OPC Foundation to develop worldwide industrial standard

Wednesday November 07, 2018
Written by Manufacturing AUTOMATION
November 7, 2018 – The OPC Foundation has announced it plans to make its Open Platform Communication Unified Architecture (OPC UA) the worldwide industrial operability standard. 

The goal of this initiative is to deliver an open, cohesive approach to implement OPC UA, including time-sensitive networking (TSN) and associated application profiles. This will help the OPC Foundation to provide vendor-independent end-to-end interoperability into field-level devices for all relevant industry automation use cases. 

A new set of working groups established by OPC Foundation will identify, manage and standardize the OPC UA–relevant topics focused on industrial automation including:

• Harmonization and standardization of application profiles, e.g. I/O, motion control, safety, system redundancy
• Standardization of OPC UA information models for field-level devices in offline (e.g. device description) and online (e.g. diagnostics) 
• Mapping of OPC UA application profiles related to real-time operations on ethernet networks including TSN
• Definition of certification procedures

The working groups will closely align with the TSN Profile for Industrial Automation (TSN-IA-Profile), which will be standardized by the IEC/IEEE 60802 standardization group. This will help ensure that a single, converged TSN network approach is maintained so that OPC UA can share one common multi-vendor TSN network infrastructure together with other applications.

This initiative integrates well with existing joint working groups engaged in ongoing companion specification, e.g. in the description of machines.

Stefan Hoppe, president of the OPC Foundation, says, "The benefit of membership in the OPC Foundation allows companies to actively engage and influence the direction of the OPC Foundation and includes early access to the specifications and technology. This initiative will grow OPC UA into new markets and I highly encourage all OPC Foundation members to contact the OPC Foundation to participate."

Thomas Burke, strategic marketing officer of the OPC Foundation, says, "We are very excited about the initiative to extend OPC UA including TSN down to the field level, and the number of companies that want to actively participate in this initiative bringing the technology into real-world products. This set of working groups will pave the way for the broadest, easiest and fastest market adoption of OPC UA over TSN.”

The OPC Foundation develops and maintains OPC UA as an open and secure communication platform comprised of an information model framework, communication models and underlying protocol bindings. As such, the OPC Foundation works non-exclusively with other organizations on various OPC UA related topics but continues to operate as a platform, technology, use case, and vendor agnostic standardization body.

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