At the SPS IPC Drives Fair 2018 in Nuremberg, Germany the OPC Foundation officially launched the Field Level Communications (FLC) initiative. The Steering Committee (SC) of this initiative consists of 25 member companies that contribute with budget and technical experts.
The Steering Committee is responsible for the prioritization work to develop extensions to the OPC UA framework for Field eXchange (OPC UA FX), creating and approving the requirements for the technical solution and decision making for non-technical reasons.
The technical work is executed in different technical working groups that are open to all OPC Foundation members.
Publications (for download)
- See OPCF FLC Webinar July 2022 recordings here
- Download OPCF FLC Webinar July-2022 slides here
- Download OPCF FLC Initiative Flyer here
- Download OPCF FLC Initiative Technical Paper here
- Download OPC UA Safety Technical Paper here
- Download APL Brochure (English) here
- Download APL Brochure (Japanese) here
FLC Technical Working Groups
Architecture (Core) Working Group (Contact: gamajcher_at_ra.rockwell.com)
Responsible overall to deliver a set of specifications that support the development of products (controllers and field devices). This group analyzes technical requirements to achieve target use cases, creates high level design documents, defines the architectural framework for sub working groups and reviews resp. integrates specification content from sub working groups.
Base Facet Working Group (Contact: georg.biehler_at_siemens.com / paul.hunkar_at_yokogawa.com)
Responsible for driving inter-vendor interoperability of automation components (i.e., controllers and devices) by defining the common (i.e., not specific to a particular type of automation component) interfaces, behaviors and state machines of devices and controllers conformant to OPC UA FX specifications. Transport and protocol independent state machines and connection management is covered in this working group.
Offline Engineering Working Group (Contact: Emanuel.kolb_at_de.abb.com)
This working group defines mechanism to allow engineering of the system before the physical components are delivered to a project. The offline configuration scheme is developed for simple, complex and modular field devices and other FLC components. The scope of work includes the mechanism for an engineering tool to deploy an offline configuration to the system when it comes online.
Networking Working Group (Contact: alexander.gogolev_at_huawei.com)
The overall goal of this Working Group is to drive inter-vendor interoperability of automation field devices by defining the communication interfaces and behaviors (protocols and services) of the lower layers of the OSI model for devices conformant to UAFX specifications that operate on Ethernet networks with and without TSN capabilities. During the course of development some of the topics may be tackled by the IEEE/IEC 60802 group or other WGs of the OPCF.
Safety Working Group (Contact: christian.eitner_at_siemens.com)
Responsible to support inter-vendor interoperability of safety devices such as safety controllers, functionally safe digital and analog IO, and electric drives with safety functions. To achieve this, the WG will specify interfaces and behaviors, which are typical for safety devices. OPC UA Safety is using a black channel approach to specify all safety communication for controller-to-controller as well as controller-to-device.
Motion Working Group (Contact: rick.blair_at_schneider-electric.com)
Responsible to drive interoperability of motion devices, like standard drives, frequency converters, positioning drives, servo drives and motion encoders. The WG will add to the UAFX base specifications the definition of interfaces and behaviors for motion devices.
Instrumentation Working Group (Contact: mark.nixon_at_emerson.com)
Responsible to drive interoperability of instrumentation devices, such as flowmeters, analyzers, transmitters (including temperature, pressure, level, flow), flame detectors, valves and valve controllers. The WG will add to the UAFX base specifications the definition of interfaces and behaviors for instrumentation devices.
Prototyping Working Group (Contact: Jan.Murzyn_at_mpl.mee.com)
Responsible to generate concepts for prototyping and to coordinate the implementation of prototypes in order to verify the specification drafts that are generated by the FLC working groups. The group also works on possible optimizations and propose specification enhancements to the working groups that generate specifications.
Test Development Working Group (Contact: thomas.schreck_at_schneider-electric.com)
Responsible for all work to enable the certification of FLC devices. The group is defining test cases based on conformance units, profiles & facets that are defined by the various FLC-related working groups. In addition, the group coordinates the test script development in collaboration with the OPC Compliance Work Group.
FLC Steering Committee and Subgroups
Participation is open to all OPCF member companies that sign up for the FLC Steering Committee. For additional information please contact the FLC Director (contact details below).
Steering Committee (Contact: patrick.lamboley_at_se.com)
The responsibility of the FLC Steering Committee is to manage and control the FLC-related technical development and the FLC-related marketing activities in alignment with the committees and activities of the OPC Foundation.
FA/PA Requirements Subgroup (Contact: peter.lutz_at_opcfoundation.org)
This working group defines functional and non-functional requirements for applications and use cases in Factory and Process Automation. Furthermore, the group gives recommendations for required and optional functionality. Two subcommittees have been established that elaborate specific requirements for cyber security (Contact: didier.giarratano_at_se.com) and motion (Contact: mcooper_at_ra.rockwell.com).
TSN Expert Assessment Subgroup (Contact: rene.hummen_at_belden.com)
This working group is responsible for facilitating a close alignment between the IEC/IEEE 60802, IEEE 802.1 and OPC UA PubSub TSN.
Certification Requirements Subgroup (Contact: david.mccall_at_intel.com)
This working group is responsible for analyzing the requirements for testing and certifying UAFX controllers and devices.
Marketing Working Subgroup (Contact: peter.lutz_at_opcfoundation.org)
Responsible for all marketing activities related to the FLC Initiative to ensure that all stakeholders in FLC technology (users, system integrators, machine builders, software and device vendors) can understand the unique value offered by FLC. This group also ensures that the device and software provider community can understand the technical approaches and that support is available to implement FLC in their offerings.
- Peter Lutz, Director FLC OPC Foundation peter.lutz_at_opcfoundation.org