The market increasingly demands individualized products. Product life cycles are getting shorter and average lot sizes are getting smaller. Considering this, cost efficient production in a globalized and resource limited environment requires a highly flexible (IT-) infrastructure that also works well in cross-enterprise networks.
In its OPC UA working group, the OPC Foundation concentrates on enhancing the OPC Unified Architecture (UA) standard. Besides the existing Request/Response mechanism, which requires a “standing” connection between an OPC Client (data consumer) and an OPC Server (data provider), OPC UA will be enhanced with an additional communication schema following the principles of Publish-Subscribe.
OPC Classic – or OLE for Process Control – quickly established itself on the market almost 20 years ago. This was, among other things, because the standard provided both users and controller and display system manufacturers’ significant advantages. OPC UA, the technology that replaced it, is available on the market and provides even more utility.
OPC has been in the news recently. OPC Foundation had a booth at the annual embedded world Exhibition & Conference. OPC UA is front and center in the Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) Testbed that was founded as part of the Industrial Internet Consortium. And the ARC Advisory Group discussed the technology in an IIoT article regarding collaboration among automation vendors. Included is a list of upcoming events.
OPC Foundation has been active in events and collaborations in 2015. A six-city North American seminar tour provided technical information on OPC UA. We are presenting OPC UA at members’ user meetings with frequency. Finally, we exhibited at SPS/IPC/Drives where additional collaborations were announced.
The OPC Foundation increases the adoption of OPC UA by collaboration with other trade organizations. “We have signed collaboration agreements with Profibus & Profinet International, ESPG (Powerlink), Sercos International, and m2m-Alliance,” announced Stefan Hoppe at the OPC Foundation press conference at the SPS Show. These organizations use OPC UA as a secure transport channel to reach interoperability to other systems.
Companies join the OPC Foundation for many reasons:
KUKA joined to influence the direction of the technology and contribute to its progress through working groups. Read their reasons in this magazine interview, reproduced on the OPC Foundation website.
Collaboration has been and continues to be the cornerstone of success for the OPC Foundation. Developing solutions for many vertical markets is the vision of the OPC Foundation. When open standards are adopted across verticals, all users benefit. For example, that effort continues today to extend OPC UA beyond industrial automation into new territory like healthcare. And in industrial automation, that goal is furthered by collaboration with associations like CSIA.
The German Industrie 4.0 platform, consisting of ZVEI, VDMA, and BITKOM, has jointly reached important milestones in the standardization of Industrie 4.0. The first version of a reference architecture model for Industrie 4.0 (RAMI 4.0) which precisely describes Industrie 4.0-compliant production equipment, has been developed. OPC UA is listed as the one and only recommendation for realizing the ‘communication’ layer.
OPC Foundation has news of OPC UA’s role in Industrie 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things. And announces a new OPC UA brochure, new videos, and provides news from CERN on OPC UA in the Large Hadron Collider.
The MDIS network just completed a very successful interoperability test (IOP) in Amsterdam at its June meeting. The goal of the testing was to verify the information model and to gain experience with the implementation requirements associated with the OPC UA Subsea to DCS interface communication.