Ignition 8 and Sepasoft

Episode 2: Flatten-the-Stack Webinar Series

46-minute video  //  35-minute read

Ignition 8 and Sepasoft Overview

This month we’ll be talking about how the Sepasoft MES modules work on the new Ignition 8 platform, just in time for ICC 2019! Learn about:

  1. How the MES modules fit into the new Ignition project structure
  2. Best practices for upgrading from Ignition 7.9 to Ignition 8.0 with the Sepasoft MES modules installed
  3. How Sepasoft’s resources are stored on disk in Ignition 8
  4. How to implement Sepasoft scripting functions within Perspective Views

PLUS: A super-secret sneak preview of the MES components in Perspective!

Excited to learn more? Reach out to us to schedule a live demo today!

Schedule a Demo

Ignition 8 and Sepasoft Transcript

Keith Adair (0:00)
Hi folks, welcome to the webinar. We’ll get started in just a minute here, thank you for attending.

Tom Hechtman (1:35)
Hello everyone, this is Tom Hechtman, I think that most of you know me. So we’re Keith’s webinar here, Flattening the Stack with Keith, and he’ll be going over Ignition 8 and Sepasoft, the modules, using them with Ignition 8 and different aspects of that. So, with that, I will turn it over to Keith.

Keith Adair (2:00)
All right, thank you, Tom. Good afternoon, folks. My name is Keith Adair, I am the MES Product Manager here for Sepasoft, and like Tom said, we’ll be talking all about Ignition 8 and our Sepasoft modules.

But just really quickly here, we call this “Flattening the Stack” because that’s what we’re all about here at Sepasoft. We have your traditional Purdue model with your ERP level, your MES layer, and your control layer; we’re all about bringing those closer together. Helping you communicate more effectively your on-the-floor results up to your higher-level systems, and keeping those systems well in sync. That’s what we do here.

Just really quick, we’re Sepasoft. We were incorporated in 2003. We are one of Ignition’s two Third-Party Module Partners, and we develop and support the MES modules for Ignition. And we pride ourselves on being very scalable, from local to enterprise-level architectures and being very flexible and scalable. And we are also, of course, based on the ISA-95 standard, and just like Ignition, we are very cross-platform compatible, configurable, and all of those good things.

Now, just as a quick preview for the coming year here, this is I’m sure of interest to you folks, this is our upcoming development roadmap. As you can see, we have a bunch of stuff stacked up here for the end of this year and the beginning of next year. Of course, next week is our annual Ignition Community Conference, and we’re very excited about that. I’m sure I’ll see some of the folks I see attending here at that conference.

But as you can see, we are very close to releasing our Business Connector module, which we hope to do next week during the conference, along with our Phase I of our Perspective components. In addition, we are very close to a release of our Platform 3.0 upgrade to our MES platform.

Down the road, we have a module that some of you may not of heard of, it’s called the Document Management Module. It’s about the maintenance of work order instructions and safety data sheets and things like that, in tandem with your MES objects. We have OEE Lite coming up very shortly. And then, we also have the Platform 3.0 upgrades for SPC and Recipe.

Down the road, we’ll have more Perspective components. And then yet further down the road, about this time next year, we should have our Batch module ready to go. Finally, for the 2021 calendar year, we’re aiming for a Maintenance Management module. And if you have questions about any of this, please feel free to toss that into the questions section, and I’ll be happy to answer them towards the end here. But let’s keep moving, alright.

Okay, so just so you folks know, and I’m sure this is old news to most of you, we are just yet another set of modules for Ignition. So, we just act as another tool in your Ignition toolkit. So, our goal is to be a pretty seamless part of the experience here. And then, you folks know this spiel, and of course, we’ll hear all about this next week at the conference, Inductive Automation was founded in 2003. It’s used by 48% of Fortune 100 companies. You guys know this detail.

Alright, let’s get to it. So today’s topic is Ignition 8 and the Sepasoft modules. Today, we’ll go over best practices for upgrading from Ignition 7.9 to Ignition 8.0, with the Sepasoft MES modules installed. We’ll talk about how the MES modules fit into the new Ignition project structure. And we’ll talk about how our resources are stored on disk in Ignition 8. We’ll implement some Sepasoft scripting functions within Perspective views. And then maybe, towards the end, we’ll show an early preview of the Perspective components for Ignition 8.

