OPC Foundation announces December release date for analyzer specification draft

Sept. 30, 2008

Scottsdale, Ariz – September 29--  The OPC Foundation has announced the release date for the OPC Analyzer Devices Integration draft specification for review. The OPC Foundation working group, composed of end users Abbott, Arla Foods, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer and vendors ABB, CAS, Kaiser Optical Systems, Malvern Instruments, Mettler-Toledo AutoChem, Siemens, Software Toolbox, Sympatec, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Umetrics, and Yokogawa, representing both Process Analytical Technology (PAT) and laboratory industries, are developing an information model for analyzer devices to allow plug-and-play multivendor interoperability. The Analyzer Device Integration working group is developing a common method for data exchange and an analyzer data model for process and laboratory analyzers. The model is developed as a logical extension of the OPC UA specifications. The release date for the draft specification is December 2008.

“PAT users are looking for true plug-and-play interoperability. A well-defined information standard and its implementation such as OPC-ADI is a great step in that direction. OPC-ADI can help minimize custom integrations that users have to take on themselves. This directly will improve the time to benefit from PAT implementations” said Lou Pillai, director, strategic architecture at Pfizer.

“Since its launch in February 08, the OPC Foundation Analyser Device Integration (ADI) Group has steadily developed in terms of numbers of participants and importance to the pharmaceutical industry to become one of the key activities to enable and expedite future PAT & Quality by Design initiatives. By quickly recognizing the critical role that process & laboratory analyser connectivity, control and integration play when creating a QbD data management infrastructure, the group, composed of analyser and automation vendors, systems integrators and end users, has focused on the current issue of multiple vendor data formats and protocols to begin to create an industry standard approach using the principles of OPC Unified Architecture (UA).

The OPCF ADI UA specification will ultimately provide an open standard to resolve today’s analyzer integration and data exchange challenges and empower the industry to achieve improved process understanding, real-time process and quality control, and its ultimate goal, real-time release” said Phil Litherland, technical director of process analysis and control technologies for GlaxoSmithKline.

“We are focusing on bringing new analyzer device types into the development labs as well as into production facilities. Sometimes integration is needed just to test out the instrument. Thus it is crucial for us to be up and running with the analyzer connected to our MES platforms in hours, not days. An OPC analyzer device interface supported by vendors will give us the speed and flexibility we need to implement reliable and adaptive integration. Adaptive integration will give us the ability to add additional instrument information as the need arises in a structured and standard way” adds Arne Svendsen, head of manufacturing IT for Arla Foods.

“Based on experience in PAT implementations, we recognize the complexity and effort of interfacing with a variety of analyzers. Standardization has proven its ability to increase efficiency and reliability; a common standard for analyzer integration offers opportunities to reduce complexity, cost and risk” said Pascal Marly, senior consultant, PAT, for Siemens.

The OPC Analyzer Device Interface is based on the OPC-Unified Architecture specification. OPC Unified Architecture is designed to facilitate building complex systems that are composed of products from multiple vendors and providing the infrastructure for integration to solve both simple and complex information integration opportunities.

“The OPC ADI effort demonstrates the commitment of the OPC Foundation to providing standard, workable interfaces to the wide range of industrial devices used in modern manufacturing environments. The ADI effort builds on the secure, reliable and standards- based communication methods built into OPC-UA.” said Tom Burke, President of OPC Foundation.

The OPC-ADI interface is planned to support a wide range of existing and future analyzers, including, but not limited to: spectrometers (IR/NIR, visible, UV, Raman), particle size analyzer, chromatographs (gas, liquid), acoustic and teraHertz spectrometers, nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometers, mass spectrometers, automated microscopy and imaging systems (visible, NIR, cell counting, etc.).