Kepware partnerships solidify hardware/software connectivity

Manufacturers need information from equipment and lines on the plant floor, but the prevalent issue that remains connectivity between hardware and software. That's where Kepware Technologies, a leader in embedded device communications for automation, has made a name for itself. Roy Kok, a Kepware VP, says two new programs in particular allow hardware vendors to leverage Kepware's OPC and device...
By Jim Fulcher, contributing editor (jimfulcher@comcast.net) September 1, 2008

Manufacturers need information from equipment and lines on the plant floor, but the prevalent issue that remains connectivity between hardware and software. That’s where Kepware Technologies , a leader in embedded device communications for automation, has made a name for itself.

Roy Kok, a Kepware VP, says two new programs in particular allow hardware vendors to leverage Kepware’s OPC and device communications architecture to deliver device connectivity.

Roy Kok, a VP for Kepware, says two new partner programs allow hardware vendors to leverage Kepware’s OPC and device communications architecture to deliver device connectivity.

In the first program, Vendor Managed Protocols, the hardware vendor developed the plug-in driver to Kepware’s KEPServerEX offering. In the other program, Vendor Endorsed Protocols, the hardware vendor shared its unique protocol information and feature requirements with Kepware, and Kepware’s engineering team then develops the solution for the vendor.

As a systems integrator, Chris Kerwood, president of Engineered Controls , says being able to use a Kepware device driver rather than search for one or develop custom coding translates into big cost savings for clients. “Our implementation time is shorter, which reduces our costs and leads to faster returns for manufacturers,” Kerwood claims.

Case-in-point is Brewster, Ohio-based Brewster Dairy , which is using a new packing line that employs a manufacturing solution from Wonderware, and Kepware drivers that communicate at high speed with printers, scanners, and scales.

“We have accountability because Kepware supports the drivers and keeps them up-to-date,” says Kerwood. “And since the driver is a standard offering, equipment changes can be made without coding changes.”