Frequently asked questions

What can the Data Commander™ do?


The Data Commander™ can communicate directly with devices and can provide secure, isolated connections directly with database tables or servers.




How can the Data Commander™ be deployed?


The Data Commander™ can be utilized to provide you with real-time information for Manufacturing Execution, Statistical Process Control, Quality Assurance and Control, Key Performance Indicators, and Six Sigma feedback.

Data Commander provides real-time manufacturing data




How does the Data Commander™ RECOGNIZE devices and enterprise systems on the network?


Our appliance has a comprehensive library of drivers, so it is an intelligent network device which can quickly connect to PLCs, robots, vision systems, scales, printers, IoT devices, etc. Within minutes, the Data Commander™ can be viewing all the data in a PLC, transferring it, and reacting to changes in any item of data.




How does the Data Commander™ address SECURITY issues?


A patent-pending method of translating data between the Enterprise side and the Devices side assures SECURITY, which is isolated Ethernet and serial ports, using their own MAC addresses and drivers.

Hackers and malware cannot penetrate the Data Commander™, so no one can accidentally or intentionally modify a program or see the devices.

Data Commander's Isolated Ethernet & Serial Ports




What happens on the DEVICES side?


DEVICES can be set up, monitored and logged by the Data Commander™.

It can also Listen to the devices, capture events, consolidate this data from several devices, and control the process, or send it up to a higher computer and await instructions for the next step.

Model DC-10-U-4GB has 20 device connections.

Model DC-20-U-4GB has 40 device connections

Data Commander's communication with Devices




What happens on the DATABASE side?


DATABASE interfaces are native, lightweight and very fast. Embedded SQL or calls to stored procedures transmit data. Recipes, control decisions, and requests for data can be sent down to the Data Commander™, which will then communicate with all the devices necessary to advance the process and respond with data to the Manufacturing Execution System (MES). How the Data Commander interfaces with databases




What PROGRAMMING is required?


NONE. Set up is simple, using Connections, Transports to databases, Listeners to devices, Triggers which handle the data coming into the Listeners, and internal SQL database, a set of Trigger steps which are filled in with point-and-shoot to data in communications packets, internal variables, and the data registers in the floor devices.

All programming is accomplished through our Windows application, DC Workbench. So, the internal programs are not accessible or decipherable by any other computers.

DC Workbench software




What PROCESS DECISIONS is the Data Commander™ capable of performing?


There are several ways to include decision making using the firmware application on our appliance.

Each Trigger from the PLC, initiating an event of the Data Commander™, has a myriad of actions available for PROCESS DECISIONS that include scheduling, equations, and more.

Initiating an event of the Data Commander




How is the Data Commander™ different than other data exchange software?


Unlike most data exchange software, the firmware on the Data Commander™ is capable of STORED PROCEDURES along with Selects, Inserts, Updates, etc. as part of its bidirectional communication with a database which means the logic of whole processes can be triggered with a single bit from the PLC.

the Data Commander is capable of Stored Procedures




How can I use the Data Commander™ to achieve ZERO DEFECTS?


Because the Data Commander™ can talk amongst PLCs (peer-to-peer), as well as, translating between the PLCs and the databases, our customers have easy access to three types of pass/fail to accomplish ZERO DEFECTS:

  1. Part parameters (one PLC/machine/station)
  2. Assemblies across multiple stations: “skip check” (multiple PLCs/machines)
  3. Sub-assemblies across the production lines on the factory network and from plant to plant (database/OT-IT network) Six Sigma




What LOGGING capabilities does the Data Commander™ offer?


LOGGING is configurable down to every Trigger for a type of data from each computer or device on either side.

Data Commander's Logging capabilities




Does the Data Commander™ have REPORTING features?


REPORTING can show every execution step of a Trigger, and the data in and out, for easy debugging.

Data Commander's Reporting features INFORMATION: For each assembly line, the Data Commander™ can provide real-time production data, from simple lights and logging to large flat screen displays. Data can be fed to factory-level visualization systems.




What happens in the event of a network interruption?


The Data Commander™ has a store and forward feature that will maintain data flow regardless of a network interruption.




How much does the Data Commander™ cost?


Pricing is based on device (PLC, press tool, etc.) connections. No device software is required. All drivers “speaking” the native protocols of the devices are included on our appliance, e.g. no Rockwell software is needed to exchange database records with AB PLC tags.

No system integrators required. Only connection needed is an ethernet port.

No security updates or OS maintenance required. It replaces PC’s or isolates current production line PC’s from the devices.




Where can I buy the Data Commander™?


Contact elliTek at (865) 409-1555 or info@ellitek.com.




What we may need to know to help you.


What problems do you need to solve, what process improvements would you like to make, and what new information would you want to have to facilitate these things?

What equipment would you like to connect eventually? What would need to be connected initially to give some immediate value? What is available for connection in a demonstration?

What databases and upstream MES, QC, SQA, and other systems do you want to connect?

What are the makes and models of the PLCs they are controlling?

What Machine Tools to you want to connect? What communications protocols do they use, or do they have another controller on them with which we can connect the Data Commander™?

What Robots, Vision Systems, Scales, Printers, etc. do you want to connect?

Where does everything sit on the network relative to each other: tools, PLCs, PC w/ applications, local database, MES or ERP?




Where can I find more Technical Information?


Specific tutorials, white papers, and downloads are located on our resources page here.

Our blog has different entries that include security presentations.

If those resources do not provide the technical information required, we host one-on-one web conferences to engineer individual applications. Click here to request a conference call.




What features does the Data Commander™ have?


