Configuring the web server and calling up machine data

Configuring the web server and calling up machine data

You want to make your machine data available centrally on a web server? We have a simple solution for you.

In this article we show you how to activate and configure the integrated web server of the DataSuite in order to subsequently gain access to your machine data in the form of HTML web pages.

Advantages and functions of the integrated web server

In this article we explain what the DataSuite’s integrated web server is and how to use and configure it properly. To follow all the steps, you will need the DataSuite software, our versatile software for collecting and processing machine data. At the end of the article, provided you have followed all the steps, you will be able to use your fully configured web server. We will then show you how to access the web pages of your data.

We have shown you why you should convert machine data into HTML files and how you can upload them to the web server in the article “How to provide machine data as HTML files“.
 
Here, however, we will deal with the activation and configuration of the integrated web server. As already mentioned, you need the DataSuite software for this. Please note, that you need the DataSuite Pro licence for the web server feature. If you have not yet purchased a licence, you can test all features free of charge in the 30-day trial version.
 

How does the integrated web server work anyway?

Once you have converted your machine data into HTML files, they can be opened on any device with a web browser without additional software. To avoid having to send this data around, you can simply upload the HTML files to the integrated web server. This means that files can then be called up locally via a specific link.

But what is a web server anyway?

What is a web server?

A web server, also called an HTTP server, is used to store web content. Such a web server simplifies and standardises communication on the web. In principle, it is a mixture of website and application, which can be operated and called up from outside. Since the web server is integrated in the DataSuite, no additional software is needed here.

The great advantage of a web server is good accessibility to your data and software. With the DataSuite’s integrated web server, you can easily upload machine data in the form of HTML files to make them accessible locally on all devices. Coupled with the Rest API feature, you can operate DataSuite on an industrial PC without software, for example to execute a trigger or communicate with the PLC. This saves time and helps you to store your data clearly in one place. We will show you how to use the Rest API in another article.

Not only are you not bound to any licences, but you can also make your data more accessible from the outside on the integrated web server. This works simply, quickly and without compromise.

You can also upload your HTML files that you have created using DataSuite to an external web server. For this, however, you need much more extensive expertise, as this must first be created. We have shown you how to create and use an external web server in the article “Link follows”.

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Configure the integrated web server correctly

Now we will show you how to configure the integrated web server of the DataSuite correctly. To do this, first go to “Web server and rest API” in the menu on the left. This item is only displayed if the corresponding feature is included in your licence.

Activate web server and set port

In the upper area of the configuration page you can see the current status of the web server. Below this you can activate it and enter the desired port. Please note that all changes only take effect after saving. Once you have activated the web server, it starts automatically every time you start the DataSuite.

Encryption

Communication with the web server and the rest of the API is always encrypted (HTTPS/SSL), unencrypted communication (HTTP) is not possible.

A self-signed certificate is used for encryption in the standard configuration. Some browsers then display a warning when opening the website that a self-signed certificate was used. You can either simply acknowledge this warning and the website will open normally or alternatively import your own SSL certificate.

To do this, select the certificate file (e.g. *.pfx) and enter the certificate password. To create a certificate, please contact your local IT department.

Using a self created certificate
Use of a certificate file

Authentifizierung

With authentication, you can protect the access to the web server and the REST-API. So in principle it is about securing access with a user and password.

At this point you have two options:

• No authentication: A connection can be established without authentication without authentication.

• Basic authentication: A user name and password must be entered to access web pages and to use the Rest API. You can freely select the user name and password in the settings.

Enable access to individual resources

In the last section of the configuration, you can set access to individual resources (PLC connections, triggers). You can grant access with a simple click.

You can set for each trigger individually whether it can be started via the Rest API.

For each PLC, you can select whether the variable values can be read (read access) or whether they can also be written to the PLC (read and write access).

This allows you to operate the DataSuite remotely from another PC or from another software. 

If you try to access a non-released resource via the Rest API, you will receive the error code 403 (Forbidden).

Call up web pages

Now we will show you how to call up your HTML web pages that you have previously created from Excel files. To be able to do this, you must first upload the converted machine data to the integrated web server. There you can also define a name (URL) for the website.

All websites can always be reached under the following link:

https://localhost:22722/sites/{name of the page}

As you can see, we have converted an Excel file containing machine data into an HTML file that can be accessed via the browser. This means that you do not need any software on the systems to open the file.

We have shown you an example here, but you can do the same with your real Excel files. You can repeat these steps as often as you like to upload all your machine data to the integrated web server or save it in the file system.

Further DataSuite functions and customer support

 

DataSuite offers numerous other functions, for example, you can use it to generate PDF or Excel documents from machine data and automatically write machine data to a database. You can find the article on this in the DataSuite Tech Blog.

You can find much more information and setting options in the DataSuite software manual, which is included in the download. There you will find detailed instructions with screenshots.

Further information and assistance free of charge from our experts:

Phone: +49 2742 72927 80
E-mail: [email protected]

 
 

Conclusion

DataSuite helps you bridge the gap between production and the web. Using the local or an external web server gives you the possibility to make your machine data more easily and specifically available in the company without having to rely on other software licences.

Download trial software

Test all functions free of charge for 30 days. You will receive a mail with download link for instant use.

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Related articles

How to provide machine data as HTML-files

How to provide machine data as HTML-files

You may know it: You want to make machine data available to many users centrally, quickly and easily. Our DataSuite offers you the possibility to do just that. In this article, we show you how you can easily generate HTML files from MDE data.

Advantages of the HTML format

Before we show you how to generate machine data as HTML files, we will first show you the advantages of HTML files. The DataSuite, our universal software for collecting and processing machine data, is the basis for the following steps. 

Why HTML?

Providing machine data as an HTML file has several advantages. HTML is a text-based mark-up language and the schema is simple and uniform, which is why you do not need to rely on licences with this file format. To make the data more accessible, you can upload it to your web server.

By uploading a file to the web server, it can be opened from anywhere. We will show you how to upload an HTML file to DataSuite’s integrated web server at the end of the article.

The integrated web server of the DataSuite is a simple and fast solution that does not require any IT knowledge. If you want to use an external web server, which is much more complicated but offers more possibilities, we recommend the article: “Article follows”.

