Introduction to KEPServerEX
KEPServerEX is a 32 bit windows application that provides a means of bringing data and information from a wide range of industrial devices and systems into client applications on your windows PC. KEPServerEX falls under the category of a "Server" application. It is very common to hear the term "client/server application" in use across many software disciplines and business segments. In the industrial market, it has usually come to mean the sharing of manufacturing or production data between a variety of applications ranging from human machine interface software and data historians, to large MES and ERP applications.
Regardless of the business segment served, client/server applications have one thing in common: a standardized method of sharing data. In the industrial segment, many client/server technologies have been developed over the last ten years. Initially, some of these technologies were proprietary. In many cases these proprietary client/server architectures were in wide use but remained unavailable to third party applications. Early in the development of windows, Microsoft provided a generic client/server technology called DDE or Dynamic Data Exchange. DDE did provide a basic architecture that would allow many windows applications from a wide range of vendors to share data, but there was one problem. DDE was not designed for the industrial market. It lacked much of the speed and robustness desired in an industrial setting. However, this did not stop DDE from becoming dominant client/server architecture, largely due to its availability in most windows applications. In time, variations on Microsoft's DDE were developed by some of the leading vendors in the market. These variations addressed some of the speed and reliability issues of DDE but many people in the industrial segment agreed that a better system needed to be developed.
With the advent of 32 bit Operating Systems, and the use of Ethernet to provide communications between devices, there was a need for quicker and cleaner data transfer between software applications. This is where OPC saw its birth into the industry.
OPC (OLE for Process and Control) servers provide a standardized method of allowing multipleindustrial applications to share data in a quick and robust manner. The OPC server provided in this package has been designed to meet the demanding requirements found in the industrial environment. This OPC server has been designed as a two-part program. The primary component provides all of the OPC and DDE connectivity as well as the user interface functions. The second part is comprised of plug-in communications drivers. This two-part design allows you to add multiple communications options to your SCADA application while utilizing a single OPC server product thus reducing your learning curve as your project grows.
OPC technology reflects the move from closed proprietary solutions to open architectures that provide more cost-effective solutions based on established standards.