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Field Level Communications Corner – Sept 2023

    UAFX Specification Status

    A maintenance release of the UAFX specifications is currently being finalized and is expected to be submitted for member review in the upcoming weeks. This maintenance release will consist of the previously unpublished UAFX Specification Part 10000-83 (UAFX Offline Engineering) and revisions of the already released UAFX Specification Parts 10000-81 (UAFX Connecting Devices and Information Model), 10000-82 (UAFX Networking) and 10000-84 (UAFX Profiles).

    Furthermore, the working groups of the FLC Initiative are continuing the transition to the next project phase in which the elaborated concepts of UAFX with the focus on Controller-to-Controller (C2C) are extended to also support the Controller-to-Device (C2D) use-cases including the various factory and process automation application areas, such as motion control, field instruments, and distributed I/O.

    UAFX Interoperability Workshop & UAFX Conformance Testing

    The FLC Prototyping WG is organizing an Interoperability Workshop (IOP) at Mitsubishi Electric in Krakow (Poland) on November 7-10, 2023. The objectives of the IOP are the testing of UAFX controller prototypes and UAFX engineering tools with specific UAFX features, such as exchange of UAFX offline descriptors, use of Connection Configuration Sets (CCS), UAFX connection establishment, and Ethernet transport for PubSub messages.

    OPC Foundation members that are interested to participate can contact Peter Lutz, FLC Director, peter.lutz[AT] or Joao Daniel Gomes Da Graca Lopes, FLC Prototyping WG chair, jgomesda[AT]

    Due to the continuous progress of the UAFX conformance test development, the recent release of the Compliance Test Tool (CTT) now also supports initial testing of the UAFX information model.

    UAFX Controller-to-Controller Interoperability Demo celebrates premiere in China

    At this year’s China International Industry Fair (CIIF) / Industrial Automation Show (IAS) in the National Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai (China), the OPC Foundation has showcased for the first time a multivendor UAFX-based interoperability demonstration which is comprised of controllers and network switches from nineteen manufacturers, including ABB, Beckhoff, Bosch Rexroth, B&R, Emerson, Festo, Hirschmann/Belden, Huawei, Keba, Lenze, Mitsubishi Electric, Moxa, Omron, Phoenix Contact, Rockwell Automation, Schneider Electric, Siemens, Unified Automation, and Yokogawa.

    The demonstration showcases horizontal communication between 3rd party controllers, i.e., controller-to-controller (C2C) communications. Utilizing the UAFX extensions, the controllers exchange cyclic process data using UAFX Connections and PubSub mechanisms via UDP/IP over wired Ethernet and Ethernet TSN switches. The UAFX connections between the UAFX controller prototypes utilize UAFX Publisher and UAFX Subscriber functionality, which are configured via built-in or stand-alone UAFX Connection Managers provided by Mitsubishi Electric, Schneider Electric, Siemens, and Unified Automation. The controllers in this demonstration are monitored in real time via a central dashboard, which visualizes the status, selected process data, and other information from the UAFX asset information model for each automation component.

    The UAFX interoperability demo will also be shown at the upcoming ITAP (Industrial Transformation Asia Pacific) exhibition in Singapore (October 18-20, 2024) and the IIFES (Innovative Industry Fair for E x E Solutions, formerly System Control Fair) in Tokyo (Japan) in early 2024 (January 31 – February 2).