Working together on translations

Perhaps I shouldn't have been so amazed. But weeks later, I still marvel at seeing, on the same stage, leading executives from rival automation/controls giants and leaders from competing industrial network organizations. Not only were they in close proximity, but they were all agreeing on something that will do customers/users a whole lot of good.

11/01/2001


Perhaps I shouldn't have been so amazed. But weeks later, I still marvel at seeing, on the same stage, leading executives from rival automation/controls giants and leaders from competing industrial network organizations. Not only were they in close proximity, but they were all agreeing on something that will do customers/users a whole lot of good.

Point of agreement was the OPC Data Exchange announcement at ISA 2001. OPC DX is means for various Ethernet protocols to communicate more easily with each other and with industrial networks.

Among comments from participants:

  • John Berra, executive vp of Emerson with responsibility for the Process Management business: "We have a hope that all protocols could talk to each other.... This is the 'Star Trek' Universal Communicator."

  • Rich Ryan, president, Rockwell Software, a unit of Rockwell Automation: "This extends our efforts. I hope to see the speedy implementation into products."

  • Helmut Gierse, president of the Siemens Automation and Drives Group: "Customers will have the choice to pick technologies most likely to help increase profitability."

Networks urge support

Also lending support were network representatives: Frank Wood, executive director, ControlNet International/ ODVA; Rich Timoney, president and ceo, Fieldbus Foundation; and Mike Bryant, executive director of Profibus Trade Organization/AS-i Trade Organization.

Joining in were, Dave Bauman, technology leader, corporate engineering, at Procter & Gamble, Don Holley, OPC Foundation's marketing director and National Instruments staff, and others.

Extension

OPC DX extends the widely accepted work of the OPC Foundation (Boca Raton, Fla.) and will ease communication concerns that might have caused anyone to hesitate in investing in one network or another. This extension of existing OPC standards won't change existing specifications of the networking organizations.

As Mr. Holley explained, the working group developing the specification consists of engineers from OPC member companies. Fieldbus associations are encouraged to have members participate. OPC is the umbrella to make this happen, he said. OPC also demonstrated applications based on the OPC XML specification and Microsoft.Net for Manufacturing.

For more

For more on OPC DX, see:

  • Control Engineering Online daily news, Sept. 12;

  • Control Engineering "News," Oct. '01 "OPC to create data exchange standard for Ethernet;" and

  • Control Engineering Webcasts at www.controleng.com/webcast on "Ethernet and Industrial Networks."

Specification and sample code are expected to be available in December. To get involved more directly, I'd encourage you to go to www.opcfoundation.org and make appropriate contacts.


Author Information
Mark T. Hoske, Editor-in-Chief mhoske@cahners.com




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