Tutorial: Learning Workshop 2 - Thingworx Manufacturing Apps Technical Lab with Sigma Tile

Learning Workshop 2 - Thingworx Manufacturing Apps Technical Lab with Sigma Tile

What is the Sigma Tile?

The PTC Sigma Tile is a very low cost, ultra-portable IoT device that you can build yourself. It is equipped with sensors and can act as a Smart Connected Product or as an Industrial Controller (PLC). It is intended to be used for IoT demonstration and IoT applications development and testing purposes.

It was specifically designed to allow you to very simply and quickly demonstrate several outcomes of the Manufacturing Transformation Journey:

  • Unified visibility
  • Real-Time Issue Identification
  • Role-Based Intelligence
  • AR enabled operations
  • Agile Innovation

After downloading and configuring the FREE trial version of Kepware KepServerEX and of the ThingWorx Manufacturing Apps, you will be able to experience the power of the Industrial IoT with your Sigma Tile acting as PLC communicating to your KepServerEX server via MODBUS and representing a device, an asset or a line streaming its sensor data: temperature, humidity, acceleration and more.

Build it

You can build the Sigma Tile yourself for less than $100 (USD) using simple, easy to procure, proven components following our simple instructions, using your smart phone and delivered via Augmented Reality.

Connect it

Download and load our pre-configured device software image to your Sigma Tile and connect instantly to Kepware, streaming real time readings for the Sigma Tile sensors: temperature, humidity, acceleration, orientation.

Experience it

Download the FREE trial of our ThingWorx Manufacturing Apps, configure them with your Sigma Tile following our simple Quickstart Configuration Guide and, in less than 60 minutes, experience the power of Industrial IoT with your Sigma Tile acting as PLC and/or representing a device, an asset or a line:

  • Be instantly notified when a PLC stops communicating
  • Trend any OPC tag in minutes
  • Create alarms from any OPC tag in minutes
  • Gain visibility to assets and lines, including KPIs and OEE

Develop with it

Following our Developer tutorials, extend our ThingWorx Connected Operations starter Apps to build your own custom Apps. For example:

  • Create a custom Production dashboard for your plant using a plant layout
  • Create a custom Asset monitoring app by connecting to an Asset Maintenance system
  • Create a Global Plant dashboard
  • and more

For more developer tutorials, check out our ThingWorx Apps for Connected Operations portal page.

Getting Started

Download the Sigma Tile Package.

If you are an advanced user (experience with the Raspberry PI, ThingWorx and Kepware), use the Quick Start guide in the Advanced User folder of the Sigma Tile Package you downloaded.

For other users, we suggest that you follow the instruction sequence and steps below.

Build it

Step 1 – Procure components

In order to build the Sigma Tile, you will need the following minimum required components:

  • Raspberry Pi 3 Model B
  • Raspberry Pi Sense Hat
  • 16GB MicroSD card
  • MicroUSB cable

We recommend that you also procure the additional components specified in the detailed BOM information provided in the Build it folder of the Sigma Tile Package you downloaded. Assemble the complete Sigma Tile with its enclosure, which you can 3d print.

Step 2 - Using your Smart phone, download the ThingWorx View app, scan the ThingMark below and open the “Sigma Tile Experience.” Follow the “Assembly” instructions to assemble your Sigma Tile.

Connect It

Step 1 – Open the Sigma Tile Workshop Guide in the Connect it folder of the Sigma Tile Package you downloaded. This guide includes steps by steps instructions for installing, configuring and using your Sigma Tile with the ThingWorx Connected Operations starter applications.

Step 2 - Download to your computer the following files:

  • Kepware KepServerEX 6.0 - You can download KepServerEX from My Kepware Customer Self-Service Portal. Kepware product downloads will run for 2 hours at a time under a free demo license. The demo period can be repeated at any time by stopping and starting the application. Note that to reset the KEPServerEX Runtime Service, right-click on the Administration tool, the green EX icon the Systray, and select Stop Runtime Service. If the service does not automatically reconnect, right-click on this icon again and select Start Runtime Service.
  • Kepware configuration file for the Sigma Tile - This opf file can be found in the Connect it folder of the Sigma Tile Package you downloaded.
  • Sigma Tile SD Card Disk Image - This image contains the Rasbian operating system for the Raspberry PI preloaded and configured with MOBUS server and the Sensor reading and communication script.
    • Option 1 (Recommended) – Sigma Tile Disk Image Pixel Version
    • Option 2 (for Advanced Users) - if you want to build your own software image for the Sigma Tile from a fresh install of Raspbian, you can follow the instructions provided in Appendix A of the Sigma Tile Workshop Guide.
  • ThingWorx Manufacturing Apps (formerly known as Kinex for Manufacturing) - We highly recommend that you use the installer on your computer and/or virtual machine. Please note the supported platform and pre-requisities. This installer can be downloaded from this page.

Step 3 - Follow the instructions in Chapter 2, 3, and 4 of the SigmaTile Workshop Guide.

Experience It

Follow instructions in Chapter 5 of the Sigma Tile Workshop Guide to experience the ThingWorx Manufacturing Apps:

Develop with it

Step 1 - Find the sigma-tile-extensions.zip file in the Develop with it folder of the Sigma Tile Package you downloaded. This extension contains the necessary services to change the LED screen on your Sigma Tila based on an alerts triggered in ThingWorx using the Alert Editing and Monitoring module of the ThingWorx Manufacturing Apps.

Step 2 – Follow Chapter 6 of the Sigma Tile Workshop Guide to learn how to extend the ThingWorx Manufacturing Apps by installing a pre-built extension. This extension contains services and logic to communicate with the Sigma Tile from ThingWorx and update the Screen Control values in KepServerEX based on an alert being triggered in the ThingWorx Manufacturing Apps.

Support and Feedback

If you have any questions related to the Sigma Tile, these instructions and/or any aspect of the Sigma Tile Workshop Guide or Quickstart guide, you can post your questions in the Sigma Tile Group on the ThingWorx Community page.

If you have any questions related to the ThingWorx Manufacturing Apps (installation, configuration, capabilities), we invite to check our ThingWorx for Manufacturing Group on the ThingWorx Community page. You will be able to search and view posts from other participants of this Early Access program, from PTC Subject Matter Experts. You will be able to ask questions, share your lessons learned and provide feedback.

  • If you already a PTC customer, you probably already have an account
  • If you do not have an account, you will first have to login on the top right end side of the page

If you have any questions related to the KepServerEX, check the Kepware Technical Support page.

Supported Platforms

The ThingWorx Connected Operations Apps currently available are supported on the following platform:

  • Officially, only Windows Server 2008 and 2012 are supported in this early access release. However, the installer and applications will work fine on Windows 7
  • Windows 10 should also work but very limited testing has been done at this time
  • Windows Vista and NT are not supported and the installer will not let you complete the installation


For the computer where you will be installing the ThingWorx Connected Operations Apps, you should have the following:

  • .Net Framework needs to be installed (version 3.5.1) and running
  • If you are going to install in a VMWare machine, ensure that you have the latest VMWare tools installed. You will need at least 2 cores and 5GB of RAM (the traditional 1 core, 2GB configuration is not sufficient)
  • Recommended Browser (in order of observed performance with these Apps):
    • Chrome 51 (recommended)
    • Firefox ESR 47+
    • Internet Explorer 11

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