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Tunnel Project [Case Study] and 11 Products

    What follows is a case study from Siemens about OPC UA ensuring availability in a tunnel project. Also listed are 11 of their products with an OPC UA interface.

    OPC-UA Ensuring the Availability in a Tunnel Project

    The Gotthard Base Tunnel in Switzerland, when open this June, at 57 km will be the longest railway tunnel in the world.

    OPC UA was defined as the standardized interface between the tunnel management system and the electromechanical systems. Given the need to integrate sixteen different facilities from different suppliers, it was vital to use a platform-neutral, standardized and uniform protocol.

    The tunnel management system is responsible for ensuring the remote control and monitoring of relevant data points across the electromechanical systems. Using the information being constantly supplied from the infrastructure subsystems, encompassing power supply, catenary system, ventilation and air conditioning, lighting as well as operation and surveillance of wide-ranging different doors and gates, a graphic system overview is prepared.


    Besides the indication of the statuses of the various electromechanical systems, also the locations of trains within the Gotthard Base Tunnel alongside additional information are displayed. All of these systems are managed by the overriding tunnel management system on the basis of the SIMATIC WinCC Open Architecture SCADA system . The entire infrastructure is displayed, monitored, and operated at two Tunnel Control Centers, one at the North and the other at the South Portal.

    Reasons for Usig OPC UA in the Gotthard Base Tunnel

    High availability of the communication

    • Redundant configuration set up both for the OPC UA client and server
    • OPC UA Heartbeat used for monitoring the connection in both directions

    Reliable data exchange

    • Authentication and authorization both on the server and the client side
    • Security based on current standards (SSL/TLS)
    • Use of standardized X.509 certificates
    • Same certificates also used in IT for safeguarding the https connections
    • Use of a standardized infrastructure (CA)
    • Secured OPC UA with encryption and digital signatures
    • Simple configuration of the rewall (only one port needed)

    High performance

    • Several hundred thousand data points
    • Use of the binary protocol (UA Binary, UA TCP)
    • Binary protocol requires little overhead
    • Consumes minimal resources
    • Offers outstanding interoperability

    Siemens products with OPC UA