Digital Transformation with Custom OPC UA Drivers


The push towards the edge of integrating any and all devices into your enterprise and with each other continues charging forward, with IIoT and Industrie 4.0 initiatives emerging in virtually every industry around the world. But not every device out there has a ready-made, off-the-shelf driver for integration with other devices and other industrial systems.

In those situations, it’s common to consider options such as protocol converters or gateways or custom developed driver solutions – neither of which are ideal from an efficiency or a cost perspective. Protocol converters introduce an additional layer of communications and another potential point of failure.  And custom developed driver solutions are generally cost prohibitive and there are concerns with ongoing maintenance once a custom driver is developed.

A better option is having the ability to create your own custom driver that supports OPC connectivity, especially OPC UA for secure and reliable data integration of all of your edge devices with all of your upstream systems such as HMI, SCADA, MES, Historians and more.  And having the ability to create that driver without writing custom code ensures scalable, reliable, and cost-effective integration of all of your devices.

To that end, OmniServer is a user configurable OPC server that gives you the ability to access data from your edge devices that would likely otherwise be unavailable to your process and business systems.  OmniServer does this by taking care of all the polling and data parsing from those devices for you without the use of a programming language.  And, as an OPC UA server solution lab-certified for interoperability with any OPC UA client solution, OmniServer provides secure OPC UA connectivity, as well as flexibility for other standard interfaces.

OmniServer has enabled digital transformation since 1995, providing connectivity to devices that may have required manual interaction to extract vital process data (or devices that were islands of data in the past with no external access). Unlike most OPC servers that can communicate with specific devices or protocols (such as Modbus) and no others, OmniServer can be configured to communicate with virtually any one device or multiple devices, as long as the details of the protocol messages are available.

And OmniServer’s easy-to-use visual protocol editor lets you build a description of the data stream used to communicate with the device (referred to as a “Protocol”) using those details of the protocol messages (typically found in documentation from your device manufacturer). This is substantially easier and more affordable than the alternatives discussed earlier.

Additionally, the continuous improvement process for OmniServer eases any concerns about ongoing maintenance for your edge device connectivity, including ensuring that your OPC UA connections are always secure using the latest encryption algorithms and components. Since OmniServer handles all of the low-level device communications and OPC UA and other standard connection management, your engineers can focus on the other elements involved in the digital transformation of your IT and OT systems.

And, to ensure successful edge device integration, OmniServer makes it easy to setup a proof of concept protocol with your device’s protocol documentation using nothing but the fully-functional free trial version and an extensive library of how-to videos and documentation covering in detail everything from creating the protocol to making your OPC UA and other client applications connections to OmniServer. And a free protocol review of your documentation is also available, including expert recommendations on implementing your protocol in OmniServer.  And, with available hourly protocol consulting services, OmniServer application engineers can assist with full or partial creation of your protocol in the event that your own engineers are better served focusing on any number of other important tasks.

Click here for more details on OmniServer and a free trial