Get free consulting now

Your questions will be answered in a video call or a telephone conversation with one of our experts. Concrete requirements and projects can be discussed directly.

The appointment booking is done with Microsoft Bookings, Microsoft’s privacy policy applies

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Machine data in HTML file

In this part of the article we will show you how to provide your machine data as an HTML file.

 

To do this, click on “Create new trigger” in the trigger menu item. You can add this to a new or already existing group. Then search for “HTML” in the search field and click on the following result:

Now define the trigger condition and then click on the lower field. Here you select the file to be converted. On the one hand, you can select a file that is already being used in the DataSuite and has, for example, previously been written to by another trigger. On the other hand, you can also select any file from the file system of your computer.

Why is the extra step Excel file useful?

Excel is more or less the HTML designer. In an Excel template, you can format the data and combine it with charts and other things. The Excel file created in this way then only needs to be converted into HTML. Datasuite does this for you. You can read how to easily generate Excel files from machine data in this article: 

It works that easy: Write Excel files with the Siemens S7

In the “Publish” field below, you can either save your HTML file on the file system or publish it directly on the integrated web server. We will show you where the difference lies and what the steps entail in the next section.

Publish HTML website in file system and integrated web server

Now we will show you how to publish your HTML website with machine data in the file system and directly on the integrated web server. Note, however, that the integrated web server must be configured beforehand. A standard configuration is already available and can be used. However, you must switch on the web server. You can find out how this works in the article: “follows”.

Publish HTML websites in the file system

First we focus on saving in the file system. To do this, enter the file name that the file with your machine data should have. If your trigger condition is fulfilled, the trigger is executed. You can also start the trigger manually.

After executing the trigger, you have successfully converted an Excel file containing your valuable data into an HTML file. You receive your HTML file and an additional folder.

To display the HTML file, the _files folder is also required. This contains the sheets and graphics, i.e. the actual content.

As you can see, the conversion worked and all the required files are there. In the next step we will show you how to publish the website directly on the integrated web server. This allows the website to be accessed directly via the browser.

Publish HTML websites on the integrated web server

To publish the file on the web server, select “Webserver” under the “Publish” field. Enter the address under which you want to call up the website. The first part is already predefined and cannot be changed.

If you now execute the trigger, you can access the document locally at the localhost address as seen below.

uploaded HTML file in the browser
Ready converted and uploaded machine data

As you can see, we have converted an Excel file containing machine data into an HTML file that is now accessible via the browser. This means that you do not need any software on the systems to open the file.

We have shown you an example here, but you can reproduce the whole process with your real Excel files. You can repeat these steps as often as you like to upload all your machine data to the integrated web server or save it in the file system.

Further DataSuite functions and customer support

 

DataSuite offers numerous other functions, for example, you can use it to generate PDF or Excel documents from machine data and automatically write machine data to a database. You can find the article on this in the DataSuite Tech Blog.

You can find much more information and setting options in the DataSuite software manual, which is included in the download. There you will find detailed instructions with screenshots.

Further information and assistance free of charge from our experts:

Phone: +49 2742 72927 80
E-mail: [email protected]

 

Conclusion

The DataSuite software enables you to easily provide your machine data as HTML files. You can save them locally in the file system or, thanks to the integrated web server, make them available quickly and easily as web pages in the network.

Download trial software

Test all functions free of charge for 30 days. You will receive a mail with download link for instant use.

Notes on data protection(Required)

Related articles

Factory worker is programming a CNC milling machine with a tablet computer.

Send SMS with a S7 PLC

Send SMS with a S7 PLC

When it comes to reducing unplanned downtime, problems can often arise. We offer you an easy way to keep track of your downtimes. In this article, we show you how you can automatically receive an SMS with a comprehensive error message and PLC variables of your S7 in case of a machine downtime.

Factory worker is programming a CNC milling machine with a tablet computer.

Why sending SMS from the S7 is worthwile

Improving the monitoring of your machines and plants will in most cases lead to a drastic reduction of your downtimes. Our versatile software for collecting and processing machine data, DataSuite, can have a big positive impact on this. Later in this article, we will show you how you can automatically receive an SMS when one of your machines fails. The big advantage is that you will be notified immediately with comprehensive information about the possible source of the error. Moreover, the SMS feature can be used with any cell phone, completely without installing an additional app or needing an internet connection.


This article builds on the article: “Reduce downtime in production”. There we showed how you can save time, money, and nerves with the help of DataSuite.

Importance of the DataSuite in this process

DataSuite allows you to send SMS without a SIM card. If you have set it up correctly, you will automatically receive an SMS with valuable information when a machine has a fault condition. This can be error texts directly from the plant, measured values or even other information. With the help of DataSuite, you can even include PLC variables in the SMS. In case of an alarm, you will then receive an SMS with a stored text and the values you have selected, e.g. current temperature, machine number etc. However, it should be noted that there are small costs for sending SMS at the SMS service provider SMS77. However, there is no basic fee and for an SMS with 160 characters, currently only 0.075 euros.

This is how information is exchanged in the event of a fault condition

The purpose of this article is that you will end up understanding and being able to practically implement the structure shown here. You will notice that it is actually quite simple. In order to successfully send an error message as an SMS at the end of this article, we need a trigger created in the DataSuite software. A trigger has trigger conditions and actions. If these conditions are met, the actions will be executed. So if your machine changes to the operating state “malfunction”, in this case the trigger will be triggered.

There are many ways to define a trigger. For example, you can define a temperature value from which your machine changes to the operating state “Fault”. In this case, your PLC transmits the data to the DataSuite software, which then compiles an error message in the form of an SMS. Which information the SMS should contain, you can define yourself in our software.

Praxisbeispiel und wie man eine E-Mail mit einer S7 verschicken kann

We will then show you a real-life example of how you can use DataSuite to send SMS messages. The DataSuite is mandatory for this. At the end of the article, you can enter your email address to request a free trial version of DataSuite.

Note: How you can send an e-mail with a fault message, we have shown for you in this article: Send e-mail with an S7 PLC

 

You would like to get a live insight into DataSuite 3?