All right. So on Ignition 8 there are several changes that affect the use of our MES modules. One, there’s a major change in the project structure. There’s no more Global projects. So, if you recall, and I even have my Gateway up here, our Production Model lived up here in the Global section. Well, Global is gone, so we had to move that somewhere else, and we’ll explain where in just a minute. There’s a change in how project files are stored. There is no internal database any longer, at least not where our projects go. Rather, they are stored on disk. And, finally, we have the Perspective module. It’s a new visualization module that I’m sure you folks have seen and played with, that enables mobile screen implementation of our modules. And we’ll talk a bit about that.

Now, there were many other changes in Ignition 8 that affected our developers greatly, and they struggled with that a bunch, but we got that done. Changes to how the tags worked, how the OPC driver worked, but those didn’t result in changes that you folks had to experience. So, these are the ones that are user-facing changes.

So my first task is I want to show you folks best practices for upgrading from Ignition 7 to Ignition 8, with the MES modules installed. So it’s a few-step process, but it should not be too complex. First, prior to this call, I have backed up my MES database, I’ve backed up my Gateway, so that’s an important prerequisite. Make sure you back up those two things. Pre-download the 8.0-compatible MES modules. Stop the Ignition Service. Initialize the upgrade. And then, when prompted, replace the 7.9-compatible MES modules with 8.0-compatible MES modules. And then, we can navigate to the project to find the Production Model.

So let me go ahead and get going on that here. So first, we’re going to close my Designer, of course. And I’ll just go ahead and exit there. And, oops, and we’ll want escape and minimize. Okay, so, first we’re going to find our Services tool, and we’re going to go ahead and stop the Ignition Service if we can find it. There we go, and we’ll go ahead and stop it. And that can take just a little bit here. And as you can see, I’ve prepared the Ignition 8 modules on my desktop here. And I have the Installer ready to go. So now the Ignition Gateway has been stopped, we can minimize that out of the way, and we can launch the Ignition 8.0 Installer here, and we’ll go ahead and approve that change. And it will, of course, prompt us that we’re already running Ignition. It’s found where Ignition is installed, and it’s prompting me to continue with the upgrade. I will say yes, of course.

Okay, now it says, correctly, that the following modules can’t be updated automatically, and it’s all of our modules, OEE, Production, Recipe, SPC, Trace, and Web Services. And it prompts us to go find the modules and replace them. So, I’m going to open two directories here. First, I’m going to find my Ignition data, oops I’m sorry, Ignition, User Lib, Modules Directory. And I’m going to remove our modules, OEE, Production, Recipe, SPC, Trace, Web Services; I’m going to remove all of those. And we’re going to grab all the Ignition 8 modules, and we’re just going to drop them in there. And it will prompt us to approve that move, and now we have the modules.

Go ahead and close those windows, and hit yes to continue with the upgrade. It notices, “The upgrader detected a platform version change. If I’ve not updated the license, the modules will return to trial mode.” So, I think I have it licensed, so we should be okay, but either way, we’ll start a trial, that’s okay too. And we’ll hit yes. Okay, and we’ll step through the Setup Wizard. We’re going to upgrade the currently installed modules and now it goes to work.

And this takes just a little bit here. I learned from the best here, this is an old Travis move, is to do the install over the call, because it happens remarkably quickly, so it shouldn’t take us to long here.

Tom Hechtman (10:23)
And, while we’re waiting for that, Keith, one question. I noticed you stopped the service first?

Keith Adair (10:27) 

Tom Hechtman (10:29)

Keith Adair (10:30) 
Because the Java executable will hold onto those modules until I stop the service. So, if I attempt to remove those modules without stopping Ignition, Windows won’t let me do it.

Tom Hechtman (10:42)
Okay, and I imagine if you start up the new Ignition 8, and the old modules are in there, that’s a problem then, and they’ll go into a fault mode.

Keith Adair (10:52)
That’s right. So you absolutely want to do that upgrade when it prompts you like we just did.

