OPC: Painless migration, classic OPC DA to OPC UA, partnership

OPC Unified Architecture (UA) is the OPC Foundation's next generation, unified technology for secure, reliable, and interoperable transport of data, and several companies aim to hasten its implementation, including Softing, Iconics, and Kepware Technologies, by....

05/13/2008


OPC Unified Architecture (UA) is the OPC Foundation's next generation, unified technology for secure, reliable, and interoperable transport of data, and several companies aim to hasten its implementation.

Softing

redesigned its OPC development tools, helping OPC software developers to easily migrate to the architecture from OPC DA and other OPC specifications. Separately,

Iconics

and

Kepware Technologies

agreed develop what they describe as “world’s first total end-to-end OPC-UA solution.”
Many suppliers of OPC technology will migrate over the next few years, Softing suggests. Almost all OPC Client applications now deployed in the field base themselves on the original OPC specification and are not compatible with the new OPC UA standard. A painless migration path is sought. Softing, a provider of embedded OPC technology, redesigned its OPC development tools to manage legacy requirements, while ensuring easy migration from OPC DA, AE, and HDA to OPC UA. The tools provide a built-in upgrade path to OPC UA, protecting the investment of developers using the tools.
When using the toolkit’s software libraries that provide certified and UA-compliant functionality, upgrading applications will not make any noteworthy changes. Some manufacturers of industrial automation products that use non-Microsoft Windows operating systems (PLCs, field devices, or UNIX/Linux-based ERP systems) have begun development projects to embed new technology into their products.
OPC development tools minimize time-to-market and maintenance efforts. Many companies have used Softing to help embed OPC technology into industrial components. According to Schweitzer Engineering Laboratory (SEL), “

Softing’s OPC kits

are essential when it comes to developing Web applications. With Softing’s development kits, a developer does not necessarily need to have expertise in SOAP or even the OPC protocol, but can focus instead on the non-OPC-specific components of the application.”
Thomas J. Burke, president and executive director of OPC Foundation, says, “Softing’s expertise and experience in providing industrial communication products and developer training in all facets of automation inclusive of OPC is being extended to fully embrace the OPC Unified Architecture.” Burke says he has attended events/training sessions that Softing provides or has participated in and appreciates the “quality and integrity” of the company’s offerings. “I look forward to watching Softing be one of the premier providers enabling other vendors to successfully adopt and deploy OPC Unified Architecture products based on the products and services that Softing has to offer.”
Softing is a member of the European Steering Committee of the OPC Foundation and author of the OPC Book.
Iconics and Kepware are partnering to create what they call the world’s first total end-to-end OPC-UA solution. The Iconics OPC-UA KEPServer integrates HMI/SCADA and visualization with a library of device connectivity from Kepware. The OPC-UA, 64-bit solution handles different I/O devices and is certified for Microsoft Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008. The solution is OPC–UA–To-The-Core and uses Web services technology, making it simple to integrate plant floor visualization with manufacturing intelligence and enterprise solutions, they say.
"Iconics and Kepware have been working together for more than 10 years and have recently signed a partnership agreement," says Russ Agrusa, president and CEO of Iconics. "Both our companies were instrumental in helping create the OPC-UA standard, and we are excited to be delivering products based on OPC-UA."
Roy Kok, vice president of marketing and sales for Kepware Technologies, adds, "We see Iconics as a leader in OPC technology. Iconics is an early adaptor of OPC-UA and we are happy to have them as a partner, proving that OPC-UA technology is now ready. Iconics is the first HMI/SCADA partner to deliver KEPServerEX with OPC-UA."
" Iconics and Kepware are both leading developers of OPC Unified Architecture solutions," says Burke. "Both companies are pioneers in bringing OPC-UA from the theoretical into the physical and practical. This partnership agreement now makes OPC-UA a reality."
According to Craig Resnick, research director, ARC Advisory Group, "OPC-UA is intended to expand the framework for moving information between applications in the enterprise space by taking the existing OPC specifications and integrating them all together, leveraging Web services as the key technology enabler in the new architecture for deploying applications such as asset management and true resource modeling that can utilize the OPC-UA specifications to move data and information. This is why it is critical to manufacturers that any OPC-UA solution being implemented is sourced from partners who have extensive experience in deploying existing OPC solutions, which is certainly the case for both Iconics and Kepware."
Iconics describes itself as a provider of Web-enabled, OPC-based, HMI/SCADA Visualization and Manufacturing Intelligence software for Microsoft Windows operating systems, has announced an agreement with Kepware Technologies, a leader in OPC device communications for automation.
Kepware says it’s a leader in OPC device communications for automation.
For related OPC Foundation news from Control Engineering , see:
Interoperability: OPC for embedded applications .

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