to know if you can ask Chat GPT if it’s aware that you’re doing this live.

51:52
Vaughan
It really is, Duran, which is why it doesn’t want to respond. Although what I’ve noticed about Chat GPT is that if the function gets too complex, it just hits you with a network error. I think I must try that with my boss. Sorry, network error. I can’t do this anymore. But interestingly, this function was generated by Chat GPT. The only thing it got wrong was, well, the parameter that it gave me was point. To be fair, I did tell it I’m passing it a point array, but we need to fully qualify it by giving it the reference flow data source utilities a point. So I just needed to add those into what Chat GPT returned. It even put in the exception handling. I was impressed. And I think it didn’t return it as static. And your functions need to return a static.

52:40
Vaughan
But if we look at this function, basically what it’s doing, it’s passing in the two arrays, like I said, and it’s looking at the very last two points and it’s calculating a slope.

52:50
Gary
Perfect.

52:51
Vaughan
Okay, so now how do I use a function? Very easily, I do that, drag it in there, and I say that I want, I know that I want points. Like I said in here, points work seems to work. What has it done? Okay, it’s giving me the slope.

53:20
Gary
Do you believe that?

53:21
Vaughan
It’s giving me the slope.

53:22
Gary
Have a look.

53:23
Vaughan
Scroll back in time and we can see as our slope starts increasing here. Here’s your slope. That’s positive. Here. As our slope starts decreasing, here’s our negative slope. Here’s your zero line on your slope. Okay, so now we’ve got everything we need to create our producing event trigger. So let’s start by using our slope. This is a calculated tag. You’ve seen this before. I think maybe Duran has a paid subscription for Chat GBT. Plus we might use that the next time because I’m sure he has. Yeah, sure. That makes life a lot easier. Okay, so we said there’s a few conditions. Firstly, we want our conductivity to be greater than the conductivity at the start of the run. So our live conductivity must be greater than our conductivity at the start of the run.

54:21
Vaughan
And we need our slope to be greater than or equal to 0.1 millisemens per second per centimeter per second. And if both of those are true, then we want our event to trigger our producing event. Okay, does this make sense? Let’s have a look at it. So we anticipate that when our equipment starts running, at some point after that our equipment starts producing. Because remember, we are passing water through, pushing the water out to the product. Is that what we see? Let’s go back to the beginning of the day. And yes, we do see that.

55:03
Jaco
I’m going to move that up, I’m.

55:06
Vaughan
Going to zoom in on that. And I’m going to just make this a little bit different. So we can see here’s our producing. It starts at some point after the running event. What you might also have noticed is that in some cases there was no producing trigger. That’s not flow’s fault. We got to go back to the process engineers and tell them, hey, by the way, at some point the conditions were not met in your run event. Great. So that’s a few use cases of tech transforms. I’ve got a few more, but Jacob, I don’t know if I’ve got time.

55:37
Jaco
To show you a few more. No born. I think we’re good. Thank you very much. That was really powerful stuff.

55:44
Damien
My mind is blown.

55:45
Jaco
Oh really?

55:45
Damien
I’ve been wanting something like this for a long time. And now that it’s here, I’m going to do dirty things with this.

55:52
Jaco
Oh wow. In this webinar.

56:00
Gary
Now that’s quite cool.

56:01
Vaughan
If I can just mention one other cool thing that I was going to demo, but there isn’t time is you can do something like, and I won’t do it, but I’ll just show you. In my juice factory I’ve got a boiler that has five temperature sensors that are measuring the same area. And the reason why I do that is because it’s a supercritical process and I need that temperature to be active. With tag transformations, I can do something like take all five temperature transmitters values over the last x seconds, let’s say five minutes, and look at the standard deviation of all five and discard the one that I don’t trust of the five sensors. And I can do that in real time, continuously.

56:45
Vaughan
Look, discard, I can not only discard, I can also then create a tag that tells me which is my dodgy transmitter, which I can report on, I can trigger, I can send messages to whoever that I don’t trust the sensor. So, yeah, all possible.

57:02
Gary
Very cool.

57:02
Jaco
Cool, Bourne. Thank you very much.

57:05
Gary
Good stuff.

57:05
Vaughan
The only thing that doesn’t work so well is chat.

57:07
Jaco
GPT surprisingly, isn’t it?

