Welcome to the March 2016 edition of the OPC Foundation OPC Connect newsletter. 2016 has already started with a multitude of opportunities for the Foundation; its members, and the whole OPC community. Interoperability through collaboration continues to be the key objective of the end-user community in industrial automation.
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.
FLIR Intelligent Transportation Systems develops a wide variety of hardware and software solutions for vehicular/pedestrian traffic video detection and monitoring. Very often, these systems rely on open standard OPC UA interfacing to obtain information from the different subsystems.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is promising major operational benefits by closing the gap between production and IT. What’s needed is a way to move field-level data from existing manufacturing networks to the cloud-based applications. An OPC UA + MQTT gateway makes it possible to access a field device via the TCP/IP channel of an Industrial Ethernet network, but without PLC involvement.
2016 seems to be the year of certifying embedded UA Servers. Several other embedded UA products are also scheduled for testing. OPC UA is truly cross-platform. Embedded UA products have long been promised and are now a reality. Do you have an embedded device that needs to be certified?
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.