Due to a variety of reasons, sometimes the channel names under which data is stored is not how you later want them to appear in reports and graphs. For example, many data loggers have limitations in terms of the ability to generate the channel names you would like, thus forcing you to send data to the FlowWorks database under something less than the naming convention you would prefer.
To remedy this issue, you can use FACE (FlowWorks' Advanced Calculation Engine) to create a virtual channel with the desired name, and have it mirror all of the data contained within the original channel. By doing so, users will see a less cryptic and easy to interpret channel name within FlowWorks. You can then proceed to 'hide' the original channel, and instead use the virtual channel in the same way as you would use the original channel, for monitoring, reporting, analysis, etc.
This article walks you through the process of setting up a virtual channel, linking it to a raw channel for data mirroring, and then hiding the raw channel from view.
Step 1: Create a Virtual Channel Using FACE
- Click on Manage; a drop-down menu will appear.
- Select FACE (Configure Sites). the Site Configuration page will load.
- Expand the Choose Site drop-down menu and choose the site that contains the channel you wish to 'replace'.
- Click Add New Channel. The Add Channel page will load, where you will configure the new virtual channel.
- In the Channel Name type-field, enter a name for the virtual channel.
- Expand the Channel Units drop-down list, and select the appropriate unit of measure.
- Select Calculated in the Channel Type drop-down.
- Ensure that Visible is checked. This enables visibility of the virtual channel across all FlowWorks tools.
- Save the new virtual channel by clicking Create New Channel. You will be directed back to the Configure Sites page.
Step 2: Create a Calculation in the Virtual Channel
Now that you have created a virtual channel with the desired name, you must setup a calculation to 'fill' the virtual channel with data originating from the raw channel.
Continuing on from the Configure Sites page:
- Confirm that you are still looking at the desired site, and that the virtual channel name you have just created is displayed in the Choose Calculated Channel drop-down box. If not, expand the drop-down and locate the correct channel.
- Click View Calculated Channel. This will direct you to the View Calculated Channel page.
- Since this is a new channel, you need to define a calculation to go with it. Click Create Calculation. This will open the Create Calculation page, as shown below.
- In the Calculation Name box, enter a name for the calculation. While having this is optional, it is valuable to anyone coming in later to understand what is going on. A good example of a Calculation Name is "Calculate [Channel Name]".
- In the Description box, describe the channel in brief - indicate that this calculated channel is equal to the original raw channel. Although this is optional, it is useful to include a description for easy reference.
- In the Type drop-down, select Formula. Note that filling a virtual channel with data from a raw channel does not require the use of a function, so we can leave this as Formula.
- Ensure that the Start Date and End Date fields are left blank. In this case, we want all of the data found in the original raw data channel to be 'forwarded' to this virtual channel.
- Now, we need to define the formula. Next to Source Component 1, under Site, select the site that contains the correct raw data channel. Then, expand the drop-down menu under Channel, and select the raw channel from which data is to be 'copied'.
- The Variable Name for the first Source Component will default to 'A'. This letter is the variable to which you are assigning the data points found in the original channel, and will be used in the next step.
- In the Define Equation box, simply enter the letter 'A' (no quotes, just an A). This tells FlowWorks that every data point in the virtual channel is equal to the same data point (including date and time stamp) found in the original raw channel.
- Click Save. You will be directed back to the View Calculated Channel page, where the virtual channel and the newly configured calculation will be summarized.
At this point, the process of creating a virtual channel is complete. Now, the virtual channel will be visible in the Site Explorer, and can be used throughout FlowWorks.
Shown below is a graph, displaying both the raw data channel and the new virtual channel in parallel; this demonstrates that FlowWorks is copying data from the original channel into the virtual channel.
Step 3: Hide the original channel from view in FlowWorks reporting and graphing tools (optional)
To complete the 'renaming' process, all that remains is optionally making the original channel invisible across all FlowWorks tools. Doing so will ensure that those in your enterprise do not accidentally utilize the incorrect channel.
Starting from the Configure Sites page:
- Expand the Choose Site drop-down list; select the site that contains the original data channel.
- Expand the Choose Channel drop-down list; select the original channel.
- Click Edit Channel.
- Next to Visible, de-select the check-box. You have now told FlowWorks to not display the raw channel name in graphing and reporting tools.
- Click Save Changes.
You are done! You can now use the new virtual channel in lieu of the original raw data channel.
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