57:10
Vaughan
Yeah, okay.

57:12
Gary
Awesome.

57:12
Jaco
Bourne, thank you very much for the update. That’s quite a lot. I didn’t expect the update to include all of that. So great work by the, thank you.

57:24
Gary
Cool.

57:25
Jaco
Just before we continue on this side, we’ve got a question from Simon. Maybe I should cover that one. I see we’re nearly out of our schedule. Time Simon asked whether for canary, we have the ability to set up a demo and also run a demo period and for how long. So, yes, Simon, absolutely. You can contact us, you can contact any of our partners to understand how to set up a working version of canary. And yes, we could provide a 30 day test period license as well. We do understand the importance of that. Very often you want to see something working and you also want to see it with your own data. So, yes, we can absolutely do that, Simon, we can help you with that.

58:12
Jaco
All right, so on this side, we are going to continue, or finish off, rather, with our chat with Damien, the long awaited and eluded success story that we spoke about. I’m going to share this quickly. I don’t know if anybody online can see my slides yet. What am I sharing now? Sorry.

58:50
Gary
Right.

58:50
Jaco
Hopefully you can see it now.

58:53
Laura
Yes, we can see.

58:55
Jaco
Fantastic. So we’re lucky to have Damien in the office today. Damien is quite a busy guy. Difficult to pin Damien down, literally by the scruff of the neck and ask him to spend a couple of minutes with us. So, Damien, thank you for joining us. I think the intent of this, really, the next couple of minutes, was to talk through what you’ve built for UCL, for the swarmall. So it is a customer success story, a case study, is a project ever completed? It’s completed up to phase one, and it’s a work approach.

59:28
Damien
Until phase end.

59:28
Jaco
That’s correct. Until phase end, yeah. So we asked Damien to join us, maybe talk through and more importantly, show some things that were developed for UCL. Maybe as a departure point, we can chat about UCL, who they are. It is a sawmill based in the KZN Midlands. Very long proud history. They’ve been in existence since 1935. A lot of existing processes is a lot of it manual, a lot of it paper driven. So not unusual for a business that wasn’t born in the digital age. Absolutely.

01:00:05
Damien
This is definitely, I guess you would call it a brownfield, technically, but yeah, that’s essentially why we partnered with them and they came to us with a request to try and digitize and improve the existing process.

01:00:24
Jaco
Fantastic. So is it digitization process? Absolutely. Cool. So if we look at the problem statement, or at least this is what the good people at UCL supplied us with to simplify the challenge that they had is a simple report would take a massaging, collating, preparing period of about a month, which would give you that monthly view associated or during that, preparing massaging of data. There would be some other subsequent stuff that’s potentially added that would not then form part of that. And this made it hard to recognize issues patents with regards to their quality, specifically quality, and also from a financial point of view, in terms of potentially not burning as much as they could based on what was supplied.

01:01:13
Gary
Absolutely.

01:01:14
Damien
One of the things is that they pay their suppliers based on the quality of the logs that they receive and they typically class them based on their diameter as well as their length. And yeah, it became a problem with entirely paper driven process. Very prone to human error.

01:01:34
Jaco
Yeah, very prone to human error. It elongates the whole process, makes it so much longer because of the prepping work that you need to do. And I would imagine it was probably based on Excel. There was a lot of excel work being done?

01:01:45
Damien
That’s correct, yes.

01:01:46
Jaco
Okay. All right, so looking at the solution you put together for them, maybe. So it was a real time data view. So it’s essentially, if we understand correctly, it was building simplified, but building an mis, a manufacturing information system within the scalar.

01:02:06
Damien
Absolutely. That’s how the project certainly started out. It has obviously since grown and that.

01:02:13
Jaco
It was some scope creep. I mean, that’s unusual.

01:02:17
Damien
Not as much as you’d imagine. Luckily they were quite good in recognizing where their problems were. Once we provided them solutions, then they would recognize new problems and then we would have.

01:02:27
Jaco
That’s great.

01:02:28
Damien
An iterative approach to development which was actually very helpful to them and also to us.

01:02:35
Jaco
Cool. So we built that, again, a very simplified, but we built that mis view within their scada, which will give them this instant immediately available view of reports, whether it’s day, week, month, whatever the period may be instantly available to them, which is very different to the process they had before. And that’s over and above the time that they’re saving by not having to complete all of those paper based handwritten sheets which would then be ingested, so to speak, or entered into excel. So just in terms of the solution, what did you deploy from an ignition point of view?