Tom Hechtman (10:56)

Keith Adair (10:57)
We’ll go ahead and hit finish to start Ignition now. We get this nice little terminal telling us, “Hey we’re starting the Ignition Gateway service.” And up comes my window, “Welcome to Ignition version 8.0.3.” We agree to the terms and conditions. And we’re going to keep the same HTTP ports and HTTPS ports. And start the Gateway. And this also takes a minute, so if you have any more convenient questions, Tom, now is the time.

Tom Hechtman (11:29)
I do have one. Back on the roadmap, there’s a whole bunch of things that are showing now. Where are they at? Are they done being developed? Where are they at?

Keith Adair (11:37)
Good question. The Business Connector module is seeing its last fixes today. We’re very excited about it, we’re going to release it officially next week. The Perspective components, well you’ll see them… They are in a near completion state but not final. So, that’ll be maybe a couple more weeks. In about that same time frame, we’ll get the Platform 3.0 updates to our MES modules. And then a little bit later… so all that stuff that was stacked up right about now, should all be in this next quarter, is kind of the goal here.

Tom Hechtman (12:12)

Keith (12:14)
Some sooner than others.

And, look at that, it voided my trial, my license. That’s okay, we’ll just go ahead and start the trial back up. Alright, so now we have a running gateway. We have the upgraded modules, right? Our MES modules and they’re all running, so that means we did a good job there. So, we should be in good shape here. And I just wanted to go ahead and, let’s see… let’s go back to the presentation here, and take a look at where we are.

We’re going to go ahead and launch the Designer and find the MESGateway projects, so let’s do that. We’ll head here. And to open the Designer, of course, we go to the Designer Launcher, so that’s I’m sure something you folks are familiar with. And we’ll hit launch here. And you’ll notice when we get this menu up here, that we’re going to have a new project. So, I’ll log in with admin and password here.

Alright, so we have our existing MES product that I had built before today, that had my components in it. And we have the MESGateway project. So let’s go ahead-

Tom Hechtman (13:27)Tom Hechtman:
So that’s created automatically during the upgrade?

Keith Adair (13:32)
Yes. Yes, and, in fact, I think that’s my next slide. Let’s pop back in here. Okay, so how do the MES modules and their resources fit into the new Ignition project structure?

By default, the production model exists in the MESGateway project. That gets created automatically upon upgrade to Ignition 8. Now, what’s different about our modules in Ignition 8, is that you can only make changes to the production model from that MESGateway project. Now, you can choose another project if you want to, for those to go into, that’s in a different menu on the Gateway webpage. But by default, you only make changes to that production model in that MESGateway project. However, you can implement the MES visual components from any project.

Let’s show you that here. So, we’ll go here. And we’ll go ahead and we’ll open the MESGateway project. And let me go ahead and close out of the presentation here. All right, launching our Designer. Okay, yeah, here we go. And as you can see, there’s nothing in Vision, there’s nothing in Perspective, these are empty, but we do… let’s see, oh, where is that?

Uh-oh. Hey, we love a live demo here, folks. I don’t see our production section here. Very cool. Let me make sure I did that right. MESGateway… yeah, well that’s great. I did a dry run of this immediately prior to this call, so that’s always fun. Let’s take a look, yeah, that’s right. Let’s go ahead and do a Production Module restart. I did a dry run of this, and let’s see what happened. So, let’s see. MESGateway, so we’re okay there. Hang on just a moment here folks. Well, this is fun. So, what I did here folks, just to be totally honest with you… let’s see, we did the conversion, maybe that is what it took. So, to be honest here folks, what I did was I did a test upgrade on my gateway here. And so as you can see in this little folder right here, I’ve done this a few times, and maybe that process of upgrading and then un-upgrading and then re-upgrading caused this to go poorly here. I apologize for the interruption there.

Hopefully that just worked, and if not I have a backup plan here. Let’s go ahead and refresh, or maybe, let’s go ahead and exit the Designer and reopen it. All right, one more try here because I think we’re getting good signs here. Let’s open the Designer Launcher once more and launch that. And let’s see how we do. And if this doesn’t work, I have a backup plan, we’ll be okay, but I’d rather not resort to it here. I’m sure that’s my fault for doing a trial run on the same system that I’d actually be running it on. That’s like doing an upgrade on a production system and not dev system. All right, there we go.

