Welcome

The OPC Foundation is very committed to communicating and evangelizing how OPC Foundation members and the wider OPC community are using the OPC UA technology. Please take advantage of the opportunity to communicate what your company is doing with OPC technology. Stefan Hoppe and I are always seeking your articles and newsworthy events to publish and communicate to the OPC community.

The Current State of IT/OT Convergence

During the week of August 6 I had the unique opportunity to participate in a water and wastewater automation conference hosted by the ISA in Washington, DC. It is amazing how end-users, the utilities, and regulatory agencies are driving standardization as part of automation of their complex control systems in the OT world and how they want to have established information exchange to the IT world.

The buzzword being heard constantly at every event that I attend is always “Industrie 4.0” and all its regional equivalents. All the suppliers are talking about being “IIoT ready”. Everyone in the OT world wants to have seamless interoperability and to be able to get data from all their new “IIoT ready” devices. The volume of data clearly has been recognized as a unique opportunity to increase the value of automation. One never realizes how much maintenance end-users and operators must do and how important it has to be to easily make decisions based on gathering data, analyzing it, and turning it into useful information.

But concepts like ‘the cloud’, ‘IIoT’, ‘edge’ devices and ‘big-data’ are still very scary to many end-users even though suppliers are trying to convince them they have the products and solutions they need. Ultimately the discussion turns to cybersecurity and are these IIoT products designed with defense in mind.

Have you heard about the “Everyman’s Guide to OPC UA” series? Matrikon together with Beeond published an eBook and recorded a webcast on the topic that you can read more about in this article.

OPC Foundation Collaborations

Several outstanding collaborations that the OPC Foundation is engaged in are very close to release with OPC UA companion specifications, inclusive of MTConnect, MIMOSA, and WITSML.

Have you heard about OPC UA and MTConnect? The MTConnect standard enables manufacturing equipment to provide data based on a common set of semantic definitions in structured XML rather than proprietary formats. Having uniform data opens up a world of new applications for industry. MTConnect data sources include things like production equipment, sensor packages, and other hardware. Applications using MTConnect data provide more efficient operations, improved production optimization, and increased productivity.

MTConnect is already a popular standard for machine tools, robotics, and other manufacturing equipment. By applying the MTConnect data model to OPC UA, connectivity and interoperability will be significantly increased. OPC UA exposes the MTConnect data standard providing connectivity with many popular SCADA and other software products on the factory floor and to the cloud. OPC UA also provides the security, scalability, and reliability required for industrial communications at all levels.

For more information on collaborations, see this article with full details

Past and Upcoming Events

In June, I had the opportunity to attend the Rockwell Automation Tech ED in San Diego, California. It was an exciting event with over 2,000 people attending. I did multiple presentations during the course of the event to probably over 300 people all wanting to know about open standards, OPC UA technology, and how Rockwell was leveraging it as part of its multivendor strategy. Check out: Rockwell & OPC UA!

Also in June, I had the opportunity to attend SensorsExpo in San Jose, California. The OPC wall was there drawing lots of attention as everyone was discussing how they can build OPC UA into even the smallest level sensors. Everyone is excited about the ability to have information integration directly into Azure.  You can bet that the OPC foundation will be at this event in the future.

OPC Asia Tour

In July, Stefan Hoppe presented OPC across Asia in:

  • Seoul, South-Korea hosted by Samsung
  • Shenzhen, China hosted by Huawei
  • Singapore
  • Taipei, Taiwan hosted by Microsoft (planned; canceled due to typhoon)
OPC Event in Shenzhen, China

Joining Mr. Hoppe on his OPC Asia Tour was Dr. Reinhard Heister from VDMA. Dr. Heister shared his insights on the VDMA’s published information models for robotics, machine vision and the status of 15 other VDMA initiatives for specific vertical markets. Dr. Heister must feel like a rock star as attendees were taking pictures of each and every one of his slides despite announcements that the slide-deck would be shared!

Jonas Berg, Emerson

Mr. Hoppe commented “With their large amount of production lines, we noticed the Asian market is highly interested to optimize their production facilities with standardized, secured access to machines. The questions weren’t focused so much on OPC UA itself, but rather on the status of semantic definitions based on OPC UA.” Guest speakers also added value with insights from their perspective:

  • Huawei presented “OPC UA over 5G”
  • Jonas Berge, Emerson discussed “OPC UA in Process Automation”
  • William Tanuwijaya, Beckhoff presented “SoA-PLC Allowing RPC calls via OPC UA”
  • Dr. Park, head of Samsung Open Source presented “Samsung‘s Industrial Edge Platform with OPC-UA”. It included a fundamental commitment from an end-user perspective on the importance of OPC UA for their environment.

For more information about upcoming events check out this article.

Membership

There are a lot of exciting benefits of membership in the OPC Foundation; at last count, we have over 620 members, and growing. Members gain access to a number of sponsorship opportunities:

There are many important announcements that hopefully you are already aware of the via our monthly newsletter (register on the OPC Foundation website).