In a live online demonstration, we will go into detail about the individual functions and answer any questions you may have. Together we will find out whether DataSuite 3 is suitable for your needs.

Send SMS with a S7 PLC

In this part of the article, we will show you the required configurations in DataSuite to be able to receive error messages automatically via SMS. In our example, an error has occurred in the “Press 3” plant, which is why you will receive an SMS with the associated error message.

To be able to send SMS with an S7, you have to create your sms77 account in the DataSuite. If you do not have an account yet, please create a new account on the sms77 website beforehand.

If you have created an account, you can now set it up in DataSuite. To do so, please click on the menu item “Accounts” and then on “Create new account”.

create new email account in DataSuite software
Add SMS account in DataSuite

Then select the option “Sms77 Account” in the dialog and click on “Create” afterwards. Now you have to make some settings for the setup of the Sms77 account. Next, we will customize exactly this SMS account in DataSuite. There you can activate the debug mode at the very top.

What is the debug mode?

You can activate the debug mode when configuring the SMS account. In this case, the SMS are not sent to save costs during setup or testing. Before commissioning, this mode should definitely be deactivated, because this way no SMS are sent.

You will find a button at the bottom of the configuration page to test the settings. You can also limit the number of sent SMS per minute and hour underneath. This makes sense to prevent high costs due to accidentally sent SMS during commissioning in case of configuration errors.

link sms77 account toDataSuite
Edit SMS account

Enter the name that is to be displayed in the SMS as the sender. Below this, your API key must be entered. To be able to send SMS, you have to create an API key at sms77. We will show you in the next step how this works exactly.

Create API key at sms77

Now we will show you how to create an API key at sms77 to then link this account to DataSuite. First open the developer page of sms77. After you have logged in, please click on the + button at the tile “API keys”. Now a small menu will open, where you please enter a name at the top. After you have clicked on “Save”, your API key will be displayed below.

create API-Key at sms77 for DataSuite
Create AP key at sms77

With a click on the key, it can now be copied to continue with the setup in DataSuite. Go back to the configuration page of your SMS connection in DataSuite and paste your API key into the field provided. Now you can save the configuration like this. Make sure that debug mode is enabled if you’re still testing and don’t want to send an SMS for now. In the next step, we will show you how to define the SMS using a trigger.

Define SMS for the alert case

If you have successfully created an API key and added your SMS account, you can now define the message for the alert case. To do this, create a new trigger in the “Trigger” menu. Then search for “PLC sends SMS” in the search bar and click on “Create”.

First, the trigger conditions must be defined. When you purchase or test DataSuite, we will send you a free manual that explains the trigger conditions of a trigger. For now, we will deal with the configuration of the SMS itself. To define the SMS, please click on the “Send email” field below. The configuration could look like this:

PLC sends SMS configuration DataSuite
Edit SMS account

Select the sms77 account at the top. Enter the recipient below. Multiple recipients can be entered, separated by a semicolon (0274296887280; 0274296887281). Now you can enter the message of the SMS. The message can also contain variables. With a click on the “var+” symbol on the right side, you can select a variable directly from the control. In this example, we use the error code from the PLC. Note that sms77 charges per 160 characters. After saving, you can execute the trigger. Remember that no SMS can be sent in debug mode.

Your malfunction SMS can look like this

If the trigger was configured correctly, everything should now work. If the trigger condition you defined is met, an SMS is sent directly to the numbers you entered. However, the trigger can also be activated manually in the “Trigger” menu.

You can of course also receive an SMS in other fault conditions, the possibilities are not limited to you here. The SMS you would then receive could look like this:

SMS error message
Your error message could look like this

As you can see, you can customize the error message you receive in the event of a fault according to your needs. This way, you will always receive exactly the information you require.

Further DataSuite functions and information options

DataSuite offers many more functions, for example you can use it to create PDF or Excel documents from machine data and automatically write machine data to a database.

You can find much more information and setting options in the DataSuite software manual, which is included in the download. There you can find detailed instructions with screenshots.

More information and help free of charge from our experts:

Phone: +49 2742 72927 80
E-mail: [email protected]

Conclusion

With the help of DataSuite, you can have an SMS sent automatically when a machine breaks down. This can contain a detailed damage report and even PLC variables. This can greatly reduce your downtime, saving you time and money in fixing the problem.

Download trial software

Test all functions free of charge for 30 days. You will receive a mail with download link for instant use.

Notes on data protection(Required)

Related posts

Send e-mail with an S7 PLC

Send e-mail with an S7 PLC

Reducing downtime is quite difficult at times. Especially in large machine parks, it’s easy to lose track of everything. That’s why we offer you a way to reduce downtime cost-effectively and efficiently. In this article, we will show you how you can automatically receive an e-mail with the cause and machine data with your S7 in the event of a fault.

Why sending e-mails from the S7 is worthwhile

To reduce downtime in production, you can improve the monitoring of your machines and plants. This works particularly well with DataSuite, our versatile software for collecting and processing machine data. Later in this article, we’ll show you how to automatically receive an email when one of your machines fails.

This article builds on the article: “Reduce downtime in production”. There we demonstrated how DataSuite can help you save time, money, and frustration.

DataSuite allows you to send an e-mail without modem software when a machine has a fault condition. This e-mail then contains valuable information, i.e. a detailed description of the error. This can be measured values, error messages directly from the machine, or other information. With DataSuite, you can even send a diagnostic and error log as a PDF in the e-mail. In addition, the e-mail dispatch is always free of charge and in the event of an alarm, you will receive an e-mail with a stored text and the values you have selected, e.g. current temperature, machine number etc.

How the information exchange works in the event of an alarm

If your machine changes to the “fault” operating state, a trigger is released. Each trigger has trigger conditions and actions. If these conditions are met, the actions are executed.

For example, you can define a temperature value at which your machine switches to the “fault” operating state. Then, your PLC transmits the data to DataSuite, which processes the information and compiles an error message as an e-mail. You will then receive this e-mail on your e-mail address with the information you requested, which is already contained in your control system anyway.

We will then show you in practice how you can send e-mails using DataSuite. For this you logically need DataSuite, but we also offer you a trial version at the end of this article.

