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Newsletter Issue # 25

Real Time Automation's - Best Darn Newsletter 


IN THIS ISSUE
Dear Class of 2015...
OPC UA Transports
Fun Facts and Trivia


STEAL OF THE MONTH...
Get a free RTA tape measure this month only!

Take our quick, 5 question survey by August 28th to claim your steal of the month!

rtaautomation.com/steal


SIDE BLOGS
July 2015
Industrial Ethernet Security
July 2015
EtherNet/IP DLL
May 2015
Cyber Physical Systems (CPS)
May 2015
The Next Industrial Revolution



 

AUTOMATION INSERT

Practical tips and information for young engineers. This issue, featuring:

- The Internet of Things.

 

 





Dear Class of 2015...


A Column of personal opinion by John Rinaldi, Founder and Owner of Real Time Automation.

No, not Harvard, MIT or Stanford. Not my alma maters - Connecticut or Marquette. Ditto for my high school and elementary school. Not even the plumbing school down the road invited me to make a commencement address. So I stand here, all dressed, address in hand with no place to go.

But if I had been asked, here’s what I would have said.

Class of 2015, faculty, parents and honored guests, I am grateful for this invitation to speak to you today. Thank you for having me. I will endeavor to say something that might be remembered tomorrow morning as the results of tonight’s revelry manifest themselves.

I come here today with two purposes in mind. One to make this speech short and succinct so you can begin that revelry. And two, to welcome you to the real world and provide you with some rules of the road so that you have a better chance of staying on course.

Today is obviously an end, but it’s more of a beginning. At the risk of overusing Sir Winston Churchill’s oft-repeated quote, “For you, today is certainly not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end but for you, today, is certainly the end of your beginning.” It’s now a time in which you will have to fend for yourself. Starting today there won’t be folks around to protect you from disappointment, to cheer your every action, to ease your pain, cater to your happiness and plan for your future. Today you begin to walk the difficult road of life.

I’ll be honest with you. It’s a road filled with disappointments. You may unfairly lose a job, a business or a home. You may be devastated by a lost love. It’s pretty much guaranteed that illness and death will strike those close to you. Many other serious and not so serious tragedies will befall you. However, on that road you also find laughter, passion, beauty, happiness, and, if you’re lucky, love. In other words, starting today you’re going to experience life and its wondrous variety of disappointments and delights.

Kipling said much the same in his famous poem when he said that we must meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two impostors the same. There’s truth in that. There’s truth in approaching life with that kind of equanimity. But there’s more that you need to know. Much more. Today, in the interest of brevity I am endeavoring to communicate to you the one key concept, above all others, that can do more for you than anything else I might say if we had hours and hours together.

Let me start by introducing you to a woman by the name of Lauren Prezioso. A woman on a beach, on a fine Monday afternoon in New South Wales, Australia. When a mother on the beach screamed that her two sons were drowning in the strong current, Lauren Prezioso fearlessly rushed into the water to battle the dangerous undertow. She saved those two young lives. All the more extraordinary as 22 days later she brought her own son into the world. Yes, she was nine months pregnant!

A hero. No doubt about it. But heroes are something unfashionable, something that’s been diminished in our culture. It’s common today to denigrate our heroes, past and present. The Founding fathers? Slave owners. That preacher over there? Had an affair. This sport star? He treated his child badly. That soldier. Well, there was this other soldier that committed an awful crime.

The truth is that all our heroes are real people and real people have feet of clay. But when we focus on that, we rob ourselves of the wisdom, inspiration, example and call to action that heroes like Lauren Prezioso provide.

Heroes are ordinary people that in a critical moment do extraordinary things. Sometimes, they change history, even world history. Take Alvin York. France 1918. The battle of the Meuse Argonne was raging. 554 men of the 77th US Infantry were lost behind enemy lines and Alvin York, today famously known as Sargent York, and his platoon were searching for them. With many of the men in his platoon killed or wounded, Alvin York, the conscientious objector, the man who would under no circumstance take a life, defiantly attacked a machine gun nest. He killed 32 German soldiers and captured 132 others to save the lives of his men. That incident was a key to a larger, more pivotal battle that changed the battlefield and likely changed the course of the war and the world.

