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Efficient OPC UA applications with TwinCAT


    OPC UA combines specifications that have been developed in close cooperation between manufacturers, users, research institutes and industry consortia to exchange information securely in heterogeneous systems. With the underlying object model, production data, alarms, events and historical data can be integrated in just one OPC UA server. The security mechanisms of OPC UA ensure the integrity and encryption of exchanged data and allow authentication of clients and servers. However, OPC UA is not only a communication protocol – it also enables the modeling and mapping of systems in the so-called OPC UA namespace through an extensible information model.

    Copyright © Beckhoff Automation

    Beckhoff adopted OPC UA at an early stage and firmly anchored the communication technology in a wide range of products: the company’s first OPC UA server software was presented as early as 2006, which was then officially offered as a TwinCAT supplement starting in 2007 for use in the first customer projects. The diverse application possibilities of OPC UA are also reflected in the Beckhoff product portfolio. The offerings range from Industrial PC diagnostic options and access to TwinCAT real-time data provided via OPC UA to the connection of OPC UA devices to the TwinCAT HMI visualization system and even to the cloud. In addition, the EK9160 IoT Bus Coupler is a hardware device that enables direct, simple and secure access to I/O terminals and field data via OPC UA.

    Beckhoff has pioneered open standards in automation for many years, so that customers benefit from highly extensive interoperability between Beckhoff devices and third-party products. Our unwavering commitment to OPC standardization is essential for this. As a result, the products are examined every year for appropriate interoperability and stability. Beckhoff is highly active in the further development of OPC UA through participation in the various working groups of the OPC Foundation and the VDMA, such as for the Companion Specifications for individual industries. All insights gained are directly incorporated into new product development.

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    Sven Goldstein
    Product Manager TwinCAT Connectivity & IoT
    Beckhoff Automation