Note: How to send an SMS with a fault message, we have shown for you in this article:

You would like to get a live insight into DataSuite 3?

In a live online demonstration, we will go into detail about the individual functions and answer any questions you may have. Together we will find out whether DataSuite 3 is suitable for your needs.

Send e-mail with an S7 PLC

In this part of the article, we will show you what you need to configure in DataSuite to be able to receive error messages automatically by e-mail. In our example, an error has occurred in the “Saw 4” plant, so you will automatically receive an email with the error message and a log.

To be able to send e-mails with an S7, you must first create an e-mail account. To do this, click on the “Accounts” menu item and then on “Create new account”.

Then select the “Email account” option in the dialog and click “Create”. In the next window, you will need to make some settings to set up the email account. DataSuite can only send emails, so only the outgoing mail server is needed. Below the configuration, there is a button to test the settings. In addition, below it, you can limit the number of emails sent per minute and per hour to prevent spam during startup in case of configuration errors.

configure email account in DataSuite
Configure email account

At the top, enter the name that you want to be displayed as the sender of the e-mail. For “Email address”, enter the address from which the mails should be sent. Underneath, log in with your email login details to link your account. Finally, all you need is the address, encryption, and port of your outgoing mail server. You can find this information from your email provider.

Define email for the incident

If you have successfully added the e-mail account, you can now define the message for the incident. To do this, you must create a new trigger in the “Trigger” menu. Then search for “PLC sends email” in the search bar and click on “create”.

First, you have to define the trigger conditions. You can find out exactly how this works in the manual, which will be sent to you free of charge when you purchase or test DataSuite. For now, though, we’ll focus on configuring the email itself. To do this, please click on the “Send an email” field below. The configuration could look like this:

Compose email malfunction report in DataSuite
Compose email malfunction report

At the top, select the email account you just created. Below that, you can enter the recipient. Multiple recipients can be entered, separated by a semicolon ([email protected];[email protected]). Below that, enter a subject and a message. The line with the recipient, subject, and message can also contain variables. Finally, you can add an attachment at the very bottom, for example an Excel file with machine data.

This is how your malfunction mail can look like

If you have configured the trigger correctly, it will trigger at a certain temperature, for example. In this way, your S7 immediately sends an e-mail as soon as a threshold value defined by you is reached. Of course, you can also receive an e-mail in other cases of malfunction, for example in case of a simple error. The e-mail, which you receive automatically in this fault case, could look like this:

Email with error message from DataSuite
Your error message could look like this

As you have seen, you can customize the error message according to your needs. This way, you will always get exactly the information you really require. This can be error codes, logs or similar.

DataSuite offers many more functions, for example you can use it to create PDF or Excel documents from machine data and automatically write machine data to a database.

You can find much more information and setting options in the DataSuite software manual, which is included in the download. There you can find detailed instructions with screenshots.

More information and help free of charge from our experts:

Phone: +49 2742 72927 80
E-mail: [email protected]

Conclusion

With the help of DataSuite software, you can reduce your downtime by improving your monitoring. With our handy features, you can automatically receive an email with a detailed damage report when a machine breaks down. This will save you a lot of time and money.

Download trial software

Test all functions free of charge for 30 days. You will receive a mail with download link for instant use.

Notes on data protection(Required)

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Moderne Produktion

Store machine data of a S7 PLC in a SQL database

Store machine data of a S7 PLC in a SQL database

Some machine operators still use Excel files to document their data. In this article, we will show you why a database is always worthwhile and how you can store machine data from an S7 PLC in an SQL database.

Moderne Produktion

Why a database is better than Excel

In order to be able to work with extensive S7 machine data, we recommend an SQL database. What this is exactly and how it works, we will explain in the next step. Afterwards, we will show you in practice how you can enter a data record of your Siemens S7 PLC into a database table.

But first, we want to clarify the question of why you should use a database at all. You can simply manage your machine data in Excel tables and graphs, right? That is not wrong, but a database brings decisive advantages:

As you can see, managing your machine data in a database offers decisive advantages. In summary, the central management of data simplifies all processes. Data from a database is additionally more readable and easier to manage. For example, if you are searching for specific data records, this search is completed in a database in less than a second.

Our goal today: Store machine data in an SQL database

Read this article to learn how to take advantage of an SQL database for your machinery and equipment. Our goal at the end is the following structure:

SQL database data transmission to S7 PLC

Better than Excel

But if you store your data in Excel files, the search is often time-consuming and inconvenient. Excel is therefore suitable for small amounts of data needed by a single person. However, an SQL database is the next logical step if you want to store and manage larger amounts of data. Another plus: Increased security of your data. Multi-user capability, i.e. the ability for several people to work with the data at the same time, makes your production more professional and more efficient.

Databases are everywhere these days, even your Google searches are recorded in a structured way in a database. Considering the increasing amount of data we generate and have at our disposal every day, the importance of databases cannot be overlooked.

What an SQL database is and its functions

A database allows you to collect, store and manage data. For larger amounts of data, a database is worthwhile in any case, because you can keep track of all the data. Now you know what a database is. But what does SQL mean?

The “Standard Query Language” is the database language for relational databases. It is supported and used by almost all database systems. In addition, it has a simple structure and is based on the English language. An advantage is that SQL is case-insensitive. This means that the upper and lower case is unimportant. The editing and creation of database tables is done in SQL via the “Data Definition Language” (DDL). In addition, the SQL commands are simple in structure and in English.

However, it is important to know which functions an SQL database offers. So what can you do with such a database?

Defining a database means that a database and the different tables are basically created. One can also define the records and attributes. Editing a database includes the function of adding and removing records. In addition, individual attribute values can be changed. Querying a database is particularly interesting. With a simple command, you can search a database full of data for individual attributes and then display them separately. We will also discuss this function later in this article.

What is a database system?

A database system consists of the actual database and a database management system (DBMS). The database is only the physical data itself, but without DMBS no operations can be performed on it. The DMBS is basically just a software that enables operations on the actual database.

As you now know, SQL is the database language. To be able to use the functions mentioned above, you need a database system. In simple terms, a database system is a program that allows you to access and configure a database.