There are many, many other examples of heroes. 22 year old Engineering student John Meis, armed only with a can of mace, attacks and subdues a gunman at Seattle Pacific University saving countless lives. Train Conductor Robert Mohr, realizing it would be impossible to stop his train before hitting 19 month old Emily Marshall, fearlessly climbs on to the front of his train and manages to kick her safely out of the way of his 6,000 ton train. Or our courageous Marines and Army soldiers that loosely place tourniquets around their limbs as they prepare for patrol. They so value the lives of their fellow soldiers that even a missing limb won’t keep them from fighting alongside their brother soldier.

All heroes. All worthy of our admiration, honor, awe, reverence and respect.

What led to these acts of heroism? Were these people just born to be heroes? Are they somehow different from those of us in this room today?

David Brooks, the famous New York Times Columnist, calls the virtues of these heroes, Eulogy virtues. Those are the virtues that we want to be spoken about us at our wake. We all want Eulogy virtues – courage, faith, friendship, compassion and more – but we often instead, focus on our resume virtues – the skills that we bring to the marketplace. Unlike resume virtues, Eulogy virtues are built slowly, over time with moral and spiritual decisions.

Return for a moment to Sergeant York. Alvin York was no saint. Born into the hardscrabble back country of Kentucky, eking out a living on the no good earth, knife fights, womanizing and hard drinking were more his life than heroism.

That ended on New Year’s Day of 1915. Alvin noticed pretty Gracie Williams whose father was the church pastor. The only way to see Gracie was to attend Church, so on Jan 1 1915, Alvin attended. And during the service he was so profoundly moved by the pastor’s words that he became a Christian. It wasn’t easy but he gave up the womanizing. Gave up the drinking. Gave up the fighting. He resolved to make better decisions.

It was difficult. Very difficult. He struggled with it each day. Each day in which he overcame temptation, unbeknownst to him, strengthened his self-control. As his temperance, pacifism and faith grew, he grew comfortable living with integrity. He faced many conflicts between his old life and his new one but he overcame them with resolve and faith.

That’s the secret. The secret of heroism. Know your values and live them. Live your life with the values you cherish. Live with integrity every day. Start with simple decisions. A simple decision to return a lost wallet. A simple decision, even if just for a day, to tell the truth. Honor your marital vows. Show up for work on time and work the entire day. Those simple decisions build the self-control muscle that strengthens and fortifies you for the really hard ones. If you do that and you ever have an Alvin or a Lauren moment when you have to charge ahead under fire, you’ll be ready and you just might, change the world.

Thank You. Good Luck and Godspeed.

 

- John

 

Trivia

· How many American flags are located on the moon?

· What document was the legal framework of the United States?

· The Declaration of Independence begins with what words?

· What is the estimated population of the 13 colonies on July 4, 1776?

· What is the world record for the number of hot dogs eaten in the famous 4th of July Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest? Bonus point for naming the record holder.

 

 

Answers located on bottom of page.

OPC UA Transports

What’s interesting about OPC UA transports is the variety that is offered. Server devices can support a low end, high throughput, insecure transport layer or a highly secure, certificate-based, processor intensive transport. It’s entirely up to the server designer which transport to choose and how many different transports to support as they are not limited to a single transport.

Client devices, on the other hand, need to be much more sophisticated. A client device must not only support all the various varieties of transport layers to ensure that they can access any kind of server, they also must have the ability to interrogate a server (or an aggregating server) about what kind of transports are supported.

What Do You Need to Know?
Once an OPC UA application forms a UA message or a response, it must send it somewhere. Transports are the low level mechanisms for moving those serialized messages from one place to another. The UA specification defines a number of transports that clients must support. A quick overview of each follows.

SOAP / HTTP TRANSPORTS
HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol) is the connectionless, stateless, request-response protocol that you use every time you access a web page (the “http” in http://www.rtaautomation.com/). HTTP is the standard way that a client can request data like HTML files, images and query results from a server.

SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) is an XML messaging protocol that provides a mechanism for applications to encode messages to other applications. An application can encode a SOAP request that asks another application to perform a service or return data.

When used as an OPC UA transport, OPC UA requests and responses are encoded as SOAP requests that can be easily decoded by standard mechanisms of many IT type applications.