01:03:17
Damien
So at the very beginning of the project, we started off with vision. This was basically just before, well, just after perspective it launched. Okay, so we started with vision at the start as well as the SQL bridge module, which was basically the catalyst to the entire project.

01:03:41
Gary
Yeah.

01:03:42
Damien
Since then we’ve subsequently added the historian. We’ve changed over from vision to perspective and so on and so forth.

01:03:51
Jaco
And maybe just the difference between, very briefly the difference between vision and perspective and your opinion on it.

01:03:58
Damien
So at first it was just a bit of a hesitancy towards web development. I guess everyone is pure web. Yes. There was sort of a preference towards a thick client that’s running on this pc. It’s what they were used to. So yes, putting vision down sort of made sense, but as their needs changed, for example, the need to put this on a cell phone, it therefore drove the need to switch over to perspective, which luckily, given ignition’s flexible licensing, it was a nice and easy process to.

01:04:40
Jaco
Be able to do that started with vision, progressed and migrated to a perspective.

01:04:44
Damien
Absolutely. Just based on requirements at the time.

01:04:47
Jaco
Fantastic. So we have the visualization part of it. We have the obvious naturally attained historian, store all of that data for us. And then as far as the SQL bridge is concerned, the SQL bridge is a fairly versatile module. It can be used in many different ways, and there’s so many different application use cases of the SQL bridge. So when you say that was sort of the catalyst, although you’re probably not using SQL bridge to the full array and flexibility that it offers, how are you currently using that?

01:05:23
Damien
So initially, the initial approach was to just throw everything into the historian, which it has the potential if you can.

01:05:35
Jaco
Just throw it in.

01:05:36
Damien
I think it’s a common misconception that all data coming from process needs to go into a historian, but it’s not necessarily the case. The benefit here is that there was scanners, which are scanning discrete objects, in this case logs, and that lends itself to having traditional relational database transactions, which, although some historians are based on SQL, that’s not their use case. The SQL bridge filled in that little gap very nicely, and it then also opens up the opportunity for us to very quickly integrate with existing databases that contain set points and things like that. So it was a very natural and clean fit for this specific scenario.

01:06:26
Jaco
Fantastic. Excellent. All right, so I know we’ve got a couple of views of what you’ve built, but I think maybe from a result point of view, because that’s the reason why we do things. Whether it’s any kind of digital transformation initiative, whether it’s just good old, not old good digitization, to eliminate the human error and make processes faster and have more reliable data, there has to be a result that meets a business requirement. We often speak about that. We don’t just do these things for the sake of getting a couple of those benefits, but all of those benefits equate to a business outcome and a business value. So the result for them has been quite extraordinary.

01:07:10
Jaco
So outside of the information generated and available in one place instant over whichever of those periods we discussed, what we have here is that their return on investment was less than 30 days. Within one month, they had return on investment. That is absolutely phenomenal.

01:07:29
Damien
It’s quite extraordinary. At the time, there wasn’t really an indication that would be the case. But if anything, it sort of shows how much human error can affect finance. So by minimizing, not entirely eliminating, human error, obviously there’s still the potential for human error every now and then. But by minimizing it, we managed to get a pretty good roi. And I’m particularly proud of this one.

01:08:01
Jaco
That’s fantastic. What a good result for them. Just amazing result for them. Some investment that’s paying off. That’s really good.

01:08:09
Gary
Cool.

01:08:10
Jaco
So we’ve got a couple of screenshots. So, Damien, I think, again, the beauty and the power and the value of this application is built in what is seemingly mundane, and it is a mundane and onerous process by taking that manual process away and replacing it with something that is instantly available. So this over here is the original prepared summary sheet.

01:08:34
Damien
Exactly. So, just to very briefly explain the process, they receive logs through their waybridge. They get a truck, the delivery. This truck then unloads its logs, and then they would load it onto a conveyor, which then had several chains suspended above it. And based on which chain it last hit, the operators would then tally up on a sheet like this. And then they would use this to basically calculate their volumes that they received and also their masses and so on from that particular truck. So, yeah, very manual. And also, if an operator isn’t paying attention at any given time, I mean, they look away for a second, suddenly they’re missing an entire log or two or however many that might be.

