What is OPC UA? Also: The Modeling Language for the Automation World
Good morning, good afternoon, good evening – wherever you are in the world!
“OPC UA is the secure transport of information to physical assets”.
Well – also more than that. Everywhere and every time I must explain, “it is much more than just a protocol including security”. And yes, also the 105+ domain-specific Companion Specifications are becoming more popular, and people know about them.
OPC UA as a Modeling Language in Cloud Applications and Digital Twins
Most people know that OPC UA started as an initiative in the OT world and expanded from the PLC control plane to SCADA and later to MES and ERP. More and more people are realizing that OPC UA via MQTT is the bridge between OT and IT and is able to push information directly into Microsoft and AWS cloud dashboards without the need for an adapter.
But most people believe that modeling capability is only for the OT world and not for the IT world. That’s why some of them started to design their own metamodel languages. They don’t have the creativity to recognize OPC UA as a powerful modeling language for cloud and digital twins – just without a protocol or with MQTT and REST interface.
Don’t believe me? Please listen here to OPC Foundation CTO Jim Luth (Schneider Electric) from OPC Day 2023.
OPC UA File Transport
The next perception is that OPC UA is only for live data exchange. Wrong! OPC UA allows one to create, delete, open, read, write, edit and of course transfer files – a core feature that has been available since 2009. This presentation by Sebastian Friedl and Sven Goldstein received a lot of positive feedback – watch their video here
- Video here: File Transfer and performance by Sebastian Friedl
- Video here: Integration into PLC and use cases by Sven Goldstein
OPC Day International -2118 Registered Participants
The complete list of presentations and the video recordings can be found here.
First of all, I would like to send a BIG THANK YOU to all registered attendees – it is a pleasure to see this much interest! Honestly, I shouldn’t start highlighting specific presentations – where to start, where to stop? Certainly, it was a pleasure to listen to Joel Max from the FBI – not to mention the keynotes on the OPC Foundation initiative for information models in energy markets. Most of the questions from the audience were about the REST working group and Randy Armstrong’s presentation. Thierry Daneau, Renault, wowed me: I met him just a week before OPC Day in Paris during the ISO super meeting and he agreed to give a presentation – I was thrilled to see his live dashboards showing how many machines are connected via OPC UA – an ever-growing curve!
Cooperation with ANIE Automazione, Italy
Besides Germany, Italy is also a major center of mechanical engineering in Europe: so it was a pleasure for us to sign the Memorandum of Understanding with our new partner ANIE Automazione. Together we did the two demos for field and cloud during the SPS fair in Pharma, Italy – the booth had unexpectedly high traffic and the 600 copies of the new OPC UA brochure translated into Italian were completely distributed within 3 days.
It was super easy to integrate ANIE member company Gefran’s solutions with the AWS and Microsoft dashboard.
New Joint Working Groups (JWG)
We have started three new joint working groups in June; two more will be started in July:
- June 19th : Non-Destructive Evaluation (NDE) (details here)
- June 27th : Kick-Off | OPC & Web-of-Things Connectivity with 44(!) Attendees (details here)
- June 28th : Kick-Off | OPAF and OPC unified AutomationML model (details here)
- July 3rd: Kick-Off | Monitoring and control of Wind Power Plants (details here)
- July 18th : Kick-Off | Integrate Secure Elements (details here)
Please subscribe to https://opcfoundation.org/news/technology-news to receive immediate information about new releases, release candidates for review. and new working groups.
Since the last issue of our newsletter, we have participated in many events, including major trade shows such as Hannover Messe, ARC Forum Europe, SPS Italia, and the Oil&Gas Conference in Lisbon. However, I would like to highlight the trip that Thomas Hahn, OPC VP, Siemens and I made to India. Please remember that India is the most populous country in the world, so it is a signal to India when the President and Vice President travel together. First of all, the trip was excellently prepared by our partner VDMA, including meetings with the government and seminar tours in Pune and Bangalore. We also had a long exchange with Subs, Siemens India, who is the excellent leader of the OPC Hub India. I would also like to congratulate the Uttunga company, because we were unexpected and special guests at their company event: they started 15 years ago with 3 employees and today they have 1000 employees under contract. My intention here is not to highlight the achievements of any particular company – it’s rather to show the growth of the OPC UA ecosystem to the world. Impressive!
Success Story: Buhler and Imperial Tobacco
Two new success stories will be published soon – due to all other activities, we are in a final revision cycle. Stay tuned – cool content coming!
There have been so many activities and we are all looking for a break in the summertime. I wish you all that you find some time to relax, to slow down and then return to the exciting daily routine with new strength. Have a good summer!
President, OPC Foundation