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OPC UA server to PLC connectivity
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PRAMANJ
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08/06/2017 - 06:13
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Hi,

How to connect OPC UA server in my SCADA system with various PLCs? Does OPC foundation have PLC Simulators for major PLCs like Siemens, AB, Honeywell , ABB etc for developing/testing such connectivity? What is the protocol generally used for communication between SCADA systems and PLCs? Is it MODBUS TCP or serial  ? Do all PLC now a days also support OPC UA server?  How can OPC Foundation help us in developing such connectivity between PLCs and our SCADA systems? How can OPC UA help in connecting to field buses like profibus/fieldbus/profinet? 

regards

pramanj

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PRAMANJ
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08/14/2017 - 09:30
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Some one please answer the above question.

regards

pramanj

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fred.loveless@kepware.com
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08/14/2017 - 10:00
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Greetings, most OPC Servers will have one or more drivers for connecting to controllers, databases, or software. Some PLC's and Control Panels now also have embedded OPC UA Servers to that you can connect directly to them but currently those are in the minority. SCADA and HMI packages are generally going to be OPC DA or UA clients allowing them to connect to these OPC UA and DA servers.

What you need to do is to find the UA server that will provide you the connectivity to the devices you need to monitor and control. You can find all of the certified servers here in the products page from the foundation. If you have an OPC UA server in your SCADA and it does not have driver interfaces for the devices that you need then you will need to find one that does.

In the future if you tell us a little more about your SCADA and OPC Server we can provide you with more specific answers.

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PRAMANJ
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08/20/2017 - 22:56
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Thanks a lot fred for your reply. My further questions to your replies are as follows:

//You : Greetings, most OPC Servers will have one or more drivers for connecting to controllers, databases, or software. Some PLC’s and Control Panels now also have embedded OPC UA Servers to that you can connect directly to them but currently those are in the minority. SCADA and HMI packages are generally going to be OPC DA or UA clients allowing them to connect to these OPC UA and DA servers.

If PLCs with embedded OPC UA/DA servers are n  minority, then how SCADA systems can connect to the PLCs? There has to be a driver or protocol supported by these PLCs (not having embedded OPC servers) to connect to them from SCADA or any other software? I am looking for this protocol or driver information for popular PLCs like AB/Siemens/Honeywell etc so that I can connect my SCADA and OPC server with them. Can OPC foundation help with these protocols or PLC Simulators for developing / testing this interface? Or the respective PLC vendors can only give this info?

//You: What you need to do is to find the UA server that will provide you the connectivity to the devices you need to monitor and control. You can find all of the certified servers here in the products page from the foundation. If you have an OPC UA server in your SCADA and it does not have driver interfaces for the devices that you need then you will need to find one that does.

Selecting existing OPC UA/DA that has drivers for PLCs/Devices if fine, but what if I develop my own OPC server along with SCADA? Do I have to build drivers for connecting to PLCs and devices? Then how do I get info on the protocols details of PLCs/Drivers, can OPC foundation help in this regards was my question.

//In the future if you tell us a little more about your SCADA and OPC Server we can provide you with more specific answers.

I am developing a HTML5/SVG based SCADA system and SCADA addons using latest developments in technologies like NodeJs please view pramanj.com for details.

 

regards

PRAMANJ

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fred.loveless@kepware.com
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08/22/2017 - 09:01
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Greeting PRAMANJ,

I hope the following helps to answer you questions.

//You : Greetings, most OPC Servers will have one or more drivers for connecting to controllers, databases, or software. Some PLC’s and Control Panels now also have embedded OPC UA Servers to that you can connect directly to them but currently those are in the minority. SCADA and HMI packages are generally going to be OPC DA or UA clients allowing them to connect to these OPC UA and DA servers.

If PLCs with embedded OPC UA/DA servers are n minority, then how SCADA systems can connect to the PLCs? There has to be a driver or protocol supported by these PLCs (not having embedded OPC servers) to connect to them from SCADA or any other software? I am looking for this protocol or driver information for popular PLCs like AB/Siemens/Honeywell etc so that I can connect my SCADA and OPC server with them. Can OPC foundation help with these protocols or PLC Simulators for developing / testing this interface? Or the respective PLC vendors can only give this info?

ANSWER: Many manufacturers have OPC Servers for their hardware. Some may only support OPC DA OR UA but the servers will have drivers for the protocols their devices talk. Then ther are 3rd pary server venders like my compnay Kewpare (www.kepware.com), T here is also Matrikon, Softing, Klinkman. There are more listed in the products section of the OPC Foundation site.

//You: What you need to do is to find the UA server that will provide you the connectivity to the devices you need to monitor and control. You can find all of the certified servers here in the products page from the foundation. If you have an OPC UA server in your SCADA and it does not have driver interfaces for the devices that you need then you will need to find one that does.

Selecting existing OPC UA/DA that has drivers for PLCs/Devices if fine, but what if I develop my own OPC server along with SCADA? Do I have to build drivers for connecting to PLCs and devices? Then how do I get info on the protocols details of PLCs/Drivers, can OPC foundation help in this regards was my question.