01:09:31
Damien
And because this table is, there’s quite a lot of data on here, obviously they’re very prone to just putting a tally in the wrong field or in the wrong cell, and that directly impacts their ability to invoice or to pay their supplies correctly and so on.

01:09:47
Jaco
Absolutely. There’s no ill intent or malice behind it.

01:09:52
Damien
Absolutely.

01:09:53
Jaco
Just by the nature of having to do that repetitive process so many times within a certain sheet.

01:09:59
Damien
Absolutely. And when you consider that you’ve got to do this maybe 2030 times a day.

01:10:05
Jaco
Yes, definitely.

01:10:07
Damien
Very prone to error.

01:10:08
Gary
Right.

01:10:08
Jaco
Then we essentially have what we refer to, sorry, what they refer to as the statement summary. And these are two pages from that statement summary.

01:10:18
Gary
Yeah.

01:10:19
Damien
So what we’re looking at here is essentially a report that we’re now generating on their behalf. This is essentially the output of their old Excel documents.

01:10:31
Jaco
So the data collection is now automated.

01:10:34
Damien
That’s correct. So all of the logs are now passed through a scanner, and the scanner then measures and gives us all the parameters of the log.

01:10:45
Jaco
And that’s PLC driven?

01:10:46
Damien
That’s correct, yes. Which was existing up until we deployed ignition. So we had the scanners now, but they still didn’t really have a good way of reporting on that data. So they had various things that would show up on a screen and so on and so forth. But then it was still sort of a manual process to collect that data. And what we did then with ignition and specifically the SQL bridge, is look at those tags. We then create transactions every time we see a change, specifically in this case on the log iD. And then we record all the parameters of that log, and then we generate a report like this.

01:11:33
Gary
Okay, sorry.

01:11:36
Jaco
Our television list is telling us that we’re nearly out of time.

01:11:40
Gary
Cool.

01:11:41
Jaco
And these reports, to your point, it could be determined for any period?

01:11:48
Damien
Well, this one in particular is specific to a Waybridge ticket. Specific, that’s correct. So every time a truck arrives, they go over the waybridge, they are then assigned a ticket number. We then pull that ticket number from the waybridge system, and then we have got all the parameters of that ticket available to us. We then scan against that ticket, and then we generate a report of the logs against that ticket as well. And then we group the logs into their various classes and so on.

01:12:20
Gary
Okay.

01:12:21
Jaco
And the ability to do that is quite important because you have a grower, which is essentially a supplier to UCL. You want to associate it with that specific grower as well.

01:12:31
Damien
Absolutely.

01:12:32
Jaco
Okay, very nice. The monthly summary sheet per grow. So these suppliers that we referred to earlier, this is specifically where the financial aspect, the saving money, the getting a very accurate view of what that should be. This is where that specifically plays a part.

01:12:54
Damien
Absolutely. So in this industry, they typically pay based on a log class. And the better the class, the more they pay, the worse the class, the less they pay, obviously. So what we do here is it’s just a summary of all the tickets. We just run queries to fetch tickets for that specific supplier. We then show them some basic stats, like we’ve got on the left hand side there, just how many logs, how much weight there was on the actual truck. We then calculate some densities and so on, which help determine quality. But the most important stuff happens on the right hand side of this report where we make the breakdown per class, and then we tally it up at the end. And they can then just hand this over to their finance department and say, yeah, pay based on this and that’s.

01:13:44
Gary
It.

01:13:44
Damien
And now they’ve got something too accurate to basically a centimeter.

01:13:50
Jaco
Does this also help drive supply and demand type information?

01:13:57
Gary
Absolutely.

01:13:58
Damien
And that was one of the reports that I think we’ll eventually get to. But yes, if anything, this holds their suppliers accountable for sure. I don’t know whether it drives demand so much. That’s something that they manage, obviously.

01:14:14
Vaughan
But, yeah.

01:14:18
Jaco
The way we ticket. So we. Sorry, the way we’re using terminology that’s probably not familiar to people, if you can maybe explain the ticket resync, which I think is quite a nice feature. That’s, that’s.

