President’s Welcome – September 2021

Educational Material – Free of Charge

The OPC Foundation provides a lot of free educational material to show the benefits and intelligent architecture of OPC UA. But it looks like some people enjoy mixing information and confusing the world – with the only goal to attract attention and sell their own services. To clean up some common misinformation:

  • No: OPC UA PubSub is not just for TSN. Instead, OPC UA PubSub is a generic communication method available over various transport channels like MQTT or UDP. And yes, the OPCF FLC team is using OPC UA PubSub for an efficient transport at the field level using UDP or a direct mapping to Ethernet Layer 2, optionally with TSN if deterministic data transfer is required.
  • Yes: OPC UA over MQTT is simple and straightforward. Usage benefits not only from standardized information models, but also from all the other additional OPC UA services on top of the transport layer -which are missing in MQTT. Check out the OPC UA IIoT Starter Kit! Learn more on GitHub here.
  • UAcademic: We have started to create a comprehensive set of free training material for academia. Due to the importance of the topic, the OPC Foundation is making additional efforts to provide recorded slides explaining the concepts and technologies, and we will also provide translated material to cover additional regions e.g., China. Learn more about UAcademic here.

Availability & Showcase

Coordinating technical papers and releasing specifications in international groups requires a lot of energy – undoubtedly these are important milestones in standardization work. But the best specifications are still “just nice to have” if they are not adopted by industry. Please stay tuned and visit the OPC Foundation’s booth in Hall 5 at SPS show at the end of November for a ‘firework’ display of product announcements and demonstrations:

  • After starting 3 years ago, the OPC Foundation FLC team will conduct its first public prototype demo based on the OPC UA FX specification series for horizontal controller-to-controller communication. Experience how the world’s leading companies and their controllers communicate with each other via a standardized, secured and ready-to-plug-in solution! This will also include an OPC UA Safety Demo so please visit our booth and let the experts explain everything to you! Click here to read more about FLC.
  • As I mentioned above, OPC UA PubSub is built for generic communication over various transport channels – such as UDP and MQTT out of one controller. At the SPS show you will get to see it used live in products.
  • Another highlight will be the Global Discovery Server (GDS) Service for discovery, on-boarding and automatic certificate management. At the SPS show you will receive more information and a live presentation.

Commitment

The third day of OPC Day International 2021 featured success stories from end-users such as equinor, BMW and Miele (all with OPC UA connectivity to Microsoft Azure), Renault (with OPC UA connectivity to Google Cloud) and BASF. Click here to watch the recording.

This time it is my pleasure to highlight the 3 largest Industrial IPC vendors in the world Advantech, Siemens and Beckhoff: they are all not only OPC corporate members, but actively driving the standard forward.

Collaboration: Next Level for Certification

The OPC Foundation is a non-profit association that is supporting collaborations with other organizations, because we understood a long time ago that no single association in the world can solve the big challenges facing our world. We need partners and we like to work together with them for the benefit of the industry. These partnerships have so far focused mainly on the definition of Companion Specifications. The combination of semantic “what” and secured transport “how” has been developed in more than 65 different groups for different vertical markets on open rules and IPR defined by OPC Foundation to protect both adopter and implementer.

  • Certification: The next level of collaboration is to collaborate on certification as well. One example where we will collaborate is the certification of OPC UA Safety. Safety certification involves additional requirements and legal aspects where we will work with the Profibus Nutzerorganisation (PNO) to leverage their experience with PROFIsafe to provide certification for OPC UA Safety. Furthermore, we will also work with other organizations as more extensions to the OPC UA technology which have been jointly developed become available in products on the market. As mentioned earlier, we are the cooperating association. Please enjoy the report from our Compliance team in this month’s OPC Connect.
  • MDIS: The OPC Foundation proudly welcomes the MDIS organization and its member companies, now hosted by the OPC Foundation. We promise to continue our support in the best mutual interest of the oil and gas industry.
  • Ethernet-APL: Remember that the OPC Foundation has jointly launched the Ethernet-APL initiative. We proudly presented the first OPC UA and Ethernet-APL enabled devices from Endress+Hauser, Pepperl+Fuchs, and SAMSON connected to Microsoft Azure. Click here to view a video presentation of the demonstrator. To learn more about Ethernet-APL as an enabler for OPC UA, we highly recommend joining the free Ethernet-APL technical workshops on October 5 and 6.

Looking Ahead to 2022

Looking forward to 2022 we believe those smart people that have taken the chance to get vaccinated will be able to meet again in person. We will present the FLC Controller-to-Controller and OPC UA Safety demo at the ARC Forum in February 2022, but will also be active at IMTS, Automate, and PackEXPO in North America. In Europe, we will continue our activities at Achema with a 300 sqm booth to show OPC UA via Ethernet-APL and scaling to the cloud (via OPC UA over MQTT). Plus embedded world, Hannover Messe, and SPS are also the traditional trade-shows where we will exhibit. I hope to travel to trade shows in Asia like CDIIF, SCIIF, CIIF (all China), IIFES in Japan and also ITAP Singapore. Please see our full list of activities here.

Enjoy reading this issue of OPC Connect!

Stefan Hoppe
President, OPC Foundation
stefan.hoppe[AT]opcfoundation.org