Rockwell Automation joins initiative to bring OPC UA to field-level devices | Automation.com

Rockwell Automation joins initiative to bring OPC UA to field-level devices

Rockwell Automation joins initiative to bring OPC UA to field-level devices

November 29, 2018 — Rockwell Automation is joining an OPC Foundation initiative to extend the OPC UA protocol to field-level industrial communications.

Under the initiative, a series of working groups are being formed to bring the OPC UA protocol’s vendor-independent, end-to-end interoperability to field-level devices. The initiative plans to address use cases not currently in scope for EtherNet/IP. It could also simplify other use cases, especially in multi-vendor, controller-to-controller environments and for the vertical integration of field devices.

As the primary author of the EtherNet/IP specifications, Rockwell Automation understands EtherNet/IP users may see compatibility risks in technology developed for a different ecosystem. The company intends to mitigate these risks through both its ongoing development of EtherNet/IP and its intentions for the OPC UA protocol.

Rockwell Automation’s priorities within the new OPC Foundation initiative include working to help ensure the following: 

  • OPC UA specifications are written with the same level of rigor and completeness as the EtherNet/IP specifications.
  • Time-sensitive networking (TSN) is commonly applied across the OPC UA, EtherNet/IP and PROFINET protocols, so all three can coexist on a common TSN-based network.
  • OPC UA pub/sub technology is implemented in a way that allows existing EtherNet/IP installations to support OPC UA devices.
  • OPC UA hardware requirements allow the protocol to be deployed on hardware platforms that are common in today’s EtherNet/IP components.
  • OPC UA software requirements allow the protocol to be deployed within current EtherNet/IP-centric software tools without significant changes to user workflows.
  • Conformance test practices mandated for EtherNet/IP reflect the necessary requirements for OPC UA conformance testing.


About Rockwell Automation
Rockwell Automation is dedicated to industrial automation and information, making its customers more productive and the world more sustainable. Headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis., Rockwell Automation employs approximately 23,000 people serving customers in more than 80 countries.

About the OPC Foundation
Since 1996, the OPC Foundation has facilitated the development and adoption of the OPC information exchange standards. As both advocate and custodian of these specifications, the Foundation’s mission is to help industry vendors, end-users, and software developers maintain interoperability in their manufacturing and automation assets. 

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