OPC says new markets opening for OPC technology

  • October 19, 2009
  • News
The economic crisis that we have been in for the past year has had a very positive effect on reinforcing the importance of maximizing returns on investment, while leveraging and monitoring all plant assets. Across the board there is a desire to improve the operational efficiency of the various production facilities. This is being done by not only looking to improve the efficiency of the manufacturing processes, but of improving the efficiency of the actual factories themselves. The importance of energy management, building automation and energy conservation are also being tightly integrated into industrial automation. This is opening new markets for OPC technology. Vendors are leveraging venture capital, government funding, and general support from industry standards consortium's to facilitate adding support for open standards to their product portfolio This will increase market share by adding products and services that are multiplatform multivendor interoperable.Some of the major events that have been happening over last several months, as well as some of the events that are coming up through the balance of this year clearly demonstrate a lot of the end-users and vendors active participation and desire to change the way they do business and migrate away from the proprietary architectures of the individual vendor companies.From an OPC Foundation perspective, companies reached out to and spent money for intensive OPC UA training hosted in Frankfurt in September and in New Orleans in October. Both events were sold out. Companies previously not involved in interoperability were making their mark by learning the technology that will enable them to sell products that interface with multiple vendors in a multiplatform environment.At ISA in Houston, there were many demonstrations of OPC UA in both vendor sponsored booths, as well as consortium sponsored interoperability demonstration. A key demonstration showing the power of motion control, and how OPC UA is scalable to actually be embedded in a PLC was demonstrated in the ICONICS booth. The pendulum was definitely swinging (yes the demo used a pendulum), and we had Iconics, Beckhoff and Microsoft being the key players in this demonstration using OPC UA out-of-the-box.Two other significant demonstrations ISA included the OpenO&M Demo, where two of the major players in the demonstration included IBM and Yokogawa, demonstrating their connectivity across the firewall using OPC UA, and the MIMOSA technology. There is also a demonstration of OPC UA with EDDL. This demonstration was part of ISA 104. The EDDL technology is used in conjunction with OPC UA technology to ensure multivendor interoperability and provides full access to device functionality like advanced diagnostics, runtime operation, and complex configuration. Many of the existing OPC vendors already use EDDL, and the demonstration at ISA really exemplifies that products are being built based on the technology.In November in Nürnberg Germany, there is another exciting show called SPS drives. A demonstration of one of the important collaboration between OPC and PLCOpen. This particular collaboration is all about the information model from IEC 1131 and exposing it via the OPC UA information model. This will allow complex operations and device to device communication in ways that were never done before with PLCs and DCS systems. Learn More

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