OPC Foundation to release analyzer devices integration draft specification

Progress has been made on the goals of a common method for data exchange, and a data model for process and laboratory analyzers.
By Control Engineering Staff October 9, 2008

Scottsdale , AZ – OPC Foundation members representing process analytical technology (PAT) and laboratory industries are extending OPC UA capabilities to enable multivendor interoperability for analyzer devices. Progress has been made on the goals of a common method for data exchange, and a data model for processand laboratory analyzers. OPC Foundation says it will release the OPC Analyzer Devices Integration (ADI) draft specification for review in December 2008.

“PAT users are looking for true plug-and-play interoperability,” said Lou Pillai, director of strategic architecture at Pfizer, one of the end-user companies in the working group. “A well-defined information standard and its implementation—such as OPC-ADI—is a great step in that direction. OPC-ADI can help minimize custom integrations that users have to take on themselves. This directly will improve the time to benefit from PAT implementations.”

Arne Svendsen, head of manufacturing IT for Arla Foods, said, “We are focusing on bringing new analyzer device types into the development labs as well as into production facilities. Sometimes integration is needed just to test out the instrument. Thus, it is crucial for us to be up and running with the analyzer connected to our MES platforms in hours, not days. An OPC Analyzer Device Interface supported by vendors will give us the speed and flexibility we need to implement reliable and adaptive integration.

In addition to Pfizer and Arla Foods, user members of the OPC Foundation working group include Abbott and GlaxoSmithKline. Vendor members include ABB, CAS, Kaiser Optical Systems, Malvern Instruments, Mettler-Toledo AutoChem, Siemens, Software Toolbox, Sympatec, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Umetrics, and Yokogawa.

Since its launch in February 2008, the working group has focused on the issue of multiple vendor data formats and protocols, and the need to create an industry standard using the principles of OPC Unified Architecture (UA). Users and vendors recognize “the critical role that process and laboratory analyzer connectivity, control and integration play when creating a QbD Data Management Infrastructure,” said Phil Litherland, technical director of process analysis and control technologies for GlaxoSmithKline. “The OPCF ADI UA specification will ultimately… empower the industry to achieve improved process understanding, real-time process and quality control and, its ultimate goal, real time release.”

“The OPC ADI effort demonstrates the commitment of the OPC Foundation to providing standard, workable interfaces, to the wide range of industrial devices used in modern manufacturing environments.

The OPC-ADI interface is planned to support a wide range of existing and future analyzers, said Tom Burke, president of OPC Foundation. These include but are not limited to: spectrometers (IR/NIR, visible, UV, Raman), particle size analyzers, gas or liquid chromatographs, acoustic and teraHertz spectrometers, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectrometers, mass spectrometers, automated microscopy, and imaging systems (visible, NIR, cell counting, etc.)

For more information, visit www.opcfoundation.org .

Renee Robbins , senior editor
Control Engineering News Desk
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