OPC Foundation Updates from the General Assembly Meeting | Automation.com

OPC Foundation Updates from the General Assembly Meeting

March 072014
OPC Foundation Updates from the General Assembly Meeting

By Bill Lydon, Editor

The OPC Foundation held their General Assembly meeting on December 4, 2013. The meeting highlighted the success of the organization and the growth of OPC UA. Dr. Grant Wilson of Emerson Process Management and Foundation Chairman of the OPC Board opened the meeting. Wilson explained that the OPC Foundation is the world’s leading community for interoperability solutions that deliver universal connectivity.

The foundation’s community mission is to advance the development, adoption and certification of OPC products through global collaborations. The OPC Foundation Certification Program ensures products plug-and-play in real-world applications.

Wilson announced the people elected to the OPC Foundation board for 2014 - 2015 as:

  • Mr. Thomas Burke, OPC Foundation
  • Mr. David Eisner, Honeywell
  • Mr. Thomas Hahn, Siemens
  • Mr. Nobuaki Konishi, Yokogawa

The other board members are Chairman Dr. Grant Wilson from Emerson, Russ Agrusa from ICONICS, and Juergen Weinhofer from Rockwell Automation.

Tom Burke, President of the OPC Foundation, introduced the OPC Foundation Technical Advisory and Marketing Advisory Councils. Karl-Heinz Deiretsbacher from Siemens is chairman for the Technical Advisory Council, which includes technical people from a wide range of companies, including 4CE Industry, ABB, ascolab, Beckhoff Automation, DSInteroperability, Emerson Process Management, EnerNOC, Inc., Euriware, GE Global Research, Grid Cloud Systems, Honeywell, ICONICS, Invensys, Kepware Technologies, MatrikonOPC, Rockwell Automation, Softing, Yokogawa, SAP, and Microsoft.

The OPC Foundation currently has over 440 member companies, with the majority in Europe (47%) and North America (29%), followed by China (8%), Japan (7%), and the balance in other parts of the world. Burke noted they are starting to see an uptick of growth in China.

In early spring of 2014, the OPC Foundation will launch a new website with more content and greater ease of use.

President’s Summary

Tom Burke summarized the OPC Foundation’s current successes as accelerating adoption of OPC technology, a successful OPC certification program, IEC standardization, and continuous improvement. OPC UA is now the IEC 62541 international standard.

The OPC Foundation initiatives include simplification of discovery and security administration burdens and an enhanced Local Discovery Server (LDS) with broadcast that allows UA clients to discover UA servers. One possible new initiative includes technology mapping for low-bandwidth networks, like Zigbee, Bluetooth, and 6LoWiPAN.  A second initiative includes a safety technology mapping joint effort with OMAC using XMPP (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol) technology mapping required for the IEC 61850 electrical substation automation standard.

The organization is collaborating with a wide range of other industry groups, including Open O&M, ADI (Analyzer Devices Integration), PLCopen, ISA95, FDI, FDT, MTConnect, ODVA, SERCOS, BACnet Europe, PRODML (Production Markup Language), MDIS (MCS-DCS Interface Standardization), DSATS (Drilling System Automation Technical Section) , AutomationML, and SLC (Standards Leadership Council). These initiatives with other industry groups allow the leveraging of OPC UA technology for smart energy, building automation, oil & gas drilling.


The OPC Foundation Certification Program provides users with confidence that products meet requirements of plug-and-play interoperability and robust behavior, and that they meet minimum performance expectations. In 2012, there were 69 certification tests conducted, and 57 at the time of the meeting in 2013.

Industry 4.0/ Internet of Things

OPC UA is actively engaged in Industry 4.0 initiatives and other related initiatives in North America and Asia. The goal is to have OPC UA as the communications mechanism for the Internet of Things.

Thoughts & Observations

The OPC Foundation has been doing an excellent job of advancing the OPC UA technology and illustrating to industrial automation and other application areas the full value of leveraging the standard.

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