OPC Day Europe 2016 - Industry 4.0 is committed to OPC UA
Prosys sponsored again the OPC Day Europe 2016 in Munich. This year the event was arranged together with the Automatica fair, which enabled attendants to also see some live action at the trade show and combine the seminar day with a visit to the fair.
The day was very successful and really busy, as usual, although there was “only” around 140 attendees at the event, this time. The presentations are now online, so you can enjoy them even if you did not make it to the seminar.
Reference Architecture Model Industry 4.0 (RAMI 4.0)
The presentations of the conference were concentrating on the Industry 4.0 and its impact to OPC UA “catching fire fast”, as Heinrich Munz of KUKA Robotics put it. The new Reference Architecture Model for Industry 4.0 (RAMI 4.0) is defining OPC UA (IEC 62541) as the communication protocol to use and therefore giving strong background for using this techonology as the basis of the Smart Manufacturing concept that is being developed widely in Germany. The impact of Industry 4.0 is also spreading and similar architectures are being defined by the Industrial Internet Consortium and the respective Chinese organisation.
Martin Hankel, Bosch Rexroth, and Michael Hoffmeister, Festo, were presenting the current stage of Industry 4.0 (or Industrie 4.0 as the Germans write it), especially concentrating on the RAMI 4.0. The Germans have started co-operation with IIC, which is developing a respective IIRA model, and the Chinese, who seem to have a surprisingly similar architecture in the works as well for their smart manufacturing concept.
RAMI 4.0 defines a concept of Administration_Shell, which is applied on physical assets, making them digitally connectable and configurable. The combination becomes an Industry 4.0 Component, which can be plugged flexibly into Industry 4.0 production lines. In addition to OPC UA, the Administration Shell will use other IEC standards for different aspects of its functionality, such as IEC 62832 (Digital Factory), IEC 61804 (EDDL), IEC 62543 (FDT), EN/IEC 61508/61511/62051 (SIL), etc.
OPC UA Publisher/Subscriber Model Coming Up
“Microsoft loves OPC UA!”, said Erich Barnstedt as the beginning of his speech. He then explained how they have been continuing the development that was started already last year. OPC UA is now integrated to Azure cloud services and they have been developing a new version of the OPC UA stack for the Universal Windows Platform. Erich Barnstedt and Martin Regen were even demonstrating .NET based OPC UA application on Windows, Linux and OSX!
KUKA Robotics is especially driving the UDP based OPC UA protocol, which together with the Time Sensitive Networks extension to Ethernet will enable even hard real time capabilities to OPC UA applications. Although the target is in real time communications, the idea is not to replace fieldbuses for device control. Real-time capabilities, such as guaranteed response times and bandwidth, can still enable a lot of necessary applications, where the devices need to interact with each other in different use cases. Heinrich Munz presented cases related to packaging lines and machine vision in his presentation.
Both the cloud applications and real time data transfer are based on the upcoming Publisher/Subscriber communication model that is being prepared for OPC UA Specification 1.04, due to be released during the first half of 2017.
Use cases and collaboration
Honeywell and SAP were giving presentations of their actual use case - and the respective solution was demonstrated at the Automatica trade show simultaneously. SAP is providing OPC UA client and server capabilities as part of their Plant Connectivity tool, enabling integration of various production systems with OPC UA, instead of a multitude of different protocols as used to be the case in the past.
OPC Foundation has been signing a lot of new co-operation agreements with other stanrdisation groups, such as W3C and VDMA Machine Vision. The network consists of 25 organisations already and is constantly growing. OPC UA is being embraced widely due to its unique information modeling capabilities, which enable high level semantic integration for various fields of automation technology. Together with the built-in security features it should be a fundamental piece of any IoT solution in future.
The German Federal Office of Information Security (BSI) has made a security evaluation of OPC UA. Jens Wiesner presented the results and the overall verdict is that the specification is good regarding the security design and that the secure protocols are providing a high level of security. The “None” Security Mode is not recommended, but that is of course natural, if you are looking for secure communication.
Prosys OPC Booth
I was showing a live demo of our products, OPC UA Modbus Server, Historian, Simulation Server and OPC UA Client for Desktop and Android connected together. My demo setup also included a Raspberry Pi with a Camera, streaming live video through OPC UA! The day was really busy and there was lot of action at our booth. Thanks for everyone who visited!
If you missed this one, please check out the upcoming events and see U there!
UPDATE 2016-09-02: Link to the videos and chapter about Security Evaluation
Chief Technology Officer
Expertise and responsibility areas: OPC & OPC UA product development, project work and customer support
Prosys is a leading provider of professional OPC software and services with over 10 years of experience in the field. OPC and OPC UA (Unified Architecture) are communications standards used especially by industrial and high-tech companies.
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