OPC Foundation and FieldComm Group Cooperate to Develop an Instrumentation Device Profile for OPC UA Field eXchange
At the ACHEMA exhibition in Frankfurt/Germany (August 22-26, 2022) the OPC Foundation (OPCF) and the FieldComm Group (FCG) have announced a collaboration to drive multi-vendor interoperability of instrumentation devices based on OPC UA and the extensions for the field level, named OPC UA FX (Field eXchange). This development will incorporate preliminary work by both organizations in order to ensure that the market will have only one single standard. The aim is to provide an interoperable interface between PLC / DCS and instrumentation devices, such as transmitters, instruments, and actuators. The solution shall support different industries such as oil & gas, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, energy, water & wastewater, and pulp & paper.
To begin this work, a new OPC UA Instrumentation Working Group is being hosted by the OPC Foundation under the leadership of the Field Level Communications (FLC) Initiative. Participation in the working group is open to members of the OPC Foundation, as well as corporate entity members of the FieldComm Group. Many well-known manufacturers in the process and factory automation industries are represented within this working group to ensure a uniform, worldwide, and coordinated standard for OPC UA-based instrumentation devices.
The new instrumentation device profile specification will use PubSub and can be combined with different underlying communication protocols (e.g. UDP/IP) and physical layers (e.g. Ethernet-APL) to support all relevant use cases in discrete and process manufacturing, including safety instrumentation based on OPC UA Safety and deterministic data exchange based on Ethernet Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN), where appropriate.
The Instrumentation Facet shall be complementary to OPC 30081 “OPC UA for Process Automation Devices (PA-DIM)” and other Companion Specifications. The working group will also strive to manage overlap with other information models already released or under development. Examples include the models for “Calibration” (a Harmonization sub-group) and “Laboratory and Analytical Devices” (LADS working group).
OPC UA Field eXchange (FX) Digital Days on July 12-14, 2022
The OPC Foundation and its FLC Initiative hosted a three-day webinar on July 12-14, 2022 about extending OPC UA to the field level. In the webinar an overview about the use cases, application areas, and user potential of OPC UA for Field eXchange (FX) was given. In addition, the technical concepts and features for the configuration, startup, and operation of automation components were explained – not only with regard to network- and device-related aspects, but also related to information modelling, connection establishment, offline engineering, real-time communication, and functional safety. In addition to the 2-hour presentations each day, several live demos were shown in order to illustrate the practical handling of the OPC UA extensions for Field eXchange. All recordings have been made available in the OPC Foundation’s Youtube channel.
FLC Technical Working Group – Controller-to-Device (C2D) Kickoff meeting
Now that the completion of the UAFX Specification Version 1 with the focus on Controller-to-Controller (C2C) is within reach, the FLC Initiative has launched the next project phase in which the existing concepts of UAFX are extended to also support Controller-to-Device (C2D). The kickoff meeting of the FLC Technical Working Group was held as a 3-day face-to-face meeting on July 26-28, 2022, hosted by Schneider Electric at their facility in Andover, MA (USA). More than 75 attendees from 25 member companies of the OPC Foundation participated and jointly analyzed the C2D-related promises, user stories, and requirements with the main focus on interoperability, parametrization, I/O, networking and security. In addition, organizational aspects and adjustments to the working group structure were being discussed. Participation in the FLC Working Groups is open to all OPC Foundation member companies. Contact: Peter Lutz, Director FLC, peter.lutz[AT]opcfoundation.org
OPC UA Safety Technical Paper
A 24-page technical paper about OPC UA Safety has recently been published which provides a comprehensive and understandable overview of the technical concepts and the unique benefits of functional safety communication with OPC UA, as specified in OPC 10000-15 Unified Architecture Part 15 Safety. In addition to the technical paper, a recorded presentation “A Gentle Introduction to OPC UA Safety” is available in the OPC Foundation’s Youtube channel.
Link to Technical Paper:
Link to Presentation:
Testimonials about OPC UA Field eXchange (FX)
Members of the FLC Steering Committee have renewed their commitments to OPC UA for Field eXchange (UAFX). The respective testimonials have been made available online via the OPC Foundation’s Youtube channel: