Field Level Communications (FLC) Corner – June 2022

Completion of OPC UA FX (Field eXchange) RC3 Specification

The technical working groups of OPC Foundation’s (OPCF) Field Level Communications (FLC) Initiative have completed the third release candidate (RC3) of the UAFX specifications. These specifications have the focus on Controller-to-Controller (C2C) and will become the first publicly released UAFX specifications after concluding the OPCF-wide member review that was started on June 1.

The now completed UAFX specifications consist of four parts (Parts 80-83) and focus on the connection between automation components to exchange process data and configuration data using OPC UA Client/Server and PubSub extensions in combination with peer-to-peer connections and basic diagnostics, including deterministic transport over Ethernet TSN. Shortly also Part 84 (OPC 10000-84) UAFX Profiles will be posted for review. This specification is used to segregate OPC UA FX features with regard to testing of OPC UA controllers implementing OPC UA FX functionality. This testing will be performed in the same way as the testing of profiles defined in Part 8 (OPC 10000-7).

As the completion of the first set of specifications enters the final phase, the FLC Initiative is preparing for the transition from the first UAFX specification version with the focus on Controller-to-Controller (C2C) to the second UAFX specification version which is extending the UAFX concepts to also include Controller-to-Device (C2D) and Device-to-Device (D2D). The kickoff meeting will be held on July 26-28, 2022 at Schneider Electric in Andover, MA (USA).

UAFX Multi-Vendor Demo Celebrates its Live Premiere at Hannover Fair

The UAFX multi-vendor demo has celebrated its live premiere on the booth of the OPC Foundation at Hannover Fair (May 30-June 2, 2022). The UAFX demo is showcasing cross-vendor interoperability of controllers – including PLCs, Motion Controllers, Robot Controllers and Distributed Control Systems (DCS) – over a common networking infrastructure consisting of Ethernet switches, Ethernet TSN (Time-Sensitive-Networking) switches and a 5G testbed using millimeter waves. In the demo, all controllers are monitored in real time via a central dashboard which visualizes the respective status, selected process data and other information from the UAFX asset information model of the automation components. UAFX controller prototypes will act as UAFX Publisher and/or UAFX Subscriber, which exchange process data via UAFX Connections and PubSub. The controllers are configured and interconnected via so-called UAFX Connection Managers, which are either integrated into the controller or implemented as an external software component.

Controllers for the multi-vendor demo were provided by ABB, Beckhoff, B&R, Bosch Rexroth, Emerson, Festo, Honeywell, Keba, Mitsubishi, Omron, Phoenix Contact, Rockwell Automation, Schneider Electric, Siemens, Unified Automation, and Wago. Network components were provided by B&R, Cisco, Hirschmann-Belden, Huawei, Moxa, Phoenix Contact, Rockwell Automation, Schneider Electric, and Siemens.

Live premiere of the UAFX multi-vendor interoperability demo (Hannover Fair 2022)

Webinar on OPC UA for Field eXchange (FX) on July 12-14, 2022

The OPC Foundation and its FLC Initiative are organizing a webinar on extending OPC UA to the Field on July 12-14, 2022. The purpose of this webinar is to give an overview about the use-cases, application areas and user potentials of OPC UA for Field eXchange (FX). Technical experts will explain the technical concepts and features for the configuration, startup, and operation of automation components with regard to network- and device-related aspects, including information modeling, connection establishment, offline engineering, real-time communication and functional safety. On each day there will be two hours of presentations including live demos, followed by a one hour session for Q&A.

Registration Link:

TSN Conformance Collaboration

The OPC Foundation is collaborating with Avnu Alliance, CC-Link Partner Association, ODVA, and PROFIBUS & PROFINET International (PI) to develop a single conformance test plan for the IEC / IEEE 60802 profile of TSN for Industrial Automation. The TSN Industrial Automation Conformance Collaboration (TIACC) marks a commitment by the collaborating organizations to develop an interoperable ecosystem of devices from different manufacturers contributing to end-users’ confidence that 60802-compliant devices from different manufacturers, supporting different automation protocols, will interoperate reliably at the TSN level on shared networks, including devices using TSN for applications other than automation.

The focus of the collaboration is to work together towards a jointly agreed and owned test plan for the industrial automation market, but the overall value is having a formal collaboration where all these organizations can work together and exchange ideas towards the end-goal of interoperability and coexistence on open, standard networks for all protocols.

Link to Press Release:

Read more:

Dr. Al Beydoun (President and Executive Director, ODVA), Greg Schlechter (President, Avnu Alliance), Manabu Hamaguchi (Global Director, CLPA), Stefan Hoppe (President and Executive Director, OPC Foundation) and Karsten Schneider (Chairman, Profibus and Profinet International)