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September 2014

The OPC Foundation and BACnet Interest Group Europe Collaboration

By Tom Burke, President and Executive Director of the OPC Foundation

This edition of the OPC Connect newsletter focuses on OPC engagement with building automation.

Since October 2012, we have had an active working group and collaboration between BACnet Interest Group Europe and the OPC Foundation. The fruits of the labor of this working group are about to be released as a companion specification at the end of this year.

This issue begins to highlight some of the success stories that we already have from our OPC vendors deploying products that solve critical integration opportunities between industrial automation and building automation.

Mapping BACnet to OPC UA

by Frank Schubert, Vice Chairman of the Working Group Technique; Member of the BACnet Interest Group Europe Advisory Board

The OPC Foundation and BACnet Interest Group Europe founded a common working group to specify a mapping profile between BACnet and OPC UA. This article introduces the basics to understand the mapping between these two technologies.

In the working group the members identified the most commonly expected use-cases. The first approach included in the current documents is a mapping of building automation data from BACnet devices and represent them through a mapping device in OPC UA.

Compliance Corner

By Nathan Pocock, Director of Compliance

In our last newsletter we reported a high number of test failures. Products are generally passing Compliance, Interoperability, and Usability on first attempt; application crashes and resource leaks continue to be the cause of most failures. In response, we released Certification Resource Efficiency Testing to provide step-by-step guidance on how to conduct high quality robustness, recovery, and stress testing within your own lab environment.

Certified OPC products are ideal for production use because they have been tested by the OPC Foundation Certification Test Lab for compliance, interoperability, usability, but most importantly: robust error handling and recovery that will provide years of reliable operations, greatly reducing the costly risks of unavailability and/or shutdown.

University of Texas at Austin Physical Plant Realizes “Astronomical” Cost Savings Using InduSoft Web Studio and OPC UA

By Richard Clark, InduSoft

The University of Texas at Austin campus is large — something on the order of a small city. The campus has every type of physical environment imaginable. From Opera Halls to Football Stadiums. From Foreign Language Classrooms to Research Laboratories. From Restaurants to Hospitals and Medical Training Facilities. Now imagine having to provide for all that, steam for electricity and heating, chilled water for cooling, emergency power, deionized water and pressurized air for an area of buildings, offices and classrooms covering an area of 17 million square feet.

In an interview with Juan Ontiveros, Executive Director, “We had a manual process for taking meter readings. The infrastructure was built using PLCs and smart electric meters and networking them around Campus. Data gathering from these devices began in 2006 originally using OPC DA technology and a process historian that the Department already owned. MS Excel was used to run energy reports off the historian. It was a very expensive time-consuming and labor intensive process, taking sometimes weeks to produce a bill for just one of the buildings.”

BACnet Calendar and Schedule Objects: Scheduling From Your Couch

by Erik Dellinger, Kepware Technologies

Before I get into Kepware’s current implementation of the BACnet Calendar and Schedule Objects (available in KEPServerEX version 5.15 and later), we should cover objects in general terms. When we talk about objects, we are essentially talking about structured data. You can think of structured data as how we store and organize data so that it can be easily and efficiently referenced and used. For example, rather than reading your first name, your last name, and then your location, you read it all at once. Structured data is a collection of properties or attributes that can contain various information, some of which is useless on its own but paints a larger and…

Energy Smart Buildings at Microsoft Powered by ICONICS and OPC Connectivity

By Melissa Topp, ICONICS

A small, covert team of engineers at Microsoft cast aside suggestions that the company spend US$60 million to turn its 500-acre headquarters into a smart campus to achieve energy savings and other efficiency gains. Instead, applying an “Internet of Things meets Big Data” approach, the team invented a data-driven software solution based upon ICONICS HMI/SCADA software that is slashing the cost of operating the campus’ 125 buildings, saving Microsoft millions of dollars. ICONICS’ certified OPC UA and BACnet connectivity played a key role in making these savings possible.

Microsoft’s Energy-Smart Buildings application includes over two million data points generating half a billion data transactions every day. Over five hundred OPC-enabled Modbus devices, including electric meters, power distribution units, generators, UPS switches and other critical building equipment, generate large amounts of Big Data that are being provided to…

Energy Savings in Heavy Industry Facilities

By David Hill, Opto 22

A large heavy-industries corporation in Asia supports economic development worldwide by providing basic industrial materials and by building the facilities needed for industrial growth. The company’s portfolio of products includes castings and forgings, nuclear and thermal power plants, water desalination plants, material handling systems, and more. Products and components are manufactured in multiple sub-factories, and a large quantity of electricity, gas, and water is consumed by each facility in the process. The amount of energy used varies in each sub-factory based on the manufacturing requirements of the products produced.

It was clear that real-time electricity, gas, and water consumption data for each sub-factory had to be captured in an electronic form that was available to the ERP system for analysis. To implement this, the company…

Energy Monitoring, Analytics & Big Data in Real Estate

By Stefan Hoppe, TwinCAT Product Manager, BECKHOFF Automation; President of the OPC Foundation Europe

Energy monitoring in decentralized real estate properties enables operators to establish energetically optimized statutory management requirements. As an example, the municipal sector often operates up to 2,000 real estate properties via facility management. The energy monitoring system, e2watch® from regio iT Corporation for Information Technology has been developed in cooperation with the real estate and facility management department of the city of Aachen, Germany.

The e2watch® system utilizes a compact Beckhoff controller as a decentralized control unit for data acquisition and buffering. However, the most sophisticated feature is the synchronization with the Cloud using a configurable scheduler. This system uses the manufacturer-independent interoperability standard, OPC-UA (also known as international standard IEC 62541) with integrated security mechanisms as a data transport layer. The collected data gets pushed from a control unit (acting as a PLCopen function block standardized OPC-UA Client) as historical data…

AutomatedBuildings.com Interviews Tom Burke, President of the OPC Foundation

An interview of Thomas Burke, President and Executive Director of the OPC Foundation, by Ken Sinclair, Publisher and Owner of AutomatedBuildings.com

OPC UA is designed for information integration between industrial automation and building automation systems.

The OPC Foundation has been collaborating with many other standards organizations in the advancement of interoperability by providing an information integration infrastructure for standardizing of complex data models into the easy to understand OPC UA information model namespace. One of the most important collaborations has been building automation.