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KH Information Server: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

An overview of the ten most frequently asked questions regarding the KH Information Server are below. Is your question not listed? Please contact our product specialists. For an overview of the technical specifications of the KH Information Server, click here.

1. Why was the KH Information Server developed?
Koning & Hartman was engaged in various large (industrial) projects over the years. Time and again problems arose related to the linking of various systems and information flows. When we had made different connections, we decided to join the developed modules into a single software solution: the KH information Server (KHIS). The first KHIS was installed in 2005.

2. What distinguishes the KH Information Server from its competitors?
• First of all its simplicity. The KH Information Server requires virtually no maintenance after installation. Tailor made solutions can therefore be relatively easily implemented.
• Additionally, the new systems can be added easily. For example, when new devices must be connected to an existing connection. Via an API (Application Programming Interface) the devices can be added easily, and they are automatically linked and included in the information flow. A good example of the advantages of the KHIS in terms of scalability.
• Within the KHIS there is a SQL (Structured Query Language) and TCL (Tool Command Language) layer. This allows the KHIS to convert different data formats to other formats or data types. Think of an American and Dutch date format.
Vendor Independence. Many protocols, including the self-written (proprietary) protocols, may be connected to the KHIS. This allows us to install the KHIS vendor independent. The user is then no longer dependent on a particular supplier (no longer Vendor Lock-In).
 
3. How much does a fully installed KHIS cost?
The KHIS is a cost-effective solution that cannot always be compared with other coupling techniques. Thus, for example, the price depends on the complexity of the linked information. The KHIS can deliver value for practically every production environment. Our experienced consultants can determine quickly what benefits can be realized for you by, for example a Quick Scan, and at what price.

4. What about support?
We supply both on- and offsite support. The KH Information Server runs stable for years at various organizations and its clever software design requires virtually no maintenance. We also guarantee continuity for updates from Microsoft (the KHIS generally runs on a Windows server). The KH Information Server is also suitable for business critical links.

By default, the support consists of:
• Hotline, weekdays from 8:00 am - 17:30 am;
• Correction and corrective maintenance;
• Remote support;
• Delivery of new versions and releases
For more information about the possibilities of technical support, please contact us at 020-587 68 80.

5. At present my information and data management infrastructure is controlled entirely by a MES (Manufacturing Execution System) and MIS (Management Information System), what is the added value of the KH Information Server?
A MES or MIS control system (such as SAP, SCADA or Historian) can in many cases be a good (cost-effective) solution for large systems. These systems, for example a Historian, are software services that can collect different types of data, but from which data can also be retrieved (via queries). Typical (legacy) SCADA protocols include Modbus RTU, RP-570, Profibus and Conitel. Although these communication protocols are used worldwide, they are SCADA specific. Not every device will be able to communicate with these protocols. The KH Information Server can then form the connection between the SCADA Historian and any specific device.
Sometimes it is also not cost-effective to make the connection between systems via a MES or MIS. Several different parties may service these systems, so such a coupling will be time-consuming and inefficient. Connecting via the KH Information Server is then a more suitable solution.

6. All links in my factory environment are made (or can be made) with industrial M2M communication protocols, why is the KH Information Server a good alternative?
In industrial environments there are numerous protocols, OPC is an important one for example, but certainly not the only one and it is an Industrial Control System (such as SCADA, DCS and PLC).
OPC was originally COM based, an interface developed by Microsoft, thus it cannot (or hardly) communicate with non-Microsoft products. The newest version is OPC UA. OPC UA also has this drawback (albeit to a lesser extent). In addition, OPC UA is complex (setup and maintenance) and expensive (often requiring multiple servers) and in order to perform well OPC UA needs large amounts of processing power and memory. The KH Information Server has no such restrictions. It can facilitate good, stable and efficient communication with multiple protocols (see below). Multiple licenses of the KHIS can be installed on one server and therefore the KHIS is relatively cost effective. Finally, the software requires virtually no computational power.

7. I want to do something with Big Data, how can the KH Information Server help me?
The KH Information Server can collect the data generated from the various systems and prepare it for analysis. The KHIS combines data and structures it. For example, it can be presented in every desired format. The visualization software or algorithms can then easily process the data provided. We can also advise on how data in data centers can best be analyzed and advise on what algorithms provide the most added value.

8. How intelligent is the KH Information Server? Can the KHIS autonomously make decisions or can I add intelligent algorithms?
The KHIS uses a SQL (Structured Query Language) and TCL (Tool Command Language) layer. This allows the KHIS to convert different data formats and types. Think of an American and Dutch date format. Even more complex queries and operations can be included. The KHIS can collect data from multiple systems, structure and prepare it for analysis and optimization. Possible results of smart algorithms can directly be sent into the process again, allowing not only for smart analysis, but also for autonomous and automated decision making. Over the entire process from collection to analysis, we can advise on the right approach and the necessary tools.

9. Can the KH Information Server make real-time connections?
Yes. A connection is real-time when the combined reaction and execution time of the task is shorter than the maximum time allowed. This minimum time required varies in the ANSI / ISA-95 automation pyramid. In the upper layer between ERP and MES / MIS systems, the need of some messages varies from hours to several messages per second. The two layers below between the MES / MIS and SCADA / HMI systems and between the SCADA / HMI systems and PLC / DCS require a few per second. At the bottom of the pyramid, between the PLC / DCS layer and the actuators and sensors, dozens of messages per second are required. The KHIS is designed to form connections at all levels of the ANSI / ISA-95 pyramid. The only limit is the speed of the hardware and the applied protocols.

10. What protocols are supported?
The modules currently supported are shown in Table 1. This list is constantly expanding, and modules can be developed upon request:

Module  Applications
 ADO MS-SQL Server, Oracle DB, many ADO.net apps 
 B2MML B2MML (ANSI/ISA-95/S95), BatchML (ISA-88/S88) 
 E-Mail SMTP (E-Mail Client) 
 HTTP HTTP, HTTPS, Custom apps 
 KHAdAPI Adroit SCADA, Mitsubishi MAPS 
 KHAdData Adroit SCADA Itelligence 
 KHCtAPI Citect SCADA, Vijeo Citect 
 ODBC MS-Excel, MS-Access, Comma Separated File (CSV) read, dBASE (DBF), Visual FoxPro, Paradox, Data Source Name File (DSN), MySQL, many ODBC apps 
 OleDB MS-Excel, MS-Access, Comma Separated File (CSV) read, HTML Table, dBASE (DBF), Visual FoxPro, Paradox, many OLE DB apps 
 OPC Many OPC-DA apps & devs 
 Serial RS-232, custom devs 
 SMS SMS (GSM Modems) 
 TCP/IP TC, UDP, FTP, custom apps & devs 
 Text Plain text (TXT) read/write, Comma Seperated File (CSV) write, custom apps 
 WebService Web Service, custom apps 
 XML XML, custom apps & devs 
 XML-RPC XML-RPC, 20-sim 4c, custom apps 
 

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