OPC UA FX (Field eXchange) – Release Candidate 1 Completed

RC1 for Controller-to-Controller Specification Completed

More than 320 experts from over 60 OPC Foundation member companies have been contributing to the completion of the first release candidate (RC1) of the OPC UA FX (Field eXchange) specifications to extend the OPC UA framework for the field-level. This marks an important milestone for the Field Level Communications (FLC) Initiative which was launched in November 2018 with the goal to extend OPC UA for the various use cases in factory automation and process automation including real-time, motion and safety. The OPC UA FX Release Candidate 1 consists of four specification parts:

  • Part 80: OPC UA FX – Overview and Concepts
  • Part 81: OPC UA FX – Connecting Devices and Information Model
  • Part 82: OPC UA FX – Networking
  • Part 83: OPC UA FX – Offline Engineering

Later in the year, the Release Candidate 2 (RC2) with additional features can be expected. The RC2 will also contain improvements that result from the work of the FLC Prototyping Working Group which is currently verifying the RC1 specifications by building prototypes and executing joint testing. Finally, the RC2 will also include Part 84 (OPC UA FX – Profiles) which is defining the mandatory features and facets for controllers to achieve cross-vendor interoperability.

For this year’s SPS show, an OPC UA FX Controller-to-Controller Interoperability demo is being planned to demonstrate how controllers of different manufacturers are enabled to exchange process data including real-time, safety data and on-the-demand data using OPC UA FX over a network infrastructure consisting of Ethernet and Ethernet TSN switches.

OPC UA Safety – Beta Version of Stack Stack available

The joint project of the OPC Foundation to develop an OPC UA Safety Stack software, funded by a total of 31 member companies of the OPC Foundation, has made significant progress. The contracted Institute for Automation and Communication, Magdeburg/Germany (IFAK, https://www.ifak.eu/en) has completed a first beta version of the OPC UA Safety Stack which can now be used to build first prototypes. In addition to the stack software development, IFAK is also creating V&V (verification and validation) documentation to allow for pre-certification by notified bodies.

Funders are not only getting early access to the preliminary software & documentation, in addition, they also receive a commercial source code license on the final project results (certified source code plus documentation) in order to integrate the Safety Stack into commercial OPC UA products. There is still the possibility to participate in this project as a funder. Please contact Peter Lutz at peter.lutz[AT]opcfoundation.org to learn about getting involved in this initiative.