Good morning, good afternoon, good evening – wherever you are in the world!
OPC Unified Architecture (OPC UA) connects machines with each other, machines with services, and also services with each other. The LADS Hack-a-thon event in Waldbronn, Germany, further showed me that OPC UA connects people also!
LADS Hack-a-thon Hosted by Agilent Technologies
LADS stands for “Laboratory and Analytical Device Standard” – this standard is certainly remarkable for many reasons:
- OPC UA is moving into wider circles, specifically into a class of analyzer devices in the pharmaceutical sector.
(See landing page here and a more detailed video presentation here )
- Starting from the umbrella organization, Spectaris, many other international domain-specific organizations like JAIMA (Japan), Labmas (Spain), FHI (Netherland), and GAMBICA (UK) have joined the LADS initiative and are driving uniform, international dissemination.
- Besides many small and medium sized companies, market leaders like Agilent Technologies, with its headquarters in Santa Clara, California, USA, are also driving the effort: this time Agilent, alongside their Waldbronn, Germany branch, hosted a 2-day hack-a-thon for 40 people from 20 companies.
- Heiko Fessenmayer, of Agilent Technologies, is to be thanked here vicariously – as an evangelist for standardization, he is, in parallel, also the leader of the OPC UA Companion Standards CAISI (Common Analytical Instrument System Integration – get more information here) where big market leaders, like Agilent Technologies, Waters, Thermo Fischer Scientific, and Shimadzu and many more are working together on these standards.
- Three or four times a year, Janina Boling, from Spectaris, organizes a Hack-a-thon in Germany, hiring professionals, like Matthias Schuh, of Essentim to run the workshop and Dr. Matthias Arnold c/o “Dr. LADS” to host general training and offer individual consultation.
- OPC Unified Architecture Connects People
During the 2-day session, 40 participants gathered around code-specific tables in order to offer help to one another: Both open-source solutions and commercial toolkits. Programming languages like C#, C++, Java, and Python were used.
By exchanging ideas with each other, in their “own programming environment”, many participants were able to implement the framework for their application within 2 days: Loading both the LADS information model and the communication link to their own device. OPC UA, thus, offers complex services and security – but as the hack-a-thon shows, the technology can be implemented quickly. To further explain the concept and share the impressions of participants who reported their quick success and the high value of the event, the OPC Foundation sent a video team to document the hack-a-thon to assist others throughout the world who wish to use it as a template to bring their own standard to market. Recordings will be available soon.
- LADS/CAISI: International Adaptation & Events
Next year, similar events are also planned in USA and Japan. Due to market demand from two major vendors from Japan, the initiators JAIMA (Japan) and Spectaris (Germany), along with OPCF-Japan, are planning a hack-a-thon in Japan adapted to local traditions. Agilent Technologies has offered to host a LADS/CAISI event at their HQ in Santa Clara, California – but before that, the results will be exhibited at the SLAS2024 International Conference and Exhibition in Feb 2024 in Boston at a dedicated booth.
New Joint Working Groups (JWG)
Since July, 2023, we have started these new joint working groups since July:
- Sept 18th: SMT – UA DataSheet (details here)
- Sept 26th: Wire Harness Manufacturing (details here)
- Upcoming: Facility Data Standard (details here)
Please subscribe to https://opcfoundation.org/news/technology-news to receive immediate information about new standards releases, release candidates for review, and new working groups.
New CTT Edition
The compliance team has released a new version of the Compliance Test Tool (CTT), including the first automated tests for the OPC UA FX specifications. Please read their detailed report here and learn about testing of the utilized AML technology as a necessary extension to the OPC Foundation’s certification program.
OPC Unified Architecture for IT & Cloud
Some people tend to forget about the capabilities of OPC UA to scale from sensor to IT, cloud, digital twins, and data spaces. By so doing, they will, unfortunately, reinvent the wheel and, thus, create a similar but different, incompatible standard.
We are happy that OPC Unified Architecture is recognized as a powerful modeling and secure information exchange technology and, as such, has been asked to help integrate OPC UA PubSub into the Eclipse Data Connector (EDC) – this we will gladly do – I will report more during the IT-focused event “The European Big Data Value Forum” (EBDVF) starting Oct 25th in Valencia, Spain.
Election of the OPC Foundation Board of Directors 2024/2025
The OPC Foundation is an open and democratic organization; therefore, the members of the Board of Directors are elected by each appointed representative from the corporate members of the OPCF. Each year, the members elect half of the seats on the Board, for a period of two years, based on the list of nominated candidates.
For the period 2024/2025, there are 7 candidates running for 5 available seats – this shows the attractiveness of the OPC Foundation as an organization. See the list of candidates and their profile here.
My personal “thank you” to the candidates for their willingness to run for office and, thus, help the organization.
Voting will begin on November 1, 2023, when the designated representatives will receive an email to participate in electronic voting. The results will be publicly presented during the OPC Foundation General Assembly on December 6 – please register here.
Success story Bühler
The list of impressive user success stories has been further extended with a new article about OPC Unified Architecture being implemented at Bühler in Switzerland. The Swiss machinery manufacturer Bühler plays a crucial role in meeting the basic food and mobility needs of two billion people. This is because a large proportion of the machines used in food production and die casting come from Bühler. OPC UA is used since 2014 and it’s the base of their components “Pluto” and “Mercury MES”. Major industrial customers have increased the efficiency of their production and reduced energy waste and water consumption with Bühler’s OPC UA-based solutions.
Read the success story here.
I was invited to Switzerland, many years ago, by Ralph Häuselmann of Bühler, where, as an R&D architect, he had set up an integrated concept, based on OPC UA from machines up to the Azure Cloud, which was validated with experts (like Erich Barnstedt of Microsoft). A few years later, everything has become a functioning reality and Ralf Häuselmann has trained his successors, while he is about to retire. We wish “all the best and especially health” for an exciting next stage in life and send him and his colleagues a “heartfelt thank you” for contributing their success story.
In the second half of the year, we are actively participating in a lot of conferences and tradeshows around the globe, with our own booths. We would be happy to meet you at:
- Sept 19th: China International Industry Fair (CIIF) in Shanghai, China
- Sept 26th: IoT TechExpo in Amsterdam, Europe
- Oct 18th: Industrial Transformation ASIA-PACIFIC in Singapore
- Oct 24th: Southtec in Greenville, South Carolina, USA
- Oct 25th: The European Big Data Value Forum (EBDVF) in Valencia, Spain
- Nov 14th: SPS show in Nuremberg, Germany
See the list of events here including available sponsorship opportunities. Stay tuned and I hope to meet you in person at one of these events!
President, OPC Foundation