01:14:31
Damien
Yeah. So why you’ve built that. Absolutely. So at the very beginning of this project, were managing the tickets within ignition, which then meant we had this weird situation where we’ve got two systems running simultaneously, both doing both with overlapping function. And that felt quite unnecessary. And it duplicated the work that the operators at the Waybridge needed to do, and it just felt weird. So that drove sort of the next phase of this, where we wanted to directly integrate with the Waybridge and specifically the Waybridge management software, which in this case was wayway. And what we did here, we just developed a very simple interface to show whether we have got all the pertinent information for a ticket that has arrived or a truck that has arrived. So we then send a request to their system, say, yes, are there new tickets?

01:15:29
Damien
Okay, we get that back. We then create their relevant entries and so on. And then we showed them a summary over here to say, yes, we’ve got all of this, or no, we’re missing one or two tickets.

01:15:38
Jaco
And if you’re missing, you can force that sync.

01:15:40
Damien
Absolutely. So we introduced a way that we can allow them to just force a resync. We’ve got some basic filtering criteria which then say, obviously this list can sometimes become quite long because they receive multiple deliveries a day. So if we know we’re missing a ticket from grower a, we can then filter by grower a. See, yes, there’s the missing ticket. We can then force that Resync, and then all that information gets loaded, and then we can scan against it and so on.

01:16:10
Jaco
Fantastic. And the SQL bridge.

01:16:14
Damien
The SQL bridge is actually not playing any part in this particular function.

01:16:18
Jaco
Yeah, that’s right. It wouldn’t need to. No, it’s basically communicating with that database.

01:16:23
Damien
And that’s correct.

01:16:23
Jaco
Yes. Fantastic. Very nice to see. And this is the ticket summary I think that you just referred to. Yeah.

01:16:31
Damien
So this report is quite simple and it’s somewhat defunct at this point, but it still does get used more as a way of monitoring quality of the tickets that they have. So in this case, you’ll notice that there are some tickets there that are highlighted in orange. And those ones are where we’ve detected potential anomalies. This is, again, just to try and hold operators accountable to say, okay, are we changing tickets? Are we not? Are we scanning too many logs? Is there too many rejects? So on and so forth. So we do that grouping by grower. We then total up these things and so on. We can actually see there’s a grower total. Yeah. So this is more of a quality report now, but it has changed.

01:17:22
Jaco
I can understand why. And from an operator point of view, the interface between understanding that, having that awareness, potentially if there is a mismatch or not logged or how does the operator play a part in that?

01:17:38
Damien
Yeah, so previously where they were manually capturing all this stuff, they had no real way of identifying that they’ve made a mistake. Not immediately, and actually almost never. Because once they hand over the paper, it gets lost in the system and the data capturers then take what they’ve written there as the truth. And that’s that. That’s sort of where it ended. But now with this, we’ve immediately got a way that they can see, oh, I potentially made a mistake here. Then they can go to the sawmill manager. They can say, oh, I made a mistake here. Can we have a look? And then so on and so forth. Then we can take remedial action. On the right hand side here we can actually see just a very short report of subsequent scanners. And this is more of a report heading into their production facility.

01:18:31
Damien
So now everything up until now has been through their primary scanner. But the reports on the right hand side is their subsequent scans going into production. And we can just see how much we’ve taken into the facility every day, how many logs, what the length was and so on. And this way they can actually plan their production as well so that they know how much input material they do have.

01:18:51
Jaco
Very nice log management.

01:18:58
Damien
Yes, log management. This page is more of a management function. This isn’t something that we’ve just exposed to everyone because not everyone cares about all the data.

01:19:11
Jaco
Absolutely. And you’ve also, using user rights and user access, you’ve given different people different views of different screens. Absolutely.

01:19:19
Damien
So this particular page is just an example of something that’s available only to management. What we’ve got here is essentially a pretty good summary of what they have scanned. So we start off on the left hand side by showing them all the tickets that are available, whether they have been scanned or not. And we can quite easily identify them just by looking at how many logs have been scanned. Once you interact with one of those tickets, we then populate the rest of the dashboard on the right hand side, which then shows the properties and all the data that’s been aggregated for that specific ticket. In this case we’re showing the distribution of the logs to see. Okay, yes, we’ve got so many of log class b two.

01:20:10
Damien
We’ve then also got a breakdown of all the logs like we had in one of the reports that came from.

01:20:16
Jaco
The scanner with classification.