There are different database management systems. Among others, Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, MariaDB and Postgres are well known. However, in this case we will use MySQL, which is one of the most popular and well-known options.

MySQL is free, widely used, easy to use and is available for all popular operating systems. It was developed in the mid-1990s and appeared in 2000. Other advantages are its extensive documentation and security. MySQL is considered to be particularly secure and stable, since you can encrypt your data extensively. It is also extremely flexible: there are interfaces to many scripting languages for web applications. The DMBS is under the GPL license (OpenSource), has a high storage volume and evaluates queries quickly.

Here is an overview of the most important advantages:

MySQL is recommended due to its longevity and popularity. It is perfect for getting started, so later in the article we will show you how to write machine data from an S7 to an SQL database and vice versa.

You would like to get a live insight into DataSuite 3?

In a live online demonstration, we will go into detail about the individual functions and answer any questions you may have. Together we will find out whether DataSuite 3 is suitable for your needs.

Creating a MySQL database for S7 machine data

In this chapter, we will show you step by step how to create a SQL database using MySQL to write machine data to and from a S7 PLC. First, you need the MySQL Community Server. With this version there are no costs and all important functions are included. You can find the link to the download here.

Select your operating system above and then click on the recommended download in the middle. After that, please select the lower of the two versions to download, as shown in this image:

Now you can start the download. If you are not interested in creating an Oracle account, you can simply click “No thanks” in the next window below. This will start the download automatically. After the download, the installer will open, select “Developer Default” to install all the necessary data. Since you need to pay attention to a few things during the installation, we recommend watching a YouTube tutorial that explains the installation in detail.

Next step: creating the database using SQL script

Once you have installed all the necessary files, you must first open MySQL Workbench. On the main page, you will see your connections. Click on the “plus” to add a new connection. Define a connection name and a username there. Then click on the connection and enter the password you set during the installation.

Now we can create our first own database using SQL script. To do this, enter the command shown in the screenshot, where the last part is the name.

Create the first table and enter data

Click on the left lightning bolt to execute the command. Now your database is already created, but still without content. Therefore, we will now create a first table. Here, we create a table with plant parts as an example.

create MySQL table
Create MySQL table

As you can see, the commands are all actually relatively simple. On this page, there is an overview of the most important MySQL commands.

To fill the table now, you can use the following commands:

insert data into MySQL database table
Enter MySQL data into table

Display table columns

The next screenshot shows the finished table in MySQL. With the command “select *” you can display all the data from your table:

display MySQL database table
Display MySQL table data

This table can now be used to enter machine data or also to read out the existing data.

Thanks to the functions of DataSuite, once you have created the database, you basically don’t need any SQL commands. While you can use commands you have written yourself, you can also use one of our templates to transfer data to and from a database. Strictly speaking, you do not need any SQL knowledge to do this. In the next step, we connect the SQL database to the S7 PLC.

Store machine data in a MySQL database

If everything has worked, then you have now created a database. Now you can transfer the data from your S7 PLC with DataSuite into a SQL database and vice versa. We have already shown you at the beginning of this article why saving data in a database makes sense. To make the most of these advantages, we will use our DataSuite from here on. You can download a 30-day DataSuite trial to try out all the features.

Our DataSuite can connect to the following databases: MSSQL, MySQL, MariaDB and Postgres. However, it should be noted that no new databases, tables, views, etc. can be created in DataSuite. DataSuite can only connect to an existing database.

We will now use an example to explain how you can have a record from your control written to the database table you just created. First, we will show you how simple the system is set up for such a communication. All you need is a plant with a PLC, a computer with DataSuite installed and an SQL database.

SQL database data transmission to S7 PLC
Transmission of machine data

The data of your machine is stored in the PLC. Using Profinet or OPC UA, you establish a connection between it and your computer on which DataSuite is installed. DataSuite can read the data from your PLC to write it into a database table. This is very easy, you just have to follow the steps below.

Establish and configure database connection with DataSuite

To follow all steps from here on, please open the DataSuite software. Once there, you will find the overview of your database connections in the “Databases” menu. Click on “Create new database connection” to add a new database there. Thereby, the number of new database connections is unlimited.

In the following, you can configure your database connection. For this purpose, enter your connection data of your database. These consist of the IP address, the port, the username and the corresponding password of your database.

If you have entered all data correctly, you can test the database connection below. If the connection works, this will be displayed, and you can then select the database below. Now the connection is established, and you can, for example, write a record into a database table.

Create triggers and assign variables

To do this, create a new trigger in the “Trigger” menu. Then search for “database” in the search field and click on “Write record (insert)”. First, you need to select a handshake variable at the top, which is the trigger condition. After that, select your database and the table where you want to write the machine data. Below that, you have to assign the table rows to the corresponding variables.

Once you have done this, you can save the trigger and then execute it. If it has worked, the “Trigger” menu will show the exact time when the trigger was executed. In the next screenshot, you can see the values in the controller that we transferred to the database with the trigger.

Trigger executed: Data successfully transferred

To check if the data has reached the database, you have to open the MySQL Workbench again and display the database with the command “select * from table name;”. We have already used this command above.

As you can see, the data from the PLC has arrived in the database. The trigger has therefore worked. You can see this from the last entry with the workpiece number 4711, since this was not yet in the database table before the trigger was executed.

Other possibility: Have table data written to your PLC

But the whole thing works the other way around: You can have data written from an SQL database to your PLC without having SQL knowledge. You can find out how to do this in the DataSuite software manual. There you will find detailed instructions with screenshots.

If you are interested in DataSuite and its features, please feel free to visit the product page or contact us directly.

Further information and assistance free of charge from our experts:

Phone: +49 2742 72927 80
E-mail: [email protected]

Conclusion

The great thing about DataSuite is that once a database is created, SQL knowledge is no longer required. Thanks to our templates, your colleagues can, for example, perform an SQL database query with just a few clicks. This saves you time and money in your production. Writing and reading records to and from databases is also no problem.

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Maschinen und Anlagen in Industrie und Produktion

Reduce downtime in production

Reduce downtime in production

Machine operators are always asking themselves how they can reduce downtime. After all, there is huge potential here for saving costs and improving employee satisfaction. In this article, we will show you how you can use modern software to reduce your downtime.

