AIM Starts a Cooperation with the OPC Foundation


The Industry Association AIM starts a Cooperation with the OPC Foundation aiming at the Standardization of Systems Integration of Auto-ID Systems.

German enterprises regard this integration as a prerequisite for the successful implementation of the strategic initiative “Industrie 4.0”.

Lampertheim, Germany, 09 April 2014 – The industry association AIM represents the global network of auto-ID experts. Auto-ID technologies comprise barcodes, two-dimensional (2D) codes, RFID, NFC, RTLS, sensors etc. Auto-ID systems are required for the vertical integration between production lines and material flow and logistic chains with the controlling enterprise systems like MES (Manufacturing Execution Systems) or ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning). With regard to future concepts like “Internet of Things” or “Industrie 4.0” these enterprise processes can only run properly when the automatic identification (Auto-ID) components work reliable.

Having created the interoperability platform OPC UA (OPC Unified Architecture) the OPC Foundation (OPCF) has already achieved remarkable results in terms of enabling that integration. OPC UA is a vendor and platform independent as well as a cross-industry communication standard, which connects enterprise and automation systems. The cooperation between AIM and OPCF intends to make those standards also available for auto-ID components. A joint working group will analyse the existing standards and where reasonable adapt or extend them. Furthermore the partners plan to develop prototypes and demonstrator components. This will result in a publicly available documentation including an implementation guideline. Further users or vendors are welcome to join the initiative.

Markus Weinländer, head of product management for Industrial Identification at Siemens, Nürnberg, Germany, and member of the board of AIM Germany, points out: “Automatic identification continues to be a highly important topic in factory automation. When it comes to flexible manufacturing, RFID and optical codes are indispensable tools. However, the integration to PLC or IT systems is still based on proprietary protocols. The aim of the cooperation between AIM and the OPC Foundation is the development of a vendor-independent companion standard for auto-identification. This will make the integration of auto-ident components less complex and more cost-effective.

Stefan Hoppe, Product Manager at Beckhoff Automation, Verl, Germany, and President OPC Europe, comments: “The OPC Foundation’s goal is to provide an industry standard for the vertical and horizontal integration in the field of industrial automation. It will be based on the OPC Unified Architecture technology which controls the transport of data and information including mechanisms for system security, authentication, encryption and certificates. Regarding the definition of contents to be transferred OPC UA’s modelling capabilities are of immense value for other organizations. The cooperation between AIM and OPC Foundation will push the integration of auto-ID systems into this standard ahead. A respective companion standard is intended to be published at Hannover Fair in Germany in 2015.”

Automatic identification systems and industrial automation go hand in hand.
The cooperation between AIM and OPC Foundation was based on a common risk assessment regarding today’s deficiencies of systems integration in production, material flow and logistics. The additional specifications to be developed jointly combine diverging standardization activities and will create synergies leading to a significant added value for users. Diverging and with each other competitive developments and corresponding multiple efforts will become obsolete. Cost and time for the progress in integration will be reduced.

This cooperation has been initiated in the AIM Working Group for Systems Integration and was presented to the AIM members at the AIM Spring Forum on 27 March 2014 in Karlsruhe, Germany. The joint work will be continued in that working group. Experts interested in more detailed information are recommended to attend this event:

OPC Day Europa “IT Meets Automation” – 14-15 May 2014 at Festo, Esslingen, Germany. Further details at OPC Foundation Events page. AIM members are charged for the reduced OPCF members fee.


Press contacts:
Wolf-Rüdiger Hansen – Geschäftsführer AIM-D e.V. – Deutschland – Österreich – Schweiz
Richard-Weber-Str. 29 – 68623 Lampertheim
Telefon: 06206 131 77 – Fax: 06206 131 73 – Mobil: 0171 2257 520

Stefan Hoppe – President OPC Europe
Eiserstr. 5 – 33415 Verl – Telefon: 05246 963 276

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. The organization serves over 450 members worldwide in the Industrial Automation, Building Automation, Oil & Gas, and Smart Energy sectors. For more information about the OPC Foundation, please visit

AIM-D e.V. (“AIM”), Lampertheim, Germany, is the leading industry association for automatic identification (Auto-ID), data capture and mobile systems. AIM pushes he usage and the standardization of auto-ID technologies. “Auto-ID” comprises RFID, NFC, barcodes, two-dimensional codes, sensors and RTLS (Real-Time Locating Systems). AIM represents more than 130 members in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Members are enterprises of all sizes which offer technologies, systems and services and include university departments, research groups and other associations. Being part of AIM Global and AIM Europe AIM extends its members’ competitive capability.