President’s Welcome

Welcome to OPC Connect September 2019

I hope that you have relaxed during the summer holidays and that you are fully prepared for the next challenges ahead. Before we look to the future, let me briefly summarize what has happened since our last issue in June.


Worldwide Activities

At the beginning of June, the OPC Foundation participated for the first time in Africa at the Africa Automation Fair in Johannesburg. The presentation at the conference and the networking during the fair was very interesting – but as so often I found out that OPCF has to help connect people. For example, local industry such as mining is not connected to the OPCF working groups that are working to standardize semantics in the mining industry. With representatives from local automation associations, we are planning a follow-up in 2020 and the creation of an OPC hub for networking.

Asia

The Asian seminar tour including Huawei and Foxconn Industrial Internet was exciting and I want to thank all sponsors involved. We had local OPC Days in:

  • Shanghai, sponsored by Huawei
  • Nagoya, sponsored by Mitsubishi
  • Seoul, sponsored by KETI
  • Taipei, hosted by Microsoft
  • Shenzhen, sponsored by Foxconn Industrial Internet
  • Singapore, sponsored by Beckhoff

The luxury problem of this 8-day tour: After only 2 weeks we had to stop the registration for Shanghai and Taipei because the conference rooms were completely booked out – e.g. Microsoft managed to welcome 157 participants to their facility in Taipei!

OPC Day – Taipei

When I heard Mr. Cheng, CEO of Foxconn Industrial Internet (Fii) at OPC Day Shenzhen, I was speechless about their efforts to integrate OPC UA into factories with 110,000 CNC machines! I truly believe we will hear more details in near future. In general, the technical interest in Asia is incredible as engineers understand the value of OPC UA, which provides standardized information and interfaces to drastically reduce engineering costs. Because of this interest, the OPC Foundation will for the first time have a booth and conference during the ITAP fair in Singapore in October 2019. We have already started planning the next Asia tour for 2020 – with much larger facilities.

Special thanks to Dr. Day, Fii, and his colleagues. From the first meeting in April in Chicago, it was just 10 weeks to commit to and organize OPC Day – Shenzhen.

Europe

European activities will now be continued with the OPC Day in Bologna, Italy, focusing on packaging, a performance comparison of client/server vs. PubSub, and deep dive sessions into TSN technology and the Field Level Communication initiative. Further local OPC Days are planned for Norway, Finland, and France. At the end of November, the OPC Foundation will present its largest ever OPC booth with 260 sqm at the SPS exhibition in Nuremberg.

North America

The North America Seminar Tour is currently open for registration: We will be guests at Microsoft’s Chicago plant on October 8th and continue with OPC Day Automotive in Detroit on October 9th, followed by Toronto on October 10th, traditionally sponsored by Beckhoff in Canada. Other cities include Philadelphia, Greenville, Houston, and Boston.

See all worldwide events here: https://opcfoundation.org/events


Companion Specifications

More and more Companion Specifications based on OPC UA are being released:

  • The joint working group with MTConnect announced their release available here: https://opcfoundation.org/news/press-releases/opc-foundation-and-mtconnect-institute-announce-release-of-the-opc-ua-companion-specification-for-mtconnect/
  • The VDMA initiative “OPC UA for Machine Vision” has been released. The OPC Foundation is also proud to announce that this is the first OPC UA Companion Specification developed via close international collaboration between multinational Machine Vision related standards bodies including the American AIA, Chinese CMVU, European VDMA and EMVA, and Japanese JIIA. This ‘big thinking’ aligns well with a key OPC Foundation focus on encouraging organizations to work together to reduce the vast number of overlapping ‘custom’ information models into a harmonized set of OPC UA Companion Specifications which will benefit end-users and vendors around the world by lowering the barriers to true interoperability. Read more: https://opcfoundation.org/news/press-releases/worlds-first-internationally-developed-machine-vision-information-model-based-on-opc-ua-released-by-vdma-machine-vision-initiative/
  • The joint initiative umati (universal machine tool interface) is showing an impressive live demo at the upcoming EMO Hannover 2019 trade show. On it, 110 machines and 28 software solutions from 70 companies across 10 countries (Australia, China, Germany, Italia, Japan, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Taiwan, and USA) are connected to the umati demo dashboard!
  • Regarding cross-domain harmonization, we are aware that the multitude of defined specifications can lead to duplication in some places. The subject of asset management, power management, or firmware updates can be found in all devices and machines independent from their market in the process industry or in factory automation. In order to meet this requirement, the new a cross-domain harmonization group has been established in June. The next step of interoperability is to check where there are similarities to the specifications of other areas in order to minimize these overlaps.

We want to make sure that all of you in the OPC community are aware of all the exciting activities and existing working groups; as always, standardization takes some effort and time but the results are are far reaching. So please be aware of all the joint working groups with an overview here: https://opcfoundation.org/markets-collaboration/ or as an spreadheet here: https://opcfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/UA-InformationModels-2919-05-14.pdf


Committed to Independence and Neutrality

The OPC Foundation is 100 percent independent and cannot be dominated by a single company and the voice of a small company is just as important as that of a global corporation. This independence, along with the transparency of the eco-system for solutions of UA technology, is the Foundation’s greatest strength. At the same time, it is the only way to achieve worldwide acceptance among companies from a wide variety of industrial sectors. Nevertheless, the Foundation’s work is not unaffected by global politics and/or politically-initiated economic developments. Like any other association or alliance, the OPC Foundation registers global developments and moods. We need to be vigilant and very careful in observing and analyzing what significance this can have on the Foundation’s work and objectives. From the Foundation’s point of view, it is tremendously important to involve as many companies from as many countries around the world as possible, in order to stick to the idea of a universal, globally-usable standard!

Stefan Hoppe
President, OPC Foundation