By Alyssa Dalton
Feb. 8, 2015 – With the combination of IEC 61131-3 functions and secure OPC UA communication, Beckhoff Automation’s SOA (service oriented architecture) PLC promises more efficient, data-consistent, secure, and standardized communication for the implementation of smart factories.
The controller integrates OPC UA client function blocks in the PLC, and can play the active, leading part, in addition or as an alternative to the conventional role allocation. The PLC is thus able to exchange complex data structures horizontally with other controllers, or it can vertically call methods in an MES/ERP system via an OPC UA server, e.g. to retrieve new production orders or write data to the cloud, says Beckhoff. As a result, the production line can become autonomously active.