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Field Level Communications Corner – December 20222

    OPC UA FX Specifications Released

    The OPC Foundation (OPCF) has announced that its Field Level Communications (FLC) Initiative has released the first set of OPC UA Field eXchange (UAFX) specifications, which lay the groundwork for using OPC UA at the field level. Four years in the making, these UAFX specifications have passed in-depth OPCF member reviews and extensive prototyping to ensure their implementations maintain cross-vendor interoperability. As such, automation vendors can now start adopting UAFX functionality in their offerings, and end-users can look forward to the advantages that UAFX-based field communications offer.

    The released UAFX specifications consist of four parts focused on exchanging process and configuration data between automation components. The parts use OPC UA Client/Server and PubSub extensions in combination with peer-to-peer connections and basic diagnostics.

    • Part 80 (OPC 10000-80) provides an overview and introduces the basic concepts of using OPC UA for field level communications.
    • Part 81 (OPC 10000-81) specifies the base information model and the communication concepts to meet factory and process automation’s various use-cases and requirements.
    • Part 82 (OPC 10000-82) describes networking services, such as topology discovery and time synchronization.
    • Part 84 (OPC 10000-84) defines the Controller Profile with details to fulfill conformance requirements.

    This release lays the foundation for upcoming specification extensions, which will address the Controller-to-Device (C2D) and Device-to-Device (D2D) use-cases and the development of application profiles for motion control devices, field instruments, and I/O peripherals.

    Call for Sponsor/Participation

    The FLC Initiative has been already creating two OPC UA FX Controller-to-Controller Interoperability demos, one for American events and one for European events. Plans have now started to create an additional (third) OPC UA FX Controller-to-Controller Interoperability demo to be presented at Asian conferences and exhibitions. The demo will demonstrate how controllers of different manufacturers are enabled to exchange process data including real-time, safety data, and on-demand data using OPC UA and the OPC UA FX extensions over a network infrastructure consisting of Ethernet, Ethernet TSN, and 5G routers.

    For more information please contact Peter Lutz at peter.lutz[AT]