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Author: pmcoltrane

P/Invoking Native Libraries

P/Invoking Native Libraries

You’re a VB.NET developer. You’re writing code, and you need to integrate with a machine tool, automation system, sensor, scanner, or some other bit of hardware. Lucky for you, the manufacturer provides a library. But wait… it’s not a .NET library. You can’t just “Add Reference…” the DLL. If you’ve never used P/Invoke, this is where you start.

Popular Machine Tool Apps

Popular Machine Tool Apps

If you’re curious, like me, about what software tools are being widely used in manufacturing, Okuma has given us a peek at the most popular machine tool apps in their app store. And number one on their list is… (spoilers)

The dangers of relying on external infrastructure

The dangers of relying on external infrastructure

This week I was working with TrakHound’s MTConnect.NET library again, but all my test connections were failing. I had been testing against the MTConnect Institute’s demo agent, which is now run by NIST. I opened it in my browser and got a 404 Not Found. So I went up one level and saw this…

Access MTConnect data from a web application

Access MTConnect data from a web application

About five years ago I wrote 5 ways to access MTConnect data from a web application. This article outlined methods for accessing the MTConnect agent’s data from a client-side web application. Ignore it. Much has changed in web development since then, and some of the methods mentioned in the old article range from bad to obsolete. If you want to write an MTConnect web application, here are your best options:

Using MTConnect for Automation

Using MTConnect for Automation

Eight years ago when I first encountered MTConnect, I felt the technology would transform the machine shop. Today, support for MTConnect is commonplace in new machine tools, and often available for older tools through various upgrade options. Software packages exist to collect and analyze data on a server or on the cloud. However, I thought the technology could become a lightweight option not only for data analytics, but also for basic machine shop automation.

Okuma App Store

Okuma App Store

For machine tools, hardware enhancements and add-ons are usually the province of a distributor. Software tends to be a different story: available via download rather than expensive shipment, installable with no special tools, and usable at the tap of a touchscreen. For Okuma machine tools, the Okuma App Store provides a central location for finding THINC and other applications that add value to your OSP controls. Let’s take a quick look.

Will TrakHound run on Linux?

Will TrakHound run on Linux?

No. At least, I’ve had no luck running any of the TrakHound components on Linux. In a previous post I mentioned that I could not try the TrakHound community software, since I do not have a Windows machine. Afterwards I wondered how true that was. After all, Wine does a decent job running most Windows software, and .NET support on Linux has gotten much better in recent years. So I thought it was worth a shot.

A $59.99* Machine Monitoring System

A $59.99* Machine Monitoring System

If you are trying to implement basic machine monitoring in your shop on a shoestring budget, and your machine tools are already MTConnect aware, Raspberry Pi provides an inexpensive solution. * Cost of Raspberry Pi kit only. MTConnect adapter solutions, networking, etc. may cost extra.