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Manual Data Collection and Visualization through Microsoft Excel

Question asked by GVatui on Jan 21, 2019
Latest reply on Jan 22, 2019 by htakai24

Our customer has specific needs regarding a manual data collection project from the Mill operators.

Currently the operators  use paper print-outs form some Excel sheets with lots of cells (dozens..)


-> write manual data [ process values, comments, process status tags(drop-down lists), downtimes (timeframes, reason codes, total minutes) ] into PI DA Server or through PI AF.

-> be able to write to tag annotations (actually we might write the user name to every event sent to PI by a specific operator)

-> send data to PI with the press of a button

-> be able to see latest 10 entered values for every item

-> some cells to be grayed out and not allow manual data entry but only display some connected PI tag data (to help operators asses the current and historic situation better)


We are looking into keeping the same look and feel for operators' user experience hence using Excel sheets to do all the above. What would be the best option in terms of the developer technology to use behind?

Form some other PISquare posts, it seems that several options are available:

-> Use PI DataLink functions.

Some questions here: Can PI DL show an array of historical values for a tag in a pop-up window when user clicks on a cell (for cleanliness, we would have this in a separate sheet I believe)

Can PI DL send values to PI (reading from a cell (any type pof data - numbers, timestamps, digital codes, strings) and write annotations at the same time ?

-> use PI SDK (I understand this is deprecated..)

-> use PI API (Is this deprecated as well ?)

-> use wrapper arounf PI AF SDK (I understand this is not 'production'-ready, although there are wrappers available..)

-> VBA code to read and send data to PI using PI WebAPI (webAPI wrapper for VBA..) Is that something OK for a production environment and if so, does OSI have a production-ready WebAPI wrapper for VBA ? If so, is Kerberos delegation absolutely needed to work for this ? 

-> reading data with PI DataLink and writing manual data to a REST service (can this work with PI UFL Connector ? I believe it had the option to expose a rest service to ingest data... can then Excel VBA just call the REST service (how?)

-> other ideas... VSTO add-ins, etc  (note: we are considering exporting data to CSV and using PI UFLs..)


Note: PI Manual Logger is not an option here (we evaluated it with customer) because of the lack of customization of the data entry screen (both Web and Desktop versions)