Maschinen und Anlagen in Industrie und Produktion
Step 1: Detect problems

Monitoring of machines and equipment

Recognition is at the beginning, the ancient Greeks already knew that. But how can you detect problems of machines and plants? In the first place, the requirement is that the controls (PLC) of your machines offer a data interface. In the best case this is an OPC-UA interface, but instead it can also be a Profinet or even Profibus interface in the case of Siemens S7 controllers.

Secondly, software is needed to collect and evaluate this data. The solution for this: Our DataSuite software can collect your machine data in Excel files or databases. You can find a link to the free trial version at the end of the article.

Evaluate machine data in Excel, databases and PDF documents

Note: We have shown you in this article how you can generate Excel evaluations of your machine data: Write Excel files with a Siemens S7 PLC

 
Step 2: Report problems

Alerting and notification

Once the machine data has been connected, the error states of the machines can now be defined in the software as so-called “triggers”, i.e. trigger conditions. For example: A machine changes to the operating state “malfunction” and thus triggers a malfunction. This in turn triggers a notification by e-mail or SMS. After that, a service employee receives malfunction information on his smartphone or PC without delay.

DataSuite: The data center for machines and plants
Step 3: Act effectively and efficiently

React quickly and purposefully to malfunctions

So how can you reduce reaction times to faults even further? Not only by reporting a malfunction, but also by sending further important details to the service employee. These can be measured values, error texts directly from the system, or other information that is already available in the machine control system. With our software, you can even pack a diagnostic and error log as a PDF in the attachment of a malfunction e-mail.
Simple configuration of the error message in the DataSuite software

This enables the technician to take the necessary tools and, if required, spare parts directly with him on the first trip to the machine. This saves time, money and nerves.

We answer your questions

In a free video call with our experts on this topic, you can ask questions about your application and get useful background knowledge.

This is how it works:

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Think ahead: Monitor many machines

The machinery under control

We recommend a step-by-step approach to eventually connect the entire fleet of machines. Once the first machine has been successfully connected, you should also connect one machine after the other in order to monitor the entire machine park.

Even many machines can be easily connected with the DataSuite software

In summary, even large installations with several dozen machines, or even entire production sites, can be monitored and evaluated in this way. With the specially developed “DataCenter Edition” of the DataSuite, more than 100 machines and systems can be connected.

Conclusion

With the DataSuite software, you can easily monitor your machinery and quickly identify and fix problems. Downtimes can thus be reduced and the OEE is increased.

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How to use OPC-UA with a Windows client

How to use OPC-UA with a Windows client

In this article we will show you how OPC-UA works and how you can use it easily.

OPC-UA is meanwhile the internationally established industry standard for data exchange. This allows data from machines to be transferred and made usable.

What is OPC-UA?

As industry grows and becomes more digital, more and more data must be exchanged between machines and plants. Hardware and software must therefore work more closely together in order to be able to directly monitor industrial plants.


OPC-UA is an industrial protocol, the name stands for Open Platform Communications. The first version appeared in the fall of 2006 and has been constantly updated and expanded since then. The UA stands for Unified Architecture, which is the latest specification of OPC.

Exemplary structure of an OPC UA system

When networking machines and industrial plants, problems can always occur, for example due to different and incompatible interfaces of the machines. Many manufacturers and software providers use their own, so-called “proprietary” protocols. The result: no or only limited compatibility, security risks and high follow-up costs.

OPC-UA finally puts an end to this. Thanks to the industry standard, it is possible to use machine data consistently, securely and without disruptions. It is therefore a standard for communication among machines, but also between machines and PCs or servers. The industry standard connects production with the IT world. Databases, ERP systems and other IT systems can finally be connected securely and easily.

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Who uses OPC-UA?

Since the architecture is now the data standard in the industry, it is naturally also used by well-known companies and integrated into products, machines and systems.

Siemens, Honeywell, Microsoft, Beckhoff, SAP, Yokogawa, ABB, Rockwell, Schneider Electric, Wago, Iconics.

Why OPC-UA?

The industrial protocol has thus established itself on a broad front: many well-known companies use the data standard. But what is so good about it?

It is the industrial protocol of the future, since the infrastructure is maximally expandable and modifiable. Both OPC-UA data sources (e.g. industrial machines) and OPC-UA client applications can be exchanged flexibly. If required, even the server can be exchanged.

IT security is part of the industry standard. Your data is encrypted and your sessions are secured. In addition, the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) has conducted a security analysis and concluded that the data standard is very secure, while it allows targeted and controlled distribution of data.

OPC UA standardizes access to machines, devices and other systems. It is manufacturer and platform independent and therefore enables a similar exchange between machines, devices and other systems in the industrial environment. This means that older technologies can also be connected to newer ones without any problems, even if they come from different manufacturers. This results in high flexibility and compatibility.

As you can see, the communication protocol offers useful features to make better and safer use of machine data. But what data is actually in the control system of a machine? Typically, this valuable data can be found in machines and plants:

Note: OPC-UA is not the only way to use machine data. In the article “PLC-PC data exchange: Without OPC server?” we have compared the industry standard with an alternative.

What are the advantages of OPC-UA?

What advantages does the communication protocol offer? Is it worth purchasing or converting? In many cases, it does. Let it be the IT security in production, which is increased, or also the future viability by avoiding vendor lock-in effects. The Siemens S7 world also benefits, since optimized data blocks are now easily and securely accessible.

More data security in production

Data security with OPC-UA

The communication protocol can be operated both encrypted and secured, as well as unencrypted. In order to comply with today's usual security standards, you should only connect your machines and systems in encrypted form.

Avoid vendor lock-in effects

What is a vendor lock-in?

With vendor lock-in, a customer cannot easily use equivalent solutions for products or services. This is usually because products from different companies are incompatible.

Use optimized data blocks

Reading and writing optimized data blocks

Simply use optimized Siemens S7 data blocks or connect controllers from other manufacturers.

What do I need to be able to use OPC-UA?

The basic requirement for use is a network based on the Internet Protocol (IP). This is the case with the usual Ethernet technology and thus also Profinet. In addition, of course, you need a machine or plant with a programmable logic controller (PLC).