The Data Commander™ MES Gateway Appliance has two models. Max Device Connections for DC-10-U-4GB: 20 Max Device Connections for DC-20-U-4GB: 40 The specs for each model unit are as follows. CPU: 800 MHZ, x86, SIngle Core Network Interfaces: Two NAT/Firewall NIC Ports Memory: 4GB eMMC Flash on board Power: 5VDC, 115/240 VAC Case: Cast Aluminum Enclosure Dimensions in/(mm): 7.08" x 7.28" x 3" (180 x 185 x 76) Cooling: Passive Operating Temperature Range: -60ºC to 80ºC Pre-installed Firmware: Dedicated secure firmware Hardware Warranty: 24 months Certifications: UL, CE Power Consumption: 5W Included in Package: AC power plug, quick start guide




Does the Data Commander have a warranty?


Yes. elliTek, Inc. (“elliTek”) provides a limited warranty for its products covering defects in materials and workmanship for a period of one year from the date of original purchase. The limited warranty is available on the elliTek web site at www.ellitek.com, or you may obtain a copy by contacting elliTek’s primary office by mail at 7139 Regal Lane, Knoxville, Tennessee 37918, or by phone at (865) 409-1555. Only the original purchaser of an elliTek product from elliTek or an authorized reseller is covered under the limited warranty. The limited warranty does not cover damage from misuse, improper maintenance or repair or acts of nature, and certain other exclusions apply as more particularly described in the warranty. Also, consequential and incidental damages are not covered under the warranty. Except as otherwise provided by law, the limited warranty is the exclusive remedy for claims against elliTek associated with elliTek products. EXCEPT AS PROVIDED IN THE LIMITED WARRANTY OR AS REQUIRED BY LAW, ELLITEK PRODUCTS ARE SOLD ON AN “AS IS” BASIS WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND. TO THE MAXIMUM EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW, ELLITEK SPECIFICALLY DISCLAIMS ANY AND ALL IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, WARRANTIES OF TITLE, MERCHANTABILITY, INFRINGEMENT AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, AND IMPLIED WARRANTIES ARISING FROM A COURSE OF DEALING OR COURSE OF PERFORMANCE. A Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA) request form can be found here.








Can I reset my Data Commander's IP addresses back to default?


Yes, resetting your Data Commander allows you to return the IP address assignments to the factory settings without compromising existing programs and settings. Follow these instructions: 1. Power OFF the Data Commander™
2. Fully press and HOLD the RESET button
3. Press and RELEASE the POWER button. Ensure the red POWER indicator remains
illuminated.
4. Continue HOLDING the RESET button for 25 seconds
5. Release RESET button - the IP addresses will be reset to:
ETH0: 192.168.1.68 / 255.255.255.0
ETH1: 10.10.10.10 / 255.255.255.0




What is the String Builder function for the Data Commander™?


The String Builder action builds a string from multiple constants and variables. This can be used to build (or concatenate) a single output string from multiple strings variables and constants.

Format String:

Enter the set of text and substitution variables that are used to build the single output string.


The Input tab appears when you type the first substitution variable in the form of $(). For example: $(TEMP).


A row is added to the Input tab for each substitution variable, in this example TEMP.


If you want to include a $ character as part of the text, you must use double $$ characters. Otherwise, the $ character will not appear in the output. For example: $$5.75.

Maximum Output Size:

Available when the Use Advanced Properties checkbox is selected.


Defaults to 1024. This parameter controls the maximum size of the Output parameter on the Output tab.

Input Tab

The Input tab appears when you type the first substitution variable in the form of $() in the Format String parameter.

The Input tab lets you map substitution variables to variables or constants.

A row is added to the Input tab for each substitution variable, in the example TEMP, VATID and BATID would be the added rows.


The substitution variable is mapped to any trigger macro, constant, started device variable, trigger local variable, trigger static variable or trigger event variable by selecting the Value cell for the row. Once the cell is selected, a drop-down list of the available items is displayed.

Output Tab

The output variable that receives the result of the multiple input parameters and text concatenated into a single string.


For the example Format String: Temperature $(TEMP) Celsius from vat $VATID) batch $(BATID)
Where:

  • TEMP is mapped to a device variable with the value of 20

  • VATID is mapped to a device variable with the value of 100

  • BATID is mapped to a device variable with the value of 2
    Then the output string would be: Temperature 20 Celsius from vat 100 batch 2.

Supported control characters

The String Builder action supports control characters for the output of the action.

The following control character patterns will be accepted:

Pattern Result

\t: The tab character

\r: The line feed character

\n: The new line character (0x0A)

\xNN: Any character specified in hexadecimal notation, for example \x35 will print the number 5.
Warning: use of \x00 to specify an embedded null should not be used.

\0: Null - not supported for embedded nulls. String functions that use the length of the string when processing will not give the expected results.

\\: Places a backslash \ character




How does the String Compare function work on the Data Commander™?


A String Compare action compares strings based on a specific criterion such as exact match.

Parameter description

This action compares all or part of a string with another string. You must specify whether to use case sensitivity and the number of characters in the string to compare.

Comparison Method

The comparison criteria options are:

  • Exact Match — The input string must exactly match the search string.

  • Starts With — The input string must start with the search string.

  • Ends With — The input string must end with the search string.

  • Contains — The input string must contain the search string.

Ignore Case

Indicates if the comparison is case sensitive.
The options are:

  • True — Do not apply case-sensitivity. The string comparison is insensitive to uppercase and lowercase letters.

False — Apply case sensitivity. The string must exactly match uppercase and lowercase letters.

Input tab
String: The input string, which will be compared to based upon the Comparison Method and the Search String parameter.

Search String: The pattern to match or find in the String parameter.

Routing tab
True: Route to take when the comparison is successful (pattern found based on the Comparison Method) in the String parameter.

False: Route to take when the comparison is not successful (pattern is not found based on the Comparison Method) in the String parameter.

Failure: Route when there is a failure.





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