Kepware KepServerEX v5.2: OPC UA, alarms, events, new drivers
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To configure KepServerEX v5:
1) Select a driver to create channel;
2) Specify the device or system for communication; and
3) Select the items or tags for the database.
Kepware Technologies, provider of communications for automation, released KepServerEX version 5.2, with "significant new features," including an OPC UA Client and Server, an alarm and event condition option (expanding on the previously delivered OPC AE interface), and updated Mettler Toledo and IDEC drivers.
OPC UA is the most robust of OPC Foundation specifications, Kepware says, and KepServerEX adds an OPC UA Server to prior interfaces for OPC DA and OPC AE. An optional OPC UA Client Driver also is available. The company described the collective interfaces as a "standards-based" tunneling solution.
Tunneling solutions are a replacement for Microsoft DCOM communications in distributed OPC DA applications. More importantly for the automation industry, the OPC UA security (data encryption and authentication) makes it an excellent choice for real-time data sharing in automation related real-time business to business (B2B) applications. B2B has typically been handled on a non-real-time transactional basis with electronic data interchange (EDI) or with custom developments when real-time connectivity was required. Kepware says its off-the-shelf offering is standards based and more cost effective.
Other features include:
– The new Alarm and Event Condition option provides ability to monitor variables and configure conditions with which to trigger alarm or event messaging. This works in conjunction with the KepServerEX OPC AE interface.
– Additional CID (Custom Interface Driver – OPC Toolkit) sample code in C#;
– An updated Allen-Bradley ControlLogix Driver, supporting 1,024 Programs and multi-byte Strings;
– Mettler Toledo – scale controls;
– IDEC Driver – expanded ranges for MicroSmart and Open models; and
– Modbus Ethernet – Global settings changes at runtime.
"KEPServerEX enhancements are released on a quarterly schedule," explained Tony Paine, president of Kepware Technologies. The strategy adds value for customers more quickly, moving beyond providing drivers toward providing interoperability, Paine suggested, "through standards and with popular native interfaces."
The connections help wider use of OPC. "Kepware, through its OEM partnerships, channels and direct efforts, is a major driver of OPC adoption in the world," says Thomas Burke, president of the OPC Foundation. "New support for OPC UA, and the positioning for real-time B2B for automation is very creative and exactly what we need at a time when all communications are moving toward standards. For example, the world has a focus on the SmartGrid. That is real-time B2B for automation. Data needs to be exchanged between customers and suppliers in real-time and securely, and OPC UA technology, through players like Kepware, will solve real world problems with off the shelf, cost effective solutions."
Kepware will deliver data center device communications for APC InfraStruxure central management software. The APC InfraStruxure software provides data center managers and IT executives the ability to take a holistic view of data center physical infrastructure service quality, end-to-end energy use, facilitate short- and long-term planning, and properly forecast costs. The vendor-neutral software provides the industry’s first and broadest integrations with critical IT support systems, including Schneider Electric’s PowerLogic Ion-Enterprise power management, building management and enterprise management, enabling the monitoring, controlling and resolving of issues in a user-friendly environment.
As part of the solution, APC will use Kepware’s "IT and Infrastructure Suite" with its InfraStruxure Central platform to deliver the latest OPC interoperability standards, including OPC DA, OPC AE and OPC-UA, ensuring interoperability with as many client applications as possible. This capability expands the ability to manage all devices supporting the data center. The OPC offering will maintain an OPC Foundation "Certified" status. www.apc.com
Predator Software selected Kepware as its interoperability provider: Predator Software will leverage KepServerEX client interfaces; Standards such as OPC DA, OPC AE, OPC UA and native interfaces, to achieve proven interoperability with Kepware’s HMI/SCADA, historian, MES and ERP partners.
Predator Software provides shop floor control (SFC), including CNC networking, machine monitoring, data collection, machine simulation and verification, tool and gage crib management and traveler management. This relationship with Kepware will extend Predator’s products with a range of field proven interfaces to virtually every automation solution in the industry, Kepware says. www.predator-software.com
Kepware made the announcements at the 2010 ARC Forum in Orlando. See other announcements and product introductions .
– Edited by Mark T. Hoske, editor in chief, Control Engineering , www.controleng.com.