01:20:17
Damien
Absolutely. So most importantly here is the ability to manually add logs.

01:20:23
Jaco
So this is essentially manual data add.

01:20:27
Damien
Exactly. So obviously there is never going to be a situation where there will never ever be a breakdown. That’s simply unreasonable. So in the case that the scanner is offline, they needed a way to still be able to input data in a format that is standardized, and then it immediately translates into the reports and so on. So that’s actually the spawning of this page, was the need of manually capturing logs. So in this case they would sort of revert back to the old manual system. But luckily this is very few and far between. If this happens once every few months, that’s a lot.

01:21:10
Jaco
But they still need the ability to do it.

01:21:12
Damien
Absolutely, they need the ability to do so. But yes, all the primary log management would then happen here. So if we need to move logs between tickets, if we want to see basic stats, that type of thing. So it all happened here.

01:21:24
Jaco
And then I think this final one, this length spread, which I sort of looked at this and I had no idea what a length spread would indicate. But you’re going to tell us in a moment and why this is important. Yeah.

01:21:35
Damien
So this particular report is of particular importance in holding their suppliers accountable, which they didn’t really have a good way of doing before.

01:21:45
Jaco
They didn’t have the supporting data.

01:21:47
Damien
Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, they probably did, but then it would require more massaging data in excel sheets and so on. But now we’ve got this report which they can generate ad hoc and they can almost immediately call out a supplier and say you’re not supplying what you say you’re supplying. So in this particular case, sorry, in that particular case, we’re just showing various measurements and we’re just saying this is what you’re actually supplying us and this isn’t what the market demands. Very crucial, I think quite a big.

01:22:22
Jaco
Part of the sort of supply chain management. And I think, I suppose that’s where the savings came from.

01:22:28
Damien
Yes, absolutely.

01:22:30
Jaco
So what’s next for UCL further projects, things that you’re looking at building out? You mentioned a portal.

01:22:37
Gary
Yeah.

01:22:38
Damien
So one of the things that they’ve asked us now to do is to actually open up a supplier portal.

01:22:44
Jaco
So they have a way for suppliers.

01:22:46
Damien
To immediately log in and see their.

01:22:48
Jaco
Data sharing this information with their suppliers.

01:22:50
Damien
Absolutely. And then obviously, quite naturally, since we’ve got a lot of good contextual data now we can start integrating with the ERP systems.

01:23:00
Jaco
And I would imagine the SQL bridge is going to play a part.

01:23:03
Damien
It probably will, yes. I don’t know exactly how just yet.

01:23:07
Jaco
Because we haven’t reached that, haven’t figured.

01:23:08
Damien
It out, but yes, it probably will play a.

01:23:12
Jaco
Okay, fantastic. Really? Yeah. Great application, Damien. Thank you. If anyone is interested to understand a little bit more and maybe have a chat, they’re welcome to contact you.

01:23:23
Damien
Absolutely.

01:23:24
Jaco
Cool. We’ll share the contact details then. I would imagine there would be a couple of people that would be interested to get more information. Yes, they did have to log in, Derwin, you’re 100% correct, pardon the pun. They did have to log into the system. Yes, I’m going to mark that as answer, Derwin, but great comment very clearly this morning for a Friday morning. All right, so we’re pretty much done with the content for today. Damien, thank you again for sharing that success story. I think it’s one of those applications where there’s so much value in just getting some very basic reporting and data needs from their system and controlling that. Now the operator works with that. Love that application. Vaughan, thank you for joining us. I think we’ve got one last thing, which is our giveaway.

01:24:12
Jaco
Vaughan did send over a question for our audience to answer. It’s not a lucky draw. Somebody said to us yesterday, a lucky draw is not fair. You can’t do a lucky draw. It needs to be competitive. This is South Africa, so it won’t be a lucky draw. It will be a first person to answer the question correctly. Vaughan, your question that you sent over here, what can you do in version 60 nine, which is the latest that you couldn’t do before in flow? So I’m going to put the answers on the screen and we’re going to keep an eye on the chat, and we’re going to look for the first correct answer from somebody. So option one, retrieve real time tag data and perform calculations on them.

