The OPC UA including TSN initiative announced by OPC Foundation November 5th has already been joined by many major industrial automation suppliers
Scottsdale, AZ – November 27th, 2018 – Within weeks of announcing the ‘OPC UA including TSN down to field level’ initiative, the rapid engagement of leading automation suppliers proves the resonance of this initiative with the emerging needs of the automation users. Committed contribution to the initiative reads like a “Who’s Who” of leading suppliers, including ABB, BECKHOFF, Bosch-Rexroth, B&R, Cisco, Hilscher, Hirschmann, Huawei, Intel, Kalycito, KUKA, Mitsubishi Electric, Molex, Omron, Phoenix Contact, Pilz, Rockwell Automation, Schneider Electric, Siemens, TTTech, Wago, Yokogawa.
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Significant progress has already been made on the initiative set-up with charters created and workgroups being incorporated into the OPC Foundation organizational structure. A steering committee has been formed and is open to all members making appropriate resource commitments. This committee will manage the technical and marketing working groups and ensure alignment with OPC Foundation Technical and Marketing Control Boards.
OPC Foundation’s approach to several of the existing fieldbus organizations for joint work within this initiative has received positive response. Initial technical evaluation indicates that best practices from these organizations can be combined to enable critical functions like connection management, motion and safety.
Technical work should commence within the next two months with working groups open to all OPC Foundation members. Initial work will focus on the core functionality of field device communication, developing a next generation architecture and general model for devices which can be adopted as easily as possible by automation suppliers. This architecture and general model will be expanded with device-type specific functionality by specialist working groups. Extended OPC UA standardization documents will be published including test scenarios and certification procedures to ensure that the wider community can build compliant devices.
OPC UA shall be able to share a multi-vendor converged network infrastructure with other applications including the existing and updated Industrial Ethernet solutions. To achieve this goal, the TSN Profile for Industrial Automation standardized by the IEC/IEEE 60802 committee will be used and all working groups will closely align with this for TSN related specification sections.
Based on time-to-market and existing market gaps, two use cases will be prioritized for specification publication: multi-vendor controller to controller integration; vertical communication from field device to upper levels. Architectural design will ensure that these specifications can be extended in future releases to cover real-time communications for control device, motion and safety functions.
Conformance testing of devices has proved to be a valuable tool ensuring multi-vendor interoperability in end-user deployed systems. OPC-Foundation will deliver conformance test specifications to ensure highest quality standards and validated interoperability before delivery to users.
Stefan Hoppe, President of the OPC Foundation said “It is amazing how fast the automation suppliers showed their interest and willingness to contribute to this exciting project which seems to be unique in history of automation. This clearly shows that standardization is one of the key drivers for digitalization and IIOT”.
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 OPC Foundation is dedicated to providing the best specifications, technology, process and certification to achieve multivendor, multiplatform, secure, reliable interoperability for moving data and information from the embedded world to the enterprise cloud. The Foundation serves over 600 members worldwide in the Industrial Automation, IT, IoT, IIoT, M2M, Industrie 4.0, Building Automation, machine tools, pharmaceutical, petrochemical, and Smart Energy sectors. For more information about the OPC Foundation, please visit https://opcfoundation.org.
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Stefan Hoppe President
Appendix: Testimonials from OPC Board companies and members of FLC Steering Committee
“Standardized industrial communication networks play a key role for the digital enterprise. As a founding member of the OPC Foundation, market leader in industrial automation, and extensive experience, we are excited to contribute to this initiative as a strong supporter of OPC UA technology”
Rainer Brehm, Vice President of Automation Products and Systems, Siemens
“OPC UA deployed at the field device level has the potential to accelerate both the development of innovative software applications and our customers’ journey to The Connected Enterprise”
Dr. Jürgen Weinhofer, vice-president control architecture and technology, Rockwell Automation
“We welcome the joint activities aiming to define a new standard for field-level communication for OPC UA. We believe that TSN technology will become the mainstream of future industrial networks.
Mitsubishi Electric will contribute to the development of the FA industry by actively participating in defining a new standard.”
Takayuki Tsuzuki, General Manager, FA Systems Div. Mitsubishi Electric Corporation
“Beckhoff has a track record of both innovating and supporting open standards in industrial communication. We co-founded OPCF and were the first to implement OPC-UA. It is natural for us to also make OPC UA over TSN available for our customers on the controller level and beyond in order to complement the powerful EtherCAT technology.”
Gerd Hoppe, Corporate Management, Beckhoff Automation
In the future, customers across various industries will no longer be bound to suppliers based on the communications protocol used and competition will more strongly focus on creating value. Adoption of OPC-UA over TSN will drive this paradigm also into the world of deterministic and real-time communication. At the same time, it will enable using the same consistent information model from the field to the cloud.
Bernhard Eschermann, CTO, ABB Industrial Automation Division
“OPC UA including TSN down to the field level is the best choice for industrial customers as a key pillar of the future industrial IoT architectures, ensuring open, unified, standards-based communications from sensors, actuators, controllers to cloud and from controllers to controllers.”
Fabrice Jadot, Senior Vice President, Technology & Innovation and CTO, Industry Business at Schneider Electric
“It is a mile stone in automation technology that OPC Foundation is elaborating OPC UA including TSN as future communication solution for the field level now. An important aspect is, that a significant number of automation suppliers agreed to have a common set of application profiles including motion and safety. Thus, a basis for interoperability is laid, which now shall be detailed. The target has to be the cross-vendor harmonization of an easy-to-use, fast and future proved connectivity solution which is the optimum for end users and machine builders.”
Dr. Heiner Lang, Senior Vice President of Bosch Rexroth Business Unit Automation and Electrification Solutions
“By the new OPC UA based Field Level Communication standard the features of a product come into the foreground. End user and suppliers from factory to process automation focus on one single system. That’s why this initiative under the neutral umbrella of the OPC Foundation enables an enormous innovation potential and will result in benefits for all in the world-wide automation business.”
Martin Müller, Vice President Business Unit IO/Networks, Phoenix Contact
“OPC UA from the sensor to the cloud – that has always been our ultimate goal. Now, the gap to deterministic field-level systems has finally been bridged with OPC UA over TSN. With OPC UA over TSN, our customers will vastly improve the performance and intelligence of their machines as they prepare them for the Industrial IoT.”
Stefan Schönegger, Vice President – Product Strategy & Innovation, B&R Industrial Automation