OPC UA & BACnet Integration | Automation.com

OPC UA & BACnet Integration

December 142012
OPC UA & BACnet Integration
December 2012
 
By Bill Lydon, Editor
 
At the SPS conference in Nuremberg, the OPC Foundation announced the cooperation with the BACnet Interest Group Europe (BIG-EU).  The cooperation was presented and discussed by Thomas Burke (OPC Foundation), Klaus Wächter (BIG-EU), Matthias Damm (OPC Consulting & Certification), Frank Schubert (BIG-EU), and Stefan Hoppe (OPC-Europe President).
 
Tom Burke emphasized that the goals of the OPC Foundation are community, connectivity, collaboration, and compliance. The BIG-EU collaboration has the goal to optimize the data flow between systems utilizing BACnet communications and industrial and process control systems. The BACnet Interest Group Europe (BIG-EU) and the OPC Foundation signed a cooperation statement on November 13th, 2012. A joint working group is proceeding to define the interface between BACnet (ANSI ASHRAE 135 / ISO 16484-5) and OPC-UA (IEC 62541) that makes the data flow between the building and industrial automation systems easy to use.
 
 
Klaus Wächter, Matthias Damm, Frank Schubert and Stefan Hoppe (from left to right)
 
The ability to map BACnet into OPC UA objects is significant for a number of reasons. For example, many applications including semiconductor, pharmaceutical, food & beverage, and chemical production require the building automation and industrial control systems to coordinate control to guarantee manufacturing quality. Another example is the optimization of the entire plant operation at an enterprise level based on real-time material and energy costs. In September, at the European BACnet meeting, held in Dresden, the BIG-EU and the OPC Foundation designed the foundation of their cooperation.
 
The BACnet Interest Group Europe (BIG-EU) promotes the use of the global BACnet communication standard ISO 16484-5 in building automation and security technologies in Europe. It was founded by 18 building automation companies in 1998. Today, it consists of nearly 100 members from Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, France, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Poland, Sweden, United Kingdom, Canada and the USA.  Its goals are to support and improve European interests concerning the development of the BACnet standard and the exchange of information with both the ASHRAE committee “SSPC 135” responsible for BACnet and the US BACnet association.  In addition, the BIG-EU collaborates on marketing, conformance qualifications and the development of technical guidelines.  Further information can be found at www.big-eu.org.
 
The OPC Foundation is the community for interoperability solutions based on OPC communication specifications that deliver universal connectivity. OPC is the interoperability standard for secure, reliable and platform-independent information exchange. As the official source for the OPC Certification Program, the nonprofit OPC Foundation helps ensure that OPC products plug-and-play in real-world applications. With almost 500 member companies, the OPC Foundation promotes education, awareness and adoption of the OPC specifications through global collaborations.
 
Thoughts & Observations
 
I had a discussion with Frank Schubert and Matthias Damm about how this might relate to BACnet web services. They explained that the two are very different. BACnet web services provide objects for specific use cases used in building automation. In contrast, the cooperation with the OPC Foundation is providing a means to communicate BACnet information using the OPC UA web services framework enabling integration of industrial and building automation systems.
 
Both the BACnet and OPC communities have been developing cooperation with other organizations and standards, showing a mature and informed understanding of how to simplify and improve real-world applications in the field. Other industry groups could learn from these cooperation activities. Let’s hope this is a trend.
 
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