01:25:00
Jaco
So that’s option or answer one for that question number two, transform data between real time event and period context. That’s number two, ask jtptpt to write user defined functions in flow. That is something that you can now do in version 60 nine. At least an option. Option four, use flow’s public API to query real time data from multiple data sources, I. E. As a unified analytics framework. So those are your four options that you have. What can you now do in version 60 nine that you couldn’t do before in flow? Those are your four options. And we’re going to look for the first correct answer that comes through on the chat.

01:25:49
Vaughan
I wonder if Chat GPT can tell us what right answer.

01:25:55
Damien
I don’t know if you can see.

01:25:56
Jaco
The responses or the answers that are coming in. I’m not sure if you have the correct one yet.

01:26:02
Vaughan
Yes, we do. We have. Fantastic.

01:26:06
Jaco
Let us know which one it is.

01:26:07
Vaughan
Jake, would you like the answer or do you like the winner? Or would you like both? Okay, well, the answer is number two. We could always. Well, since version six, you could do number one, retrieve real time tag data. Since November, when Chat GPT was introduced to the world, you could do number three. You could do it in any version of flow, ask it to write functions for you. And number four as well, is something you could do since version six. But in 609, we can now transform between various contexts. And yes, we’d like to say congratulations to. Is it Jacob Abraham?

01:26:44
Jaco
Jacob Abraham, yeah, absolutely, Jacob. Well done. Very quick there. I don’t know if you sort of looked at your one to four and just close your eyes and press one, but Jacob, thank you. Thank you for that. You have the correct answer. We will make sure that we get your shipping details and we will send your flow branded backpack, water bottle, and a couple of other things. Sorry to everybody. I missed out. I did see a couple of Tuesdays there, but Jacob was first on the keyboard, so well done, Jacob. Thank you. And thank you, Vaughan. All right, so, just the final thing for us today, we don’t go way over time as we usually do. I don’t know. The fact that people still stick around through all our blabbing, I suppose, is a good thing. But thank you for joining us.

01:27:25
Jaco
We hope that was valuable. Again, we will share all the links of all the resources and all the webinars and things that we shared today. We will share Vaughan’s contact details. If you want to have any specific questions that you want to reach out to Vaughan to, as well as Damien, of course, in terms of their ignition experience and what they’ve built for UCL. And if you have any other questions for us here at element eight, with regards to the training, the certification, the program, or anything else, I do have a couple more questions in the chat from Simon. Simon, yes, correct. With regards to Canary, I think what we’ll do is we can maybe answer the first one. That’s an easy one. Does Canary have the ability to connect to OPC? Laura, do you want to get that one? That’s an easy.

01:28:14
Laura
Yes, yes. Canary does have an connector.

01:28:19
Jaco
Fantastic. And we can definitely set up different servers. The architecture of Canary allows you to set up various functions of canary on different servers and different machines. So we can absolutely do that. And yes, we will share a recording of this webinar probably later today or latest by next week sometime. So we’ll do that as well. If you do follow us on LinkedIn. Amazing. Well done. Thank you. If you don’t follow us, please do. You will notice that we’ll be sharing a couple of stories, or hopefully some other people will see some stories as well over the next few weeks. It is under the hashtag what the heck is ignition? And I think that’s relevant because a lot of people are not too sure what ignition is. Sometimes I’m not sure. Is it a Scada? Absolutely. Is it just an HMI? Absolutely.

01:29:12
Jaco
Is it a database? Absolutely. Could it be used for alarming enterprise applications? Yes. Mobile applications? Yes. So there is a little bit of a fun campaign running at the moment. We’re calling it the what the heck is ignition? Campaign. If you have any suggestions, Damien, we’re looking forward to your hashtag what the heck is ignition? With your answer, do share those with us over the coming weeks, and there will also be some prizes and things associated with that. So again, thank you very much for joining us. Vaughan, Laura, any final comments on your side?

01:29:49
Vaughan
No. Thanks for joining.

01:29:52
Gary
Cool.

01:29:53
Jaco
Excellent. Thank you. Thank you for joining us, you both. Damien, thank you for joining. Really nice to get that, although it was brief, but really nice to get the view of what you’ve built at UCL. I know it’s not always easy to get screenshots and things like that, so do thank you and the team at UCL for allowing us a view into that application. We do appreciate everybody online. Thank you very much. We’ll see you in a couple of months time again. In the meantime, we will share the recording with all the links and have a fantastic weekend, everybody. Thank you. Bye.

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