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OPC Foundation at Hannover Messe

    Relevance of OPC UA Technology

    The industry recognizes the significance of OPC UA for the digital transformation. While data is, indeed, the new currency, OPC UA goes beyond being just a protocol. It is a comprehensive framework for secure, reliable, and interoperable communication – from the embedded world to the enterprise/cloud – also addressing the requirements for system architectures, which is omitted by the protocols.

    The Hannover Messe Fair has always been a place for exchange between organizations. Also, this year, with continued discussions between the OPC Foundation, Industrie 4.0, Open Industry Alliance, PNO, and others to align on industry relevant topics, this remained true. Many of these discussions have continued beyond the fair with further personal meetings.

    The OPC Foundation also want to say thank you to all partners at the Hannover Messe who are helping to inform visitors about OPC UA, upcoming trends and of course about their own products and services.

    OPC UA meets IT

    During this event, end-users came together with cloud and industrial vendors to get updates on the latest activities. On the second day of the conference, the OPC Foundation, supported by key players in this field, provided more details about the Cloud Initiative, which was announced during the OPC Foundation press conference on the previous day.

    Left to right: David Tobon (HUAWEI), Erich Barnstedt (Microsoft), Rüdiger Fritz (SAP), Steve Blackwell (AWS), Alexander Allmendinger (OPCF)

    This initiative is designed to gather and organize the related and ever-expanding activities of the members of the OPC Foundation within the cloud and IT area. One of the newest activities in this area is the OPC UA for AI working group, chaired by Dr. Holger Kenn. During his presentation at Hannover Messe, he provided first insights into the industry pertaining to the scope of the group and further explaining why this topic is so relevant for more than 60 companies, who have already named their representatives for the working group.

    With representatives from the BSI explaining the generalities about the upcoming Cyber Resilience Act, the OPC Foundation provided insights for the vendors, which was later extended within the OPC UA Security Summit.

    The next headliner of the event was on the topic of Energy. U.S.-based CESMII, together with Microsoft, explained how they expertly validated the Battery Passport, using OPC UA for the Data Modelling of all Battery Attributes. Then, they demonstrated  data collection of dynamic values over the operational lifetime of the Battery Passport itself, all facilitated with OPC UA REST interfaces.

    Finally, the working group chair provided an update on utilizing standardized OPC UA interfaces within the hydrogen industry. Due to the inherently modular nature of systems used within the hydrogen industry, OPC UA has attracted significant interest as the ubiquitous connectivity layer to support these modular production units, which was widely on display in the hydrogen halls of Hannover Messe.

    Key Activities at the OPC Foundation Booth

    Visitors to the interactive booth, staffed with experts from both industry and officials of the OPC Foundation, were able to explore various live demonstrations:

    • Brownfield Integration: With several off-the-shelf, real-world products, including an OPC UA interface, this demonstrator, including support from several partners, showed how to integrate legacy devices into modern systems.
    • Security Management: A live demonstrator showcasing the OPC UA certificate management for OPC UA components, but also support for legacy protocols.
    • A live demonstrator featuring APL-enabled devices bringing OPC UA into field devices and bringing data with OPC UA over MQTT seamlessly to the cloud.
    • OPC UA for Field eXchange: A live demonstrator featuring prototype implementations of the OPC UA FX specifications from 27+ vendors. This live demonstrator showcases the benefits of the horizontal Controller-to-Controller (C2C) communication.
    • OPC UA for Cloud eXchange: A live demonstrator featuring 37 running devices and applications publishing OPC UA over MQTT directly to a central broker, providing data to both aws and Microsoft Azure dashboards as well as an application from Inchstone as an example.
    • Digital Twin, Digital Product Passport, Product Carbon Footprint and Battery Passport: A live demonstrator showing a realization of the legislative requirements for digital product passports with OPC UA technology. The demo is supported by international colleagues and partners:  CESMII, from the U.S.; VDMA and Microsoft, from Europe; HUAWAI, from Asia.

    With a booth including all of these real-world products, highlighting the adoption and further commitment from major automation suppliers to the technology, the OPC Foundation summarizes the exhibition as a great place for open discussion and getting to know the technology.