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Contributing to Secure Data Utilization in Supply Chains with OPC UA


    In the wake of COVID19, the realization of Industry 4.0 is rapidly accelerating, and the distribution of information is about to expand across corporate boundaries and into supply chains. In addition to improving manufacturing productivity, the motivation is to create a sustainable society that is carbon neutral and recycles resources.

    To achieve this goal, a framework for the secure distribution of digital data between companies is required.

    To realize this social need, OMRON has participated in the interconnection trial of the European integrated data infrastructure project “GAIA-X”, which was initiated by NTT Communications Corporation (NTT Com) and started in October 2021. And we started the experiment using the controller with OPC UA as a standard feature.

    GAIA-X is an infrastructure initiative announced by the German and French governments in October 2019 to support data distribution while protecting security and data ownership. The initiative aims at social implementation of an interoperable data distribution platform that ensures data protection, transparency, and reliability to protect the rights of European companies, governments, institutions, and citizens, and invites non-European market participants to participate.

    With this background, there is a possibility that companies doing business in Europe will be required to comply with GAIA-X from April 2022. And depending on whether they are ready or not, companies are expected to be screened for business through data distribution with Europe.

    To comply with GAIA-X, it is essential to use international standard technologies to ensure safe and smooth information distribution that overcome differences in customs and laws in countries and industries. OMRON uses a controller that supports international standard technologies such as OPC UA to connect the “GAIA-X” with the data collaboration platform that NTT Com is commercializing. Specifically, OMRON’s NX series controller with OPC UA as a standard feature will be connected to the test-bed developed by NTT Com using IDS (the technology standard adopted by GAIA-X), and the standardization of the data model beyond the framework of countries and companies and the feasibility of the international data collaboration platform will be verified.

    Outline of the Trial

    • Period: October 2021 to March 2022 (scheduled)
    • Location
      • Step 1: Japan
      • Step 2: Assumed to be between Japan and the Netherlands
    • Experiment details
      • Step 1: Connect the controller of OMRON and the platform prototype of NTT Com by OPC UA.
      • Step2: OMRON’s controller is connected to the shared data space in the Netherlands via NTT Com’s platform prototype.

    OMRON has been providing its unique automation technology to manufacturing sites around the world. By further evolving these technologies to meet the needs of accelerating digitalization, OMRON will contribute to the “realization of engineering innovation through information coordination from design to production and maintenance,” “realization of supply chain innovation in the manufacturing industry,” and “achievement of carbon neutrality and the SDGs”.

    Minoru OKA
    Global product manager, Controller

    *Company names and product names in this document are the trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.