All modern Siemens S7 controllers support the architecture, but which controllers can you use? We recommend a Siemens S7-1500, alternatively you can use a S7-1200 (with limitations) or an ET 200. More about this further down in the article.

The communication is based on the client – server principle. With an installed OPC client a connection to an OPC server can be established. In this example we use the DataSuite software on a PC as OPC-UA client. The PLC acts as OPC-UA server.

What is needed:

As you can see, you don’t need much to use the communication protocol. As a client, we use the DataSuite software. You can find a free 30-day trial version here: DataSuite trial


In the next step, you will learn how to configure in TIA Portal.

Configuration in TIA-Portal

To use the communication protocol with a Siemens S7 you have to configure it first. But this is very simple. Here you get it explained step by step.

For the communication, the PLC acts as OPC-UA server. You must first activate this in your controller. To be able to read and write variables with a client, you must first set up a server interface in the TIA Portal.

To activate the server of the PLC, a runtime license from Siemens is required. The exact license depends on your PLC. The upper field shows the required license, while you select the respective license in the lower field.

OPC-UA-Runtime-Lizenz von Siemens auswählen
Selection of the license in TIA Portal

The communication with controllers of the type S7-1200 is different to the S7-1500 controllers. To be able to use variables, you must create corresponding server interfaces in the S7-1200 beforehand.

S7 1200 SPS
Siemens S7-1200

Limited functionality with S7-1200 controllers

The OPC UA server of an S7-1200 offers significantly fewer functions than of an S7-1500. These limitations bring disadvantages in the application, but the communication still works without problems.

To establish an OPC-UA connection to your PLC, you have to configure some settings in the PLC.

To do this, open the settings of the PLC and select the OPC UA option. There you can activate the OPC-UA server and the standard SIMATIC server interface. Below that you can change the port of the connection (default: 4840).

Activate OPC-UA in TIA Portal

In the menu item Security you will find the endpoints offered by the PLC. These differ in the respective security settings. Deactivate the endpoints that are not required here. We recommend that you use a signed and encrypted connection.

Selection of security settings

Now your PLC should be ready for use as OPC server. In the next step we will explain how to configure the OPC-UA Client (DataSuite).

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In a live online demonstration, we will go into detail about the individual functions and answer any questions you may have. Together we will find out whether DataSuite 3 is suitable for your needs.

Configuration of DataSuite as OPC-UA Client

Now you need a PC or a virtual machine with DataSuite software installed. If you have activated the OPC-UA Server as described above, you can establish an OPC-UA connection to your S7 PLC using DataSuite.

To create a new PLC connection in the software, select the “Controllers” item in the menu on the left. There you will find the [MB] simulator for testing, but in our case we want to set up a real PLC connection. Therefore please select “Create new PLC” and then choose the connection type “OPC-UA”.

After that you automatically reach the configuration of the OPC-UA connection. There you can select different security profiles and set a user name with password, which you have defined before in TIA.

edit plc opc-ua connection
Setting the OPC UA connection

Now test the connection with the button provided for this purpose and then save. Now you can import variables and use them as you wish throughout the program.

OPC-UA-Variablen auswählen
Select OPC-UA variables

But what to do with the data or variables? In this example, we save them in an Excel file as a log. Please read our article “It works that easy: Writing Excel files with the Siemens S7” how you can easily use this OPC data for Excel files.

The result could look like this: A temperature curve in Excel via OPC-UA from a Siemens S7 PLC:

temperature trend excel
Exemplary representation of OPC-UA machine data in Excel

Much more information and setting options can be found in the DataSuite software manual, which is included in the download. There you can find detailed instructions with screenshots.

Further information and assistance free of charge from our support team:

Phone: +49 2742 72927 83
E-Mail: [email protected]

Conclusion

Modern Siemens S7 controllers come with an integrated OPC-UA server. With the [MB] DataSuite software as OPC-UA client for Windows,  you can connect your machines and plants via OPC-UA, evaluate and use data. Client and server form the basis for a future-proof, secure and reliable networking of your production.

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S7 1200 SPS

Scan for S7 controllers in your network

Scan for S7 controllers in your network

You may know the problem: You simply do not know the IP address of your Siemens S7 anymore. We can now provide a remedy for this issue. We will show you an easy S7 network scan.

S7 1200 SPS

Simply scan for all available Simatic S7 PLCs in your local network. A scan via a VPN is also possible. With the free PLC scanner software, you can see every connected S7 PLC in seconds, incl. IP address and further info.

Setup

What you need for scanning

The setup is quite simple. You need:

PC with Windows 10 or 11
Connection from this PC to the control network
Scan software

Setup S7 network scan

Of course, one or more S7 PLCs are also required. This can be any model of the Siemens S7 series. It is important that the PLC CPU has a Profinet connection, alternatively a CP, e.g. a CP 343-1 lean is suitable.

How to do it

Perform scan

The actual scan is done via Ethernet, so RPC 1006, sometimes called S7 direct. We assume Siemens S7 controllers in this article. This tutorial works for S7 300, S7 400, S7 1200, S7 1500 and similar products from Siemens or Vipa.

With our network scan software, the “PLC Scanner”, you can now scan for controllers in the network. To do this, simply select the menu item “Network” in the left navigation.

Network scan of S7 controllers

You have the choice whether you simply want to scan automatically in the connected network, or whether you want to perform a manual scan in a network that is hidden, perhaps behind a router.

Especially for larger networks, or if you scan over a VPN, you should specify the network manually. Under such circumstances, routing must also be taken into account.

Single S7 scan

Read out details

If the result list of the network scan does not provide you with enough details, then you can also read out an individual PLC completely. To do this, select the “Scan” menu item in the navigation.

Measurements can be easily performed with the free PLC Scanner software

The following data is displayed:

scan yourself

Download for free

If you want to scan your network for S7 controllers yourself, just fill out this form and we will send you the download link to the software by mail.

Conclusion

With the PLC-Scanner software, you can easily and quickly find S7 CPUs in your network. Details of the individual CPUs can also be read out. The setup is simple and the software is free of charge.