HTTPS TRANSPORT
Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is the secure version of HTTP. When you see a web URL that is preceded by “https:” it means that all communications between your browser and that website are encrypted. Just as with HTTP, SOAP is used as the request response protocol to move the OPC UA requests between clients and servers.

UA TCP TRANSPORT
UA TCP is a simple TCP-based protocol designed for Server devices that lack the resources to implement XML encoding and HTTP / SOAP type transports. UA TCP uses binary encoding and a simple message structure that can be implemented on low end servers.

What’s The OPC UA Advantage?
The advantage to OPC UA is that it is the first information technology that can EASILY interoperate at both the machine control communications level and in Enterprises. Most other technologies are designed for a specific application. OPC UA is more flexible in that it can provide connectivity at any level of an automation architecture.

This isn’t to say that OPC UA is “better” than EtherNet/IP, ProfiNet IO or Modbus TCP. That’s not the case. For moving IO data around a machine, these protocols provide the right combination of transports, functionality and simplicity that enable machine control with networked I/O. They are very good technologies for the machine control level of the automation hierarchy.

What is in dispute is how well these technologies can be adapted to communicate with the Enterprise. Even though the trade organizations that promote these technologies make that argument, the simple fact is that all networked factory floor communication protocols that are optimized for the factory floor are not very well suited for moving information between a machine cell and an enterprise application. They lack the data representation, data formats, communication interfaces and services that adapt well to IT-like kind of Enterprise applications.

What Are The Details?
Many of the common Industrial Automation (IA) protocol technologies limit the available transports. There is good reason for this. IA devices operate in a very organized, well-defined technology space with devices that are designed to work well with each other. There is no need for a wide selection of transports. In IA, devices that want to communicate with programmable controllers must use the transport that is defined for the communication technology supported by that brand of programmable controller (PLC).

The transports for an Information Technology like OPC UA are not limited like this. The technology space where OPC UA can operate is much broader and requires support for many different transports or the possibility of custom or proprietary transports. OPC UA devices can be anything from a factory floor sensor or actuator to a programmable controller to a human interface device to a Windows server operating a massive Oracle database or an undersea pipeline controller. Many more transports are required to support the wide range of devices in UA and support its mission of being a completely scalable solution.

The Internet has a set of mechanisms that are pretty universal and have made it easy for different computers on the web to move data. The reason that’s true is that on the Internet, there are well-defined sets of protocols and web interfaces that make that sort of seamless communication possible. It’s what makes the web so incredibly valuable to our efforts to not only buy books on making Fluffy roll over, but to stay in touch with Aunt Sophie and rate the crème brulee we ate last night.

The plumbing that makes that all happen is new to us Industrial Automation guys. But if we’re going to work in a world where IT sort of runs the factory floor and wants a lot of information from our machines, we’re going to have to understand how they work.

One of the first things to come to terms with is something called SOA. That stands for Service Oriented Architecture. It’s a fancy term for nodes on the web where a computer can come to that node and ask it a bunch of questions. A computer can ask questions like “Who are you?”, “What kinds of data do you have?” and “How can I get your data?”

It’s pretty nice, and when implemented, it’s called Web Services. It means that there is a standard way of how computers on the web talk to one another. It’s the “language” of the web.

The connections that OPC UA has adopted that make the web so universally useful are the SOAP / HTTP TRANSPORT and the SOAP / HTTPS TRANSPORT that we looked at earlier.

For devices that have limited memory, UA provides a different transport for moving data from one place to another. It’s called UA TCP because it’s specific to UA and uses standard TCP for the connection layer.

All clients and servers use UA TCP. UA TCP is a simple TCP-based protocol designed for server devices that lack the resources to implement XML encoding and HTTP / SOAP type transports. UA TCP uses binary encoding and a simple message structure that can be implemented on low end servers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fun Facts

·8 of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence were born in Britain.

·Though most Americans spean English, we have no official language.

·Virginia has birthed more US presidents than any other state.

·1 out of 3 hot dogs produced in the US come from Iowa.

·The Liberty Bell origionally had nothing to do with July 4th. It wasn't called the "Liberty Bell" until the 1830s, which is also when it got its famous crack.

 

 

  Trivia Answers: 6 Flags; The Constitution; "When in the course of human events"; About 2.5 Million; 69 Hot Dogs - Joey Chestnut
   

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