ANSWER: If you create your own server you will have to write your own drivers. Some hardware manufactures will provide API's that you can license to talk with there hardware. In other cases you have to work with them to get the protocol to write the driver from scratch. They will make a business decision as to whether they want to do that.

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PRAMANJ
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08/22/2017 - 10:12
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Hi,Thanks for your reply,

//ANSWER: Many manufacturers have OPC Servers for their hardware. Some may only support OPC DA OR UA but the servers will have drivers for the protocols their devices talk. Then ther are 3rd pary server venders like my compnay Kewpare (www.kepware.com), T here is also Matrikon, Softing, Klinkman. There are more listed in the products section of the OPC Foundation site.

Ok, but if one has to buy the OPC servers from the respective PLC/Device vendors or some established third party vendors like yours and Matrikon, Softing, Klinkman ... then it defeats the purpose of open standard! Only thing is that the standards enable us to integrate our applications with any OPC server as a client. How are pure SCADA companies like Inductive Automation building OPC UA servers and interfacing with popular PLCs like AB/Siemens etc? Do they use third party OPC Servers like yours and others you mentioned or they have developed their own? I am looking forward to develop a similar OPC Server in my SCADA and addons to SCADA system. Should I develop or use a third party OPCFOUNDATION certified OPC UA Server like yours? What do you think?

 

//ANSWER: If you create your own server you will have to write your own drivers. Some hardware manufactures will provide API’s that you can license to talk with there hardware. In other cases you have to work with them to get the protocol to write the driver from scratch. They will make a business decision as to whether they want to do that.

Ok fine I should to get their API's for drivers. Did Kepware develop these drivers in a similar manner for all these PLC's devices? It makes sense to integrate my modules with Kepware or any third party servers to leverage their existing connectivity with standard devices/PLCs. How to go about it? I thought OPCOFUNDATION will be able to provide the portocol/api details for developing drivers for such devices.

regards

PRAMANJ

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fred.loveless@kepware.com
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08/22/2017 - 11:33
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Greetings, The OPC UA and OPC Classic are Open standards for Client/Server connectivity not device connectivity. Even the hardware manufacturers charge for their servers. You are paying for the expertise that the manufacturers bring not only to the OPC Layer but to the device connectivity layer. Kepware, Matrikon, Softing, and Klinkman have been doing this for 20 years. We all have relationships with the hardware vendors and in most cases the hardware vendors approach us to write the drivers to add connectivity for their devices. Also, hardware firmware changes and subsequently the device protocols will change which requires follow-on maintenance of the drivers to make sure hey work with legacy and new hardware and firmware versions. It can take as much as 12-18 months to write and test a driver. Follow-on maintenance can take 1-3 months per driver per year and some do not require much maintenance at all. So that is what you are paying for with those.

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PRAMANJ
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08/23/2017 - 00:16
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Hi fred,

I understand that a lot of value has been added by the OPC server vendors like your and others over the past decades and its a continuous process, not an one time job, to keep their drivers and connectivity updated to the enhancements to the hardware from respective device/PLC vendors. It makes to sense to use them to get a jump start.

However you haven't answered my questions about (1) SCADA companies like Inductive Automation's OPC server , it it sourced from you or third party like yours , or its their own? (2) How do i go about integrating and testing my SCADA system and other modules with say your OPC UA server?

Do you have SCADA solutions as well or you just deal with OPC servers? Are your customers end users or SCADA vendors or System Integrators? How do I have a tie up with your comapny to leverage the power of OPC connectivity?

 

regards

PRAMANJ

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fred.loveless@kepware.com
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08/23/2017 - 08:06
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Greetings, there are private label versions of our server out there but Inductive is not one of them. They created a server for some connectivity but we work with them as an OPC UA server as well and have a very good relation ship with them. Most UA server vendors will provide a time limited demo of their product that you can test with. For Kepware our server demo times out in 2 hours but you can restart the server and get another 2 hours usage is unlimited and you can restart it as much as you want.. Other providers provide 15 and 30 day unlimited use demos which timeout after that period. You can connect to our website and download a copy of the server and start today. The same goes for the other Server providers.

I do not know the deals that other OPC Server vendors use to create their drivers but I assume that is the same way that we do which is a legal process required by publicly traded companies.

Kepware does not have a SCADA solution we focus on communications. Our parent company PTC Inc. has a solution that they market.

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PRAMANJ
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08/23/2017 - 09:10
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Hi Fred,

 

Thanks for the detailed reply. Its good to note that Kepware provides a 2 hour trial version (like Ignition does). I will try to download and integrate my application with it as an OPC Client. However right now I am busy with my SCADA development itself.

I understand now that you focus only on communication and PTC has the SCADA solution.

Thanks a lot it was a nice to interact with you and know more about kepware.

regards

PRAMANJ

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rochmesa@protonmail.com
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05/20/2019 - 10:45
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Hi...as per my knowledge If PLCs with embedded OPC UA/DA servers are n minority, then how SCADA systems can connect to the PLCs? There has to be a driver or protocol supported by these PLCs (not having embedded OPC servers) to connect to them from SCADA or any other software? I am looking for this protocol or driver information for popular PLCs like AB/Siemens/Honeywell etc so that I can connect my SCADA and OPC server with them.

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