Compliance Corner – June 2020

OPC UA Compliance Test Tool (UACTT) extended for Companion Spec Validation

UACTT now offering validation for PA-DIM (Process Automation Device Integration Model), PLCopen and MDIS

The OPC Foundation has announced an updated release of the UACTT, now supporting semantics defined in Companion Specifications as well as extending OPC UA core functionality testing. This furthers the Foundation’s goal of multi-vendor interoperability in OPC UA implementations. The new OPC UA Compliance Test Tool (UACTT) has been extended to include now more than 1800 test scripts for OPC UA core functionality and for Companion Specifications.  These include Process Automation Device Information Model (PA-DIM) and PLCopen –MDIS is already available.

Vendors using the UACTT can confidently take their OPC UA based products to market without worrying about possible Companion Specification related interoperability issues. Customers using conformance tested products can be confident that interoperability is assured.

Alexander Allmendinger, Test Lab Manager of the European Certification Test Lab explained “For vendors this helps their developers to quickly identify and rectify implementation issues that may otherwise have been difficult to track down. It can also reduce the risk of going to market with non-compliant products. For end-users, the UACTT helps minimize costly integration project overruns and operational risks that can arise from use of non-compliant 3rd party data connectivity products.”

The extensions are:

  • PA-DIM: The test scripts include checks for all data types defined in the Companion Specification and validation of PA-DIM object instances. This ensures that all mandatory elements in each object exist and comply with the type definitions.
  • PLCopen: The scripts check the correct mapping of PLCopen defined IEC61131-3 datatypes and namespace entry points for OPC UA against the PLCopen Companion Specification. Also, entry points defined in the Specification are covered in the testing enabling validation of the namespace of an OPC UA enabled controller offering a pre-defined IEC61131-3 project by the Joint Working Group.
  • MDIS: The scripts cover information model related tests and exercise the behavior of controlling mechanisms defined in this Companion Specification. This helps vendors to prepare their solutions and reduces their effort for time to market. The MDIS Companion Specification mandates certification and so the use of the UACTT is of even higher priority for these vendors.

Eelco van der Wal, Managing Director of PLCopen says: “Interoperability is key to the success of OPC UA and key to the world wide acceptance of this unique standard. With this new test tool, OPC Foundation provides the right level of support during the crucial phases of the product life cycle: development and integration. We are glad that the OPC Foundation added this to their suite of products and shows their commitment and support of this crucial technology, enabling a connected OT world.”

Peter Lutz, Field Level Communications (FLC) Director explains: “Interoperability for the process and factory automation markets cannot be limited to the uplink connection via an OPC UA Server. Providing interoperability between automation components from multiple vendors on an open and free standard at the field level is just as important. The FLC Initiative is currently working to develop new scripts for the UACTT including those needed for both APL and TSN components –this will be required as a mandatory conformance test of FLC-automation components.”

Stefan Hoppe, President of the OPC Foundation commented “The UACTT plays an essential role in fulfilling our OPC Foundation vision of secure, open data interoperability from sensor to cloud for process control, discrete manufacturing, and hybrid industries.”,  Mr. Hoppe continued, “The UACTT is a critical element of our provision of a single, open, and transparent approach for vendors and end-users to realize the value OPC UA offers. The UACTT makes this single-source of truth possible.”


Certification

You want to utilize this time to get your product tested and certified? Because of the global adoption of OPC UA technology our certification program is well prepared for testing without vendors traveling to the Certification Test Lab personally. Please see our certification section for more details.

During the process of commissioning and testing of a product, our testers might come up with questions regarding the operation of the product or features being supported. Answering their questions in a timely manner has critical effects on the total duration of the certification effort. Because of this, we highly recommend having development resources available during and after the scheduled testing time-frame.

The contact between the testers and the vendor personnel can be established in three ways:

  • All Online
    When choosing this option all contact between the vendor and the testers will take place online. This is being achieved by using tools for online meetings, file transfer, and screen sharing which are available in the Certification Test Lab or tools provided by the vendor themselves. This option is commonly chosen, as it is the most efficient use of time and resources for the vendor.
  • In-Person commissioning
    In this case the vendor sends a technical contact (usually local support person) for setup and some initial training on the product (usually 1 day). This option is used for more complex products that might require in-depth knowledge to operate or setup.
  • In-Person visit
    Of course the vendor can also join the tester for the full duration of the testing of the product. This can ease and speed up the information exchange, but most of the time the vendor will only watch the work of the tester waiting for questions. Depending on the product and the level of user experience there might only be a few questions or none.

All of these options are available and have been used for many years and proven to work efficiently. The key point for all options is, that the vendor’s technical resource is available during the testing time-frame for questions and bug fixing, without this, the duration of the testing becomes extended.

Learn More Here


Online Testbed / Virtual IOP Workshops

Testing of the interoperability aspect of OPC UA is an important action for all our members. Usually we are providing the opportunity to test this together with other committed vendors at our IOP Workshops which are held at major hubs in North America, Europe, and Asia. With the international travel bans these days, some of those events cannot take place. Because of that we are planning on bringing the IOP Workshop to you. Our experts are working on ways to provide the testing opportunities you need to ensure the interoperability of your products.

Because there are different approaches, we are planning on hosting two formats for testing this year:

Online Testbed

With our OPC Foundation Certification Test Labs we are working on technical solutions to get you into a separate testing network providing access to their reference products. This includes products from major vendors and allows you to get your OPC UA Client tested from home. See details here.

Virtual IOP Workshops

Important for any IOP Workshop is the opportunity to network with other developers and testers. The goal is to enable you to stay in contact but also test new versions of your products. Therefore, we are working on a solution which provides a virtual meeting room with private conversations besides a virtual network which works for software as well as hardware-based products. Of course, we will continue to use the IOP Application Test Cases with enhanced scheduling mechanisms for organizing testing pairs.