OPC Foundation gets help from friends

Jan. 7, 2016
PI, EPSG, Sercos and m2m partner with foundation to advance OPC UA specification

The OPC Foundation reports it's continuing to increase adoption of OPC UA by collaborating with other trade organizations.

"We've signed collaboration agreements with Profibus & Profinet International [PI], Ethernet Powerlink Standardization Group [EPSG], Sercos International  and m2m-Alliance," said Stefan Hoppe, vice president of the OPC Foundation, during its press conference on Nov. 26 at the SPS IPC Drives tradeshow in Germany. These organizations and others use OPC UA as a secure transport channel to interoperate with other systems.

OPC UA is a platform-independent, service-oriented architecture that integrates all the functionality of the individual Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) for Process Control (OPC) Classic specifications into one extensible framework. This multi-layered approach accomplishes the original design specification goals of:

  • Functional equivalence because all COM OPC Classic specifications are mapped to UA;
  • Platform independence from an embedded microcontroller to cloud-based infrastructure;
  • Security via encryption, authentication and auditing;
  • Extensiblity by being able to add new features without affecting existing applications; and
  • Comprehensive information modeling for defining complex information.

"We see OPC UA as a complementary technology for Profinet in Automation," said Karsten Schneider, chairman of PI. "The ability to run both services in one network will open entirely new possibilities, and will be the foundation for mega trends like the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Industry 4.0."

Stefan Schönegger, managing director of EPSG, added, "The tight collaboration of our both organizations and technologies will be a breakthrough for seamless communication from ERP systems down to the sensor level." Peter Lutz, managing director of Sercos International, added its collaboration with the foundation is already producing results, and that his organization has worked independently on its own OPC UA Companion Specification.

Finally, the OPC Foundation and the M2M Alliance will be working together on seamless and secure communications from field devices to backend systems. "It's becoming more and more important to adapt the well-established solutions from other M2M-application domains, such as health-cards or smart metering, to the special requirements of industrial automation," said Prof. Dr.-Ing. Axel Sikora, board member at the M2M Alliance.