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                 TFCompanion is a desktop application that controls MProbe hardware and performes thin film data analysis of the measured data. OEM and production frequently applications require integration with  external software without use of the TFCompanion user interface. TFCompanion has options to work in the server mode and includes libraries and communication interfaces for integration with external software. In server mode, TFCompanion is using the same core libraries as a desktop software. This means that setup of the system, spectrometers configuration, testing of filmstacks/recipes can be done in the desktop mode and automatically transition to the server mode.

There are two available integration options:

1. TCP/Modbus server integration

2. TCP/PLC server integration


MODBUS TCP server is started form the copmmand line and accept TCP-IP commands from the external client. External client in C/C++,C#, et5c. can use SDK/ dll library to communicate with the server. External client in Java can directly communicate with the Modbus library.

Modbus  integration approach gives user detailed control of the measurement process. Modbus is a transactional Request/ Response protocol, so every single measurement needs to be requested.  This can be an advantage or a drawback, depending on the application requirement. The advantage is tight control of the timing of the measurement, so it can be synchronized with other actions. Disadvantage is a relatively slow rate of the measurement because of the overhead of the roundtrip  for each measurement/transaction. 

TFCompanion Modbus server integration with the SDK
TFCompanion Modbus server integration with Java

Modbus server integration using SDK and dll library 

Modbus Client API

Modbus server integration using Java client.


TCP/PLC server directly accepts TCP connection from the external client. The external software (client) communicates with the server over TCP-IP using a set of  specified commands (API). In contrast to the Modbus server – TCP/PLC server has a much looser integration: client can send a “start measurement” command and measurement continuous until stopped. Typically, measurements are done and results are send as fast as possible. There is, also, a proprties file that allows to configure the time between the measurement and different adpative filtering options. Results can be senfd in analog form (via DAC) to a PLC receiver or in digital form to a TCP server. In both case, it uses a data streaming interface that allows fastest measurement rate. The main drawback of the TCP/PLC server is that exact timing pof the measurements cannot be controlled. The main adavmtage is the fast rate of measurement.

This integration option geared toward continuous measurement, where control and timing of individual measurements is not required. TCP/PLC server has three main processes: Measurement, Calculation (Data analysis) and, finally, a Data sender. These processes are loosely integrated and exchange data through the buffers. These processes are monitored to prevent overflow of the buffers. If measurement data starts to grow and calculation process cannot catch up – measurement speed is throttled. 


TCP/PLC server integration with analog output
TCP/PLC server integration with TCP server

TCP server configured with analog output to PLC

PLC Server API

TCP server configured with output to the TCP data server

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