All right, okay. That was fun. Alright, so here’s our production model. And there’s my areas and lines, just like I had before. And, of course, there’s no Vision windows, there’s no Perspective windows, they’re not here. So, just my production model lives in the MESGateway. So, that’s just the way that that is, and if you want to make changes to your production model, of course, you do so from here, in that MESGateway project.

Now, if I want to go find all my windows that I have built in the past, I’m going to go ahead and hop over to that project. So, we’ll go over to my MES project that I built previously, and that’s going to have my windows. So that will load up in just a moment here. There’s my Vision windows, running all of the software. So, if I go here to Object Management you’ll see my Equipment Manager and all those components with which you are so familiar, working as expected here. No major changes there.

So, that is the right way to do an upgrade. Now I wouldn’t suggest upgrading and then un-upgrading and then re-upgrading, as you can see that caused me a small problem there. I apologize for the hiccup. But, as you can see now, I have a project where my production model lives, and I have a project right where my windows live. And that’s just kind of the way it works now in Ignition 8. However, that is going to get better because when we go to our Platform 3.0, also known as the Enterprise Upgrade, we won’t have anything stored in the project any longer. Rather, all of the MES Enterprise stuff, all of our production model, will live in the database and in the components. So, this gets a little bit better as time goes on here.

All right, let’s step back into the presentation here. All right, and we’re going to back up a slide. So we get all this, we implemented that, we upgraded, we see our projects, all right. Next slide here.

Okay, so this is again a new thing in Ignition here. In Ignition 8, resources aren’t stored in Ignition’s internal database. So, that includes the MES Production Model, which is now stored in Ignition/data/projects/MESGateway. And they are stored as binary files on disk that are actually not human-readable. We don’t want folks to dig into those files and make changes from there, we want you to use our components and our scripting functions to do those sorts of things. However, you could version control those files and use as a backup system, you could revert back to a certain change. That’s all possible now because of that change in Ignition 8.

Let’s show you how that works. So, again, I have a shortcut on my desktop to my Ignition Directory here. I’m going to go ahead and hop into my current one. I think we said data and projects and MESGateway and Production Gateway, and there’s our production model. I can hop in here and see all of my lines that are in the different sites. So, I hop in here, we have two files. We have a resource.json, which describes what’s here, right. And then we have this data file. And I’ll just open this for you, it won’t do you any good, but you can see how it’s just not human-readable text here. So that’s kind of the way that we store that on disk. And so that’s where you’d point your versioning system if you wanted to version this all away, is in that directory.

All right, and then we’ll go ahead and that answers that question, right? So that’s where that goes, that’s where those live, and they’re on disk now. Okay, let’s keep moving here.

Okay, so, as I’m sure this group knows, we don’t have our components quite ready yet for release for Perspective. So, all we have right now are Ignition 8-compatible modules with the Vision windows. We’re working on that, we’re expecting to have those out within the month, at least the operator components. But in the interim, you have full access to the MES scripting functions within Perspective views.

Let’s show you how you might do that here. So I’m going to go ahead and open my Designer here. And we’re going to import, from my Resources folder, a window that I’ve called Analysis View. Oops, Analysis View, open, and import. All right, and if I go to Perspective and let’s just go ahead and go here, and it will make a view, we’ll call it Analysis. And we’ll point that at Test, all right.

Now let’s go ahead and look at Test and what that looks like. So, we can come in here and right-click, or I think it’s actually… where do we get that? I just did it. Here, open Primary View. That’s it in the Designer and we can also do this, launch URL. Oh, right, I think I called that something else here, hang on. Let’s see, Test… I didn’t save. And cool, let’s see… call that, let’s see, Test… what did I do? Well, the point is here folks is that from here, I can go ahead and run analysis, right.

And so what we’re doing here, we are calling into one of our scripting functions, from this button. So that button runs a script. I just engineered a start date and an end date, and we grabbed a dataset here of analysis data. So, we go system.mes.analysis.executeAnalysis(start_date, end_date, “Run Summary”).getdataset, and then I went and I grabbed the table and I set its data property equal to that dataset. And that’s how that window works, right. So, despite the fact that we don’t have our components quite ready yet, of course you can implement screens that call on the MES scripting functions here.

