OPC: The Industrial IoT protocol that matters
- New Digital Transformation for Manufacturing companies: Industrial Internet of Things
- Secure Operating Protocols for Converged IT/OT Infrastructure: OPC (Open Platform Communications)
- Value Proposition of OPC Unified Architecture in IoT
- Industrial Automation: Bridge OPC – UA and MQTT protocol
OPC UA to OPC IoT: Learn how a Global Metal Forging Company Laid the Foundation for Industry 4.0 Using Datonis®
The level of Industrial Revolution wave which has tipped over Hype cycle is “Internet of things” and Manufacturing companies are gearing up to make sure they embrace this new digital transformation namely “Industrial Internet of Things”
The manufacturing sector, unlike other verticals, prefers to rely on a long time tested solutions rather than risking out by embracing everything that is new in technology. A few years ago “IoT” was a buzzword or a proof of concept usually reserved for the amusement of R&D team. Fast forward Today, scenario has changed and IoT has proved itself in providing clear RoI benefits (Management loves this)
The backbone of an IoT infrastructure is based on how well the systems communicate with each other on a plant wide basis to exchange data/information securely and reliably. OPC is one of the most widely used standards for this. Let us delve in deep about OPC:
What is OPC?
OPC is a series of standards and specifications for Industrial Automation Industry. It specifies a protocol for real time communication with in plant having different control devices from different manufacturers. OPC which now refers to (Open Platform Communications) originally was termed as (Object linking and Embedding for Process Control)
OPC, which is based on OLE, COM, DCOM technology is designed as a bridge for Windows based application and process control hardware.
History, Necessity of OPC
Before OPC came into the picture, each OEM vendor had applications using its own drivers and was storing data in proprietary data paths. This created a multitude of problems for Manufacturers since every vendor created their own information silos and ultimately there were not able to use these data for creating reports. They had to create custom solutions from these different vendors for creating reports. There was little integration possible since data was locked in a proprietary format. Data were locked in different PLC model, HMIs, CNC machines, ERPs etc. Also, the plants faced the challenge of change management whenever a new system was added.
OPC was introduced as a solution to solve these issue rather than creating a new product to standardize technology with no proprietary format and to facilitate universal connectivity.
OPC in IoT:
A significant advancement in OPC development like OPC Unified Architecture makes it platform independent, thus allowing it to be embedded into devices & making it ideal for the IoT use case. One of the value propositions of OPC UA is scalability from Sensor to Cloud. This also allows IoT players to model data based on domain specific like MT connect, BACnet etc.
Following are the data types that can be captured in OPC
- Real time parameter data
- Historical Data
- Alarm and alerts
Apart from being a common pool for streaming data to cloud app or third party app, OPC is also the back bone of any SCADA system where in a change in a tag value or command triggers change in the status of connected machines.
How Altizon uses OPC in IoT
Altizon, an innovator in the Industrial Internet of Things, leverages OPC with IoT to achieve productivity & OEE for manufacturers. Altizon utilizes the power of OPC through different OEM hardware with integrated OPC UA/DA embedded into them. A typical installation involves collecting data from PLC, Sensors, CNC controllers, Relays, HMIs, CSV etc. using different protocols and bringing them to a common Hardware platform which then pushes Data into OPC.
Altizon has developed an Agent / Client which captures the data stored in OPC tag and send it at real time to its IoT cloud platform Datonis. All device and API communication is over TLS 1.2. Data is encrypted using 256 bit AES with Cloud out-of-the-box support for REST API, MQTT- ISO/IEC Standard (for Remote Monitoring)
While OPC and IoT work behind the scene, for customers the business outcome with these is in the form of insights into Productivity, OEE, Quality along with platform which enables Data driven decisions. Dashboards, Condition based monitoring, Predictive maintenance, Analytics, SPC are few of the applications which work on “OPC in IoT”.