President’s Welcome – September 2020

After having stayed in the home office myself since mid-February 2020, it was a pleasure for me to meet a small team at the OPC Certification Lab near Stuttgart. The agenda was to prepare for the upcoming SPS trade show at the end of November with a face-to-face meeting, as the hygienic requirements for the trade show were quite demanding. We successfully found a solution, meanwhile the SPS fair has been cancelled. I suspect that there is no real planning security for fairs until mid-2021.

In the meantime, the OPC Foundation is involved in some virtual conferences – see details here: https://opcfoundation.org/news-events/events.

Our “OPC Day 2020 – International” with 3,009 registered participants showed that we need to exchange much more information in order to transport the results from the OPC UA Working Groups directly to the world through their technical chairpersons. I am pleased that all PDF presentations are now publicly available and you can also listen to all recordings. Information that is accessible to everyone without having to become a paying OPC Foundation member – this is how we live “openness” – the “O” in OPC!

So, what are some of the upcoming topics with visibility until the end of this year?

OPC UAcademics

We will continue our efforts in the “OPC UAcademics” initiative, which provides professors with free access to OPC UA related material on architecture, security, modeling, etc. Educating students with OPC UA topics must be important to all of us – already now UA experts are finding lucrative jobs in the marketplace very quickly.

OPC UA Compliance Test Tool (UACTT)

The UACTT has already been extended to include the validation of accompanying Companion Specifications such as MDIS, PLCopen and PA-DIM. Currently we are in close contact with 5 more groups to integrate their test specification results. Therefore the UACTT will receive quite a few more additional scripts by the end of this year. The money we saved on trade shows was immediately leveraged for these kind of technical topics. We want to do our part to accelerate collaboration initiatives.

OPC UA Brochure

We are proud that our China-based OPC colleague Albert Zhang was able to complete the Chinese translation of the current Brochure version v11 (including a statement from OPC Foundation member Google Cloud) in time for the upcoming CIIF exhibition in Shanghai. Today, the 56-page brochure covers the entire spectrum of information:

  • requirements and solutions in Industie 4.0 & IoT
  • testimonials from 30 industry leaders, OPC UA in different global regions
  • the technology and security of OPC UA itself
  • certification testing
  • 11 collaboration initiatives

On the one hand, we need additional space for the Field Level Communication (FLC) initiative, but we also want to provide space for all 55(!) collaborations to present their results too. It should show the broad impact of OPC UA in various markets around the world. So, either it will be one thick book, or we could split it into “OPC UA Basics” and a separate “OPC Companion Specifications” extension –let us see.

Download the brochure here https://opcfoundation.org/opcua-en.pdf

FLC Initiative

The OPC Foundation announced the FLC initiative in November 2018. With great effort and commitment this group plans to publish first results after two years of standardization. We also expect the publication of the more than 30 pages of FLC brochure material in the near term.

Ethernet APL

The OPC Foundation has joined the Ethernet APL (Advanced Physical Layer) group and as such, has booked a 95 sqm booth at Achema 2021. The FLC extensions for OPC UA that are harmonized for both factory and process automation, including safety, motion and determinism will be demonstrated. This holistic approach blurs the boundaries between process and factory automation!

Download the “Ethernet to the Field” brochure here: https://opcfoundation.org/apl/

UA for Cloud Library

The joint working group “UA for cloud library” together with CESMI has started and we will get first public insights into their direction. You can view the presentation from Microsoft on the topic that took place during OPC Day International – 2020.

Joint Working Groups

Four further joint working groups (JWG) have already been announced publicly and will soon start their kick-off. Stay tuned for announcements from:

  • OPC UA Information Model for analytical and laboratory equipment (UA for LADS)
  • Compressed Air Systems
  • M2X Intralogistics Communication
  • Process Air Extraction and Filtration Systems – PAEFS

 

More information about these collaboration can be found here: https://opcfoundation.org/markets-collaboration/

€3M Funding for Cross-Industry OPC UA Standards

The project “Interoperable Interfaces for Intelligent Production” (II4IP) funded with 3 Million Euro by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi), aims towards the development of cross-industry OPC UA standards. I highly recommend reading this article from Andreas Faath, VDMA to understand its goals, measures, and background information.

With this transparent overview of our upcoming activities , I wish you enjoyment and insight with this newsletter edition.

Stefan Hoppe
President
OPC Foundation