Now, in addition here… So that’s kind of the big idea, is that you’re able to implement these and use those however you want. And, In fact, if you use those MES scripting functions you’re always using best practices and you’ll always be okay going forward. So that’s kind of how you get going on our modules in the meantime until we get those Perspective components ready to go.

All right, now speaking of Perspective components here, let’s see, “Project ‘MESanalysis’ does not exist.”

Tom Hechtman (24:29)
Because MES.

Keith Adair (24:30)
Let’s see, interesting.

Tom Hechtman (24:33)
Just try MES.

Keith Adair (24:38)
Okay, let’s see. Let’s go ahead, try to get this working here. Bear with me folks. Let’s see, so analysis should get us to Test here. So, if we go to /analysis… hey, there we go. All right. I’m not sure why that link didn’t give me the right place first, that’ll be a question for our friends over at Inductive. But I’ll pick their brains in that next week at ICC.

All right, so there we go. We’re running our Perspective view here, that’s running MES Analysis. Very cool. Okay, now I think I have the… I need a leading slash on the view I create of the page. Thank you, Bradley, you’re exposing my weakness with the Perspective stuff. Bradley, I appreciate that. All right, cool.

Okay, let’s go ahead and show you, I’m sure what you folks are all here for, and that’s a look at our new components here. So, let’s go ahead and import those. So, we’re going to go file, and import, and our engineers called it Perspective View, and then we’re going to go ahead and add a page for it. The leading slash, see that’s what Bradley told us, thank you, Bradley. Okay, all right, now we have this guy here, and he’s going to point at the wonderfully titled view here. All right, so let’s go ahead and launch that URL.

Okay, now I think for some folks in the room, this is their first time seeing some of this stuff, so that’s kind of exciting. All right, so we have a series of components. Let’s go ahead and start with the Downtime Table.

All right, so this is the Downtime Table in Perspective. Now, as you can see, we have all of the columns loaded up here. I’m going to go ahead and knock a few of those out. This is kind of the way we’ve designed this, and I’m really excited about this, is we’re really trying to adhere to modern web ideas and practices here. So we used a bit of the material type design that Google has engineered as kind of a basis for what we’re doing here. And I’m going to go ahead and knock away a few of those columns. You can see how nice that menu pops up here, and we’re going to go ahead and knock out a few of those columns. So we get a better sense of some of this stuff. We’re going to just go ahead and do that. Expand this out. And you folks get the idea here.

Now we’re seeing these downtime reasons, right. And let’s go ahead and interact with some of these here. So we have a series of downtime events against my Line One here, and we’re going to override one. So let’s go ahead and pick him. And we’re going to take him from unplanned downtime to planned downtime. There we go, you saw that nice animation as it changed. We can even add a note, we’re going to note that downtime reason, “In fact, we were supposed to go down!” And we’ll go ahead and save that. And now we have that note here.

We can do all kinds of stuff. We can split the event. But you get the idea, we have that nice dialog for splitting it and we can split those into two. All that functionality is there, of course this is all still a work-in-progress, but you get some really great functionality here. I can search for in any field here, so I can go, “Give me just the ones that were unplanned.” Or, “Give me just the ones that were planned.” Oh, planned is in bold, unplanned and planned. “Give me just the ones that have Code 4.” Right, although they all have a four in there somewhere. But you get the idea, right?

We get to filter through all of these columns here, they’re all reviewed by the search field. If we had more cells to blame than just line one, I could just drill down to just the cell that caused this. It’s all here and it works even in some ways a lot nicer than before here. We have the Work Order Table, which is very incomplete, I won’t even dive into it yet. But it’s there, it works.

We have the Analysis Selector, which we’re especially proud of. Let’s go ahead and run an analysis. Now, as you can see, this is not totally complete. The first example of this is that our time is an epochs here. This is what you get for having an early preview, but by release time we should be able to get those into a nice date format for you here. But, we are running actual analysis in the Analysis Selector. And I kind of want to dive in here, because it looks really nice.

