Technology

Packaging machine automation – It just works

by Robert Trask, P.E

As U.S. manufacturing and production moves toward what is generally considered the fourth Industrial Revolution, popularized as “Industry 4.0,” many of the necessary technological components are already in place. However, there is some additional ground that must be covered. A consensus is forming around the notion that the primary component preventing the revolution from reaching full speed is wider acceptance of communication standards. So how can we consistently, and with less effort, exchange data between the various components of a highly connected industrial machine or process?

Unified architecture aids interoperability with IoT

by Nathan Pocock, Director of Technology and Compliance, OPC Foundation

It seems as though everyone has now heard of the Internet of Things (IoT) and Industry 4.0 and the opportunities ahead. But are you prepared to benefit from this next technological leap while maximizing your opportunity with minimal risk and cost? One key to success is adopting open standards such as OPC UA, a platform-independent technology that assures interoperability…

OPC finds a role in bringing together process and building automation

by Dan Hebert, Control magazine

OPC is playing a significant role in allowing plants to bridge the gap between process control and building automation systems, according to an article in the November issue of Control magazine by senior technical editor Dan Hebert. There are multiple reasons to bring them together, and others to keep them apart.

OPC UA progress highlighted at SPS show

Security and interoperability for data and communication are key topics for the Industry 4.0 initiative and the Internet of Things. An efficient network of sensors, field devices and controllers up to the Cloud for new services and Big Data can be realized with the OPC-Unified Architecture (OPC UA). That was the message delivered at the OPC Foundation press conference during November’s SPS/IPC/Drives 2014 in Nuremberg, Germany.

Smart watch meets smart factory with OPC UA

by Tesla

Tablet PCs are playing a growing role in helping workers monitor industrial processes as they move around a factory. Smart watches may soon prove equally useful.

To showcase the application potential of smart watches, Tesla, a company that enables real-time mobile SCADA access to industrial communications platforms using OPC UA technology and the Android operating system, recently participated in a…

Mapping BACnet to OPC UA

by Frank Schubert, Vice Chairman of the Working Group Technique; Member of the BACnet Interest Group Europe Advisory Board

The OPC Foundation and BACnet Interest Group Europe founded a common working group to specify a mapping profile between BACnet and OPC UA. This article introduces the basics to understand the mapping between these two technologies.

In the working group the members identified the most commonly expected use-cases. The first approach included in the current documents is a mapping of building automation data from BACnet devices and represent them through a mapping device in OPC UA.

BACnet Calendar and Schedule Objects: Scheduling From Your Couch

by Erik Dellinger, Kepware Technologies

Before I get into Kepware’s current implementation of the BACnet Calendar and Schedule Objects (available in KEPServerEX version 5.15 and later), we should cover objects in general terms. When we talk about objects, we are essentially talking about structured data. You can think of structured data as how we store and organize data so that it can be easily and efficiently referenced and used. For example, rather than reading your first name, your last name, and then your location, you read it all at once. Structured data is a collection of properties or attributes that can contain various information, some of which is useless on its own but paints a larger and…

Energy Smart Buildings at Microsoft Powered by ICONICS and OPC Connectivity

By Melissa Topp, ICONICS

A small, covert team of engineers at Microsoft cast aside suggestions that the company spend US$60 million to turn its 500-acre headquarters into a smart campus to achieve energy savings and other efficiency gains. Instead, applying an “Internet of Things meets Big Data” approach, the team invented a data-driven software solution based upon ICONICS HMI/SCADA software that is slashing the cost of operating the campus’ 125 buildings, saving Microsoft millions of dollars. ICONICS’ certified OPC UA and BACnet connectivity played a key role in making these savings possible.

Microsoft’s Energy-Smart Buildings application includes over two million data points generating half a billion data transactions every day. Over five hundred OPC-enabled Modbus devices, including electric meters, power distribution units, generators, UPS switches and other critical building equipment, generate large amounts of Big Data that are being provided to…

Energy Monitoring, Analytics & Big Data in Real Estate

By Stefan Hoppe, TwinCAT Product Manager, BECKHOFF Automation; President of the OPC Foundation Europe

Energy monitoring in decentralized real estate properties enables operators to establish energetically optimized statutory management requirements. As an example, the municipal sector often operates up to 2,000 real estate properties via facility management. The energy monitoring system, e2watch® from regio iT Corporation for Information Technology has been developed in cooperation with the real estate and facility management department of the city of Aachen, Germany.

The e2watch® system utilizes a compact Beckhoff controller as a decentralized control unit for data acquisition and buffering. However, the most sophisticated feature is the synchronization with the Cloud using a configurable scheduler. This system uses the manufacturer-independent interoperability standard, OPC-UA (also known as international standard IEC 62541) with integrated security mechanisms as a data transport layer. The collected data gets pushed from a control unit (acting as a PLCopen function block standardized OPC-UA Client) as historical data…

AutomatedBuildings.com Interviews Tom Burke, President of the OPC Foundation

An interview of Thomas Burke, President and Executive Director of the OPC Foundation, by Ken Sinclair, Publisher and Owner of AutomatedBuildings.com

OPC UA is designed for information integration between industrial automation and building automation systems.

The OPC Foundation has been collaborating with many other standards organizations in the advancement of interoperability by providing an information integration infrastructure for standardizing of complex data models into the easy to understand OPC UA information model namespace. One of the most important collaborations has been building automation.

Highlights from the OPC Foundation Information Revolution 2014 Conference

By Bill Lydon, Editor of Automation.com

The OPC Foundation Information Revolution 2014 Conference was held at Microsoft’s Redmond Campus on August 4-7, 2014. The conference featured industry experts who both presented and learned more about OPC Unified Architecture.

Tom Burke, Executive Director of the OPC Foundation, opened the conference by reflecting on the history of the OPC Foundation, which was founded in 1996. Burke emphasized that OPC UA is now used to move information in all types of industry applications, from embedded devices to the enterprise and cloud computing. OPC standards and certifications empower users and vendors to implement products and systems with the confidence that OPC Foundation vendor hardware and software building blocks will work together reliably. Today, more than 40,000 products use OPC standards…

OPC UA & Drilling Automation

By Martin Cavanaugh

The Society of Petroleum Engineers has formed a technical section to accelerate the development and implementation of automated drilling systems. Automated drilling systems are intended to increase the productivity of drillers, while at the same time increasing safety for both humans and the environment.

Data Modeling in the Oil & Gas Industry

By Rich Hunzinger, B-Scada

The Oil and Gas Industry faces a number of new challenges in the coming years. From the obvious challenge of managing a finite resource to ever-changing environmental regulations and the consequent competitive pressures, it’s easy to understand why industry leaders are continually striving to find ways to optimize and improve operational efficiency.

The new digital landscape of the industry has led to a proliferation of data, with greater frequency, at every stage of the business lifecycle. This abundance of data has led to new ideas about how this data can best be managed to maximize its value. The standards introduced by PPDM 3.8 include 53 subject areas intended to give executives a model for a Master Data Management solution.

A data management model is necessary largely because of the separate data sets that must be monitored – such as location data, well data and production data – which have traditionally been grouped and viewed separately. Now, research is showing that the proliferation of these information “silos” and the lack of a unified view can lead to a number of undesirable…