OPC Foundation's Data eXchange spec released

OPC Foundation recently released its long-awaited Data eXchange (DX) specification and sample code. Reflecting 18 months of work that began on Sept. 11, 2001, at the ISA Show in Houston, OPC DX allows data to be transferred between different controller platforms and architectures via Ethernet, ensuring a high degree of interoperability for end-users using disparate control s...

07/01/2003


OPC Foundation recently released its long-awaited Data eXchange (DX) specification and sample code. Reflecting 18 months of work that began on Sept. 11, 2001, at the ISA Show in Houston, OPC DX allows data to be transferred between different controller platforms and architectures via Ethernet, ensuring a high degree of interoperability for end-users using disparate control solutions. The volunteer effort is one of a family of interoperability solutions for industrial automation and enterprise connectivity from the foundation, which describes its successful completion of the project as one of the greatest achievements in its seven-year history.

Tom Burke, OPC Foundation's president, says the release of the specification marks the end of one of the most fascinating chapters in OPC's existence. "More than 30 companies joined the effort, which ensured that the right result has been achieved though it took a bit longer than we hoped. Everyone was focused on the same objective, but reaching consensus took time. In reality, the work has gone well when you take into consideration the economic climate and that the work was done by volunteers."

OPC Data eXchange 1.0 specification is the first in a series that addresses OPC's vision of interoperability across platforms and language architectures. Included with the specification is the functional definition necessary to support legacy DCOM-based OPC Data Access servers, as well as the OPC XML Data Access servers. The specification also provides Web service and DCOM interfaces to facilitate Data eXchange configuration. Fully functional sample code is deliverable to members from the foundation's Web site, and development of a compliance test is underway to self-certify Data eXchange servers.

OPC DX is viewed by many as a technology that breaks down barriers among distributed control systems, PLCs and other controlling devices, by providing a standardized way of bridging systems. It delivers interoperability across an Ethernet network between automation systems using industrial communication protocols, such as EtherNet/IP, Profinet, High Speed Ethernet (HSE), and Interbus. OPC Foundation worked closely with Profibus International, Open DeviceNet Vendor Association (ODVA), ControlNet International, Fieldbus Foundation and the Interbus Club during specification development.





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