If I add the data points we have this nice menu that we can scroll through and review those data points and pick them, right. The Filter By menu is especially nice. Let’s go ahead and remake this from scratch here. So we’ll say Equipment Path is equal to… That’s not giving me my prompt, I apologize here folks. Like I said, early software. But you can simply build out all your stuff here. Let’s go ahead and I’ll just copy that string. So we’ll say Equipment Path is like and we’ll paste that in… oh, looks like we already had those, quotes there. And, Operation UUID is not equal to empty string.

But I just want to show you a couple more cool UI things here. This is where your parameters live, in this nice dropdown there, if I had any. If we had this delta timestamp, we can even… there’s a really nice date chooser that pops up here. So that is a very modern look here, right, where you can build out that date structure and that time. So you have that very nice, modern date picker here. And then here’s the Group By menu, nice, modern checkboxes. And we’re running analysis, we’re out to the races here.

So that’s the Analysis Selector in a couple of seconds here, and that’s pretty close to finished here, I would say. We need to do some massaging on the data here a little bit. We have the Run Director so of course we can grab our line here and pick… now that’s not wanting to go. I think I haven’t configured the material quite yet. But, in any case, let’s see, let’s grab a different line… I’m not getting my materials in there, Tom. Well, what do you do?

We have our Downtime Table like I showed you, folks. We have the OEE Time Chart, so let’s get us a smaller date range here. Let’s pick a couple days ago to a couple days in the future, and I think… Well you know what, I don’t know how this works exactly, I should’ve followed up a little more carefully with my developer here as to how to zoom around this guy here. Oh, there we go. Okay, so as you can see, it just takes a minute to load, but you can see how we can zoom in here and drag around, right. It’s very touch-focused, so you’ll be able to drag with your finger when you’re on a mobile device or an iPad or something like that. You can zoom in. And there’s the contextual data.

If I picked a different line here, you can see the cells beneath it, we’ll give that just a moment here. Let’s see if we can get line one to show up here. Again, this is an early preview here folks. Let’s just stick with line one for now. But you get the idea, you’re able to see those events just like you can on the current components.

We have the Schedule View, so let’s go ahead and pick line one. All right, so there’s our Schedule View here, and that’s the same idea. You can click and drag to move around. You can, let’s see, zoom out. Let’s go ahead and get way back here because I think all my stuff is forward a bit. All right, I don’t think I have any events, but you guys get the idea here. We have our schedule that you can peruse and see all of the events in the schedule. And we can create schedules and all of the stuff you’re used to here.

All right, and this is your early preview of the components. I hope you can see that we’re still a little early here still, but we’re getting there, and we’ll have more to show next week at the conference. But this is a first look at those components and how they work. And we’re very excited about them, and we’ll have more to show in the coming days. And that’s what I have on those.

Let’s go ahead and hop back to the presentation here. All right, okay. And let’s go ahead and move forward. Okay, that was our preview. Now let’s talk about timeline a little bit here. Our OEE and Trace Operator components are due in just the next little bit here. We’re hoping to have them out in the next few weeks once they’re a bit tightened up, and we get some of those bugs fixed and get them out there to you folks. Following those, we’ll get the SPC and Recipe Operator components. And then finally, early next year we’ll get the MES Configuration components. Those include things like your Equipment Manager, your Object Editor, all these other components that are kind of used for configuring all of your MES software.

Okay, that gets us to the Q&A period here. And we have a couple of questions here, and then we also, I think, want to talk about a few other a few other things with you folks here.

But, yeah, go ahead.

Tom Hechtman (35:05)
Okay, so here’s one question, where does all this that you showed today fit into the Platform 3.0 or Enterprise features?

Keith Adair (35:17)
Sure, so at Sepasoft we’re undergoing two major transitions. We’re going from our Platform 2.0 Modules to our Platform 3.0 Modules. And we’re also transitioning from Ignition 7 to Ignition 8. So we are supporting all four sides of that. That is, you can be on Ignition 7 with Platform 3.0, You can be on Ignition 8 with Platform 2.0, We’ll support all sides of that here. But you can use any combination of those two things for the time being. Of course, our goal is to get everyone to Ignition 8 and Platform 3.0, And that’s where we’ll be gently nudging everyone towards. But, for the time being, kind of work where you’re comfortable and we’ll get you to the right place.

