In-Chassis OPC UA Server for the ControlLogix® PLC

Sponsored by: Softing

Softing is your OPC partner with over 20 years’ experience with OPC. Softing offers OPC and OPC UA solutions from chips, to embedded engineering toolkits, gateways, software middleware, and in-chassis modules for Rockwell Automation ControlLogix PLCs.

Softing builds ControlLogix in-chassis modules as an Encompass Partner with Rockwell Automation. The Softing OPC UA server module for ControlLogix:

  • Eliminates the PC, software, and OS in the middle and maintenance required in a PC connectivity solution by being an in-chassis OPC UA server module inside the ControlLogix rack
  • Allows you to browse the ControlLogix tag list for easy setup
  • Allows you to work with complex data in OPC UA rather than just data values in OPC Classic – this means that when a pump model is created, OPC UA carries the entire pump model, hierarchy, data types, and data values

FAQs for OPC UA

Q: What applications do we typically see for OPC UA?

A: Connect ControlLogix to SCADA, to DCS, to other PLCs, to SAP, to HMIs, field devices and sensors. One example is an airport using the OPC UA module in a ControlLogix PLC to exchange data with an HVAC systems from another vendor.

Q: What’s the benefit of putting the OPC UA server inside a ControlLogix PLC chassis?

A: With an in-chassis OPC UA server module, you can eliminate the server in the middle.  When you get rid of the PC, you eliminate hassles with PC configuration, PC maintenance, PC software upgrades and backups, and you eliminate the challenge of just finding enough real-estate in the plant to place or mount the PC.

Q: What are some benefits of OPC UA versus the classic OPC protocol?

A: OPC UA benefits include:

  • Security – DCOM has been eliminated, and OPC UA includes encryption and authentication
  • Scalability – connectivity from sensors to the enterprise
  • Capability – OPC UA is more than just data values. OPC UA can include asset model properties and behaviors.
  • Platform independence – OPC UA is not limited to connectivity to Windows applications

Companion specs are being released for pre-configuring assets and behaviors, which were not possible for OPC Classic.

Q: How can I ensure compatibility with Industrie 4.0?

A: Any product being advertised as “Industrie 4.0 enabled” must be OPC UA capable.  However, most plants have many devices and systems that are not OPC UA capable.  Rather than replace these devices and systems, Softing offers protocol conversion solutions to help you build an OPC UA compatible infrastructure.