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PLC PC Data Exchange: Without OPC Server?

PLC PC Data Exchange: Without OPC Server?

When it comes to the data exchange between the PC world and the automation world, there is no way around an OPC server, right? The remaining question is: Use OPC UA, or not? What are the alternatives? Learn more in this article.

Faster data exchange without OPC UA

Especially relevant for S7 1200 CPUs

Some advantages of a direct ProfiNet (RFC1006) connection are obvious:

Not quite as obvious, however, is the speed advantage of a direct connection without OPC UA, especially compared to the now outdated OPC DA. We have performed a series of measurements with an S7 1212 CPU and determined how fast a direct data connection from a PC to the S7 can be:

Speed measurement with an S7 1212C

The diagram shows how fast it can be. We measured the speed with a S7-1200 CPU with data sets of different sizes. The data records are read from a data block and written to an Excel file. The times here are well below 200ms per data set. It should be noted that a large part of the time is required for writing to the Excel file. Pure data transfer via Ethernet is much faster.

How fast is the data transfer in your S7 project?

It depends on these factors

The transmission time or the speed depends on many factors: PLC CPU, program workload, network, PC speed, etc. With a fast S7-1500 CPU and almost ideal conditions we could realize transfer times in the range of 1 ms. The S7-1200 used here for the measurement is of course slower. There the pure transmission times are about 10 to 12 ms.

You notice: It is not trivial to answer this question. We will be happy to advise you free of charge and without obligation and answer specific questions about your project and your plans.

We answer your questions

In a free video call with our experts on this topic, you can ask questions about your application and get useful background knowledge.

This is how it works:

  1. Click on “Start appointment booking
  2. Select content and date/time
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Profinet and OPC UA in comparison

Comparing a direct S7 connection (RFC 1006) and OPC UA

A lot has happened in the meantime with the new OPC UA standard. Many problems of the old OPC DA have been solved. So it is still a small effort to install an OPC UA server on a Siemens S7 PLC, but it is much easier than in former OPC DA days.

A big advantage of OPC UA compared to a direct S7 connection is the security. With OPC UA you can easily establish encrypted data connections to Siemens S7 PLCs. This can be done by user name and password, and also with a certificate.

S7 direkt

vs

OPC UA

One solution for Profinet and OPC UA

No matter whether you decide for a direct S7 connection (Profinet) or for OPC UA: With our DataSuite software you are well positioned. After you have connected the PLC to the PC, you will hardly notice the difference between OPC UA and a direct S7 connection via RPC 1006.

OPC UA connection settings in the DataSuite software

PC connection via OPC has never been easier. The DataSuite software acts as OPC UA client for Windows and provides you with OPC data from the connected S7 controllers as documents. These can be PDFs, Excel files or HTML files. Alternatively, an export and import with SQL databases is possible.

Conclusion

The days of OPC DA are over. If you want to focus on security and future viability in machine connectivity today, there is no getting around OPC UA. Alternatively, there is the possibility to save costs with an S7 direct connection to still ensure a good data exchange.

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It works that easy: Write Excel files with the Siemens S7

It works that easy: Write Excel files with the Siemens S7

Unfortunately, it is not possible to write real Excel files with a Siemens S7. In this article, we will show you how you can still achieve your goal and create first-class xlsx-documents with your PLC.

It's that easy:

Create real Excel files with a S7 PLC

In this context, Siemens likes to refer to the possibility of creating “Excel-compatible” files with the help of WinCC. What is meant here are CSV files. These are a relic of the last century. They do not offer much more than a line-based storage of values. It is possible to import them into Excel, but something else is nice.

But nowadays, customers expect a proper layout in the form of a real Excel file (xlsx). Sometimes they even make concrete specifications regarding logo, colors, or fonts.

But don’t worry, we have found a good solution for this task.

Forget about csv

Only real Excel files can do that

Formulas or charts are often used. Thus, it is easy to design an Excel template with a measured value representation in the form of line or bar charts. In addition, Excel offers a whole range of other features that are only possible with real Excel files.

The result could for example look like this:

Excel file with chart created from machine data

Advantages of Excel files over CSV files

How to create Excel files with the S7

With our software DataSuite 3 (formerly SPSDataReader), you can easily create these and other Excel files with your Siemens S7 PLC. The program reads data blocks (DB) from your S7 and creates real Excel files from them. Your controller can read and write an unlimited number of different Excel files. In the same way, several controllers can also write to one file.

You don’t need WinCC, no installed Excel program, no OPC server. Just install DataSuite on a PC with Ethernet connection, configure, done. This is how easy it is to write Excel data with an S7 controller. You can find a free 30-day trial version here: DataSuite trial

Configuration in DataSuite

It is actually as simple as it sounds. After installing DataSuite, you can create an Excel file and configure it. DataSuite can read and write Excel files, but here we will focus on the writing process.

First, you need to create an Excel file where the values should be written. To do this, click on the “Excel files” menu option. Then click on “Create new file”, the number of possible files is unlimited. Now you can create an xlsx-file, which you can configure on this page:

edit xlsx file in DataSuite
Edit xlsx file in DataSuite

Once you have successfully created and configured the file, you can create a trigger. A trigger triggers under certain conditions and then executes a desired action.

Since we want to write an Excel file with the Siemens S7, click on “Trigger” on the left and edit the trigger “Write data record”.

write data record in DataSuite
Trigger configuration in DataSuite software: Assigning Excel cells to S7 variables

Now you can freely configure the trigger and assign Excel cells to S7 variables. Of course, you can also add more actions in the trigger. We have already prepared the most important machine applications with Excel files for you. Choose your application from different templates:

templates writing excel files
Selection of an Excel template in the DataSuite software

Much more information and setting options can be found in the DataSuite software manual, which is included in the download. There you can find detailed instructions with screenshots.

Further information and assistance free of charge from our support team:

Phone: +49 2742 72927 83
E-Mail: [email protected]

Conclusion

Creating first-class Excel files with a Siemens S7 PLC is no longer witchcraft nowadays. With the right software, even beginners can automatically generate Excel reports of machines and plants.

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Test all functions free of charge for 30 days. You will receive a mail with download link for instant use.

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