Tom Hechtman (36:02)
Okay, and the other ones go into LTS, or Long-Term Support, so we’ll still support bug fixes, but not new features. Eventually-.

Keith Adair (36:11)

Tom Hechtman (36:12)
…we’ll get to that point. Okay.

Keith Adair (36:14)
We had a question from somebody in the audience here, “Does the MES project inherit the MESGateway project?”.

I did not demonstrate the project inheritance here, but let’s just talk about what’s being described here really quick. Let me head back to my Gateway webpage. Of course, you can go in, and you can go to your projects, and you can mark MESGateway inheritable, and cause MES to inherit from it. Now, in this case, MES is what I unfortunately called my preexisting project, and its parent project was Global. But I could mark MESGateway “true” and cause MES to inherit from it if I wanted to, or whatever my project’s called, it could be called Plant Floor or whatever. I could mark it to inherit from MESGateway and actually, initially, this was kind of difficult to deal with. But now, basically, if you cause a project to inherit from MESGateway, you will be able to see the production model, but you won’t be able to modify it. So, it actually is a bit useful these days to mark a project as a child of MESGateway, because then you can see your production model from any project. It’s actually a nice feature.

Tom Hechtman (37:30)
Yeah, and it’s kind of nice too. I guess it gets you greater granularity on the security. So if you want people to be able to modify screens, but you don’t want them changing the production model, you just set up different security for each of those projects and you can kind of control that now. Where we didn’t have that before.

Keith Adair (37:51)
Right, if you had a stumbling right-click across your production model, that could have drastic effects, so that’s a little easier now.

Tom Hechtman (37:57)
And I think the key here too, is that they took the Global project away. It just wasn’t there, it wasn’t really an option for us. We would’ve been happy keeping it in Global until we got to our 3.0 platform, which, everything’s in the database anyhow. But, yeah…

Okay, so we saw Business Connector on there, you already mentioned this, it’s being released. What else is being released with the Business Connector?

Keith Adair (38:32)
So, the Business Connector is, of course, actually a suite of modules. It is the Sepasoft Business Connector. We have the Interface for SAP Module, as well, the Interface for SAP ERP Module, and that is a separate module that enables the Business Connector to talk to SAP servers. And, of course, we have an upgraded version of the Web Services Module that enables you to add rest or soap blocks to your Business Connector charts. So, come next week when we release the Business Connector, you’ll have two brand new modules, Business Connector and Interface for SAP ERP, as well as an upgraded version of the Web Services Module.

Now that Web Services Module is the same one you know and love. It will continue to work the same way, independently of the Business Connector. But if you integrate it with the Business Connector, you get that extra level of compatibility, usability, all that good stuff.

Tom Hechtman (39:26)
Okay, and I have to note, the interface for SAP is certified with SAP.

Keith Adair (39:32)
Good catch, Tom. We went through certification just a couple of weeks ago and really enjoyed the process, it went smooth as can be. What did the fellow from SAP say? “Perfect testing.” Yeah, it went exactly as we hoped it would, and now we get to use that nice logo and say we’re certified, so that’s pretty great.

Tom Hechtman (39:54)
The hardest part of that was the name of the product. We technically couldn’t call it Business Connector, we have to call it Sepasoft Business Connector because SAP has a Business Connector.

Keith Adair (40:06)
And what’s more, they made us add ERP to the Interface for SAP name. So if you hear me say, “Interface for SAP ERP,” that’s thanks to SAP’s lawyers. Thanks to them very much.

Tom Hechtman (40:21)
Here’s another question. Can this upgrade to Ignition 8, can that be done on a production server?

Keith Adair (40:30)
I would rather you didn’t. Always our advice is to do everything on a dev or a QA server the first time. Always do something in somewhere you can reverse it. Now, of course, suggestion number one is take backups of everything. But, of course, we always suggest make a copy of your stuff, do the upgrade there. Make sure you understand the consequences, make sure you’re comfortable, and then do it on production. That’s just our advice generally, but that’s definitely follows here.

Tom Hechtman (41:00)
Otherwise, you run into what you ran into, right? Don’t want that.

Keith Adair (41:02)
Where I didn’t understand the consequences of upgrading, un-upgrading, and re-upgrading. So that’s an issue that’s going to my QA team after this call.

Tom Hechtman (41:14)
Okay, and where can we learn more about Enterprise platform, Business Connector, all these things?

Keith Adair (41:21)
Well, Tom, next week is the Ignition Community Conference, wherein several different Sepasoft- and MES-related sessions are occurring. And I will take the time that we have here to scroll through a few of those here. Let’s go ahead and hop over to the schedule here really quickly. Of course, on Tuesday, myself and Jesse Records, who is new in our Design Consultation Department, we will be giving a workshop all about the Business Connector. That sold out in about a week flat there, so apologies if you want to attend now, but that’s the first thing we’re doing.

Tom Hechtman (42:03)
And we will have training classes, I guess, that we will be offering on that, right?

Keith Adair (42:09)
If you didn’t make it to the workshop, don’t worry, you can always attend our training and we’d love to have you.

We also have, let’s see… When’s your session, Tom?

Tom Hechtman (42:22)
It’s on Wednesday, 4:00 or something.

Keith Adair (42:26)
Wednesday, there we go. Simplifying Single Machine to Full Enterprise MES Implementations. That’s being given by Tom, hey, you know when to find this stuff out, and Mark French. And they’ll be talking all about a preview of what’s coming.

Tom Hechtman (42:41)

Keith Adair (42:42)
Any input there, Tom?

Tom Hechtman (42:43)
You have to come.

Keith Adair (42:44)
All right.

Tom Hechtman (42:46)
Or watch the video afterwards.

Keith Adair (42:48)
Now, we also have one more session of interest to us here. Now, remind where that one is, Tom, do you know what day that was?

Tom Hechtman (42:55)
At 1:00.

Keith Adair (42:56)
1:00 which day?

Tom Hechtman (42:58)
Right there, you’re talking about Dennis Brandl?

Keith Adair (43:01)
I’m talking about Dennis Brandl.

Tom Hechtman (43:02)
Okay, 1:00, Industrial Standards, that’s it there.

Keith Adair (43:05)
Okay, so we leaned on our friend and industry leader Dennis Brandl to come out and talk to us all about the ISA and IEC international standards. He’s coming to talk to us all about ISA-95, 88, 99, and we’re leaning on him and his expertise as we develop the Batch Module. We have his book dog-eared around the office, and we’re excited to have him here.

Tom Hechtman (43:36)
Yep, as well as others. We have a number of people all contributing.

Keith Adair (43:41)
Oh, do we? Very cool. And our friend Tom is moderating that session, so please come out to that 1:00 PM session here. That takes us through ICC, you can scroll through the speakers and find all of us there. But we’d love to have you, we’d love to see you there. Are there any other questions?

Tom Hechtman (44:00)
There are no other questions.

Keith Adair (44:02)
I don’t see anymore here now. We didn’t take your full hour, I do apologize for that here, but let’s go ahead and do a sneak preview of next time. Oops, let’s go back here, and present. All right, okay. Next week we have-

Tom Hechtman (44:18)
Next month.

Keith Adair (44:19)
Or next month. I’m getting excited here. Next month we have another Flattening the Stack. It’s all about scheduling. In just the last few releases and in this upcoming release against our MES software, so that was SP 13 and the upcoming SP 14, we did a lot of work in making schedules more reliable, more scalable, more stable. And we’re going to continue that work along with things like routing, and so we want to go over that effort next month, and show you folks best practices for scheduling those OEE and Trace operations. We’ll talk about routes. We’ll talk about OEE schedules. We’ll talk about Trace schedules. We’ll talk about request and response objects, all that good stuff. So that’ll be next month, we hope you’ll join us and we’d be happy to have you.

Tom Hechtman (45:17)
A lot of these topics are driven from what we’re finding in Tech Support that come up quite often. But if you guys have ideas for topics, we’re definitely open to them, and just send us a email or what have you. Very interested in what you would like to hear and learn about.

Keith Adair (45:39)
All right, well thanks so much for your time folks. We’ll hope to see you next time again here on Flattening the Stack with Keith.

Interested in a particular webinar topic? Reach out to Keith at info@sepasoft.com