Interoperability is the Key for IoT and Industrie 4.0

Many people are talking about Industrie 4.0 and the Internet of Things just now. Somehow it revolves around Cloud or Big Data and the mutual exchange of data.

artikkeliKuva

Collecting data for analytics and optimization of the process is promising new business models. But how does the sensor, the wind turbine or the automation world in general talk to the IT world, like the Azure cloud from Microsoft or the MES product from SAP?

The IEC62541 communication standard OPC Unified Architecture (OPC UA) considerably simplifies and standardises the integration of any kind of device – that’s why it is set in the Reference Architecture (RAMI4.0) of Germany’s Industrie 4.0.

Dream?

It would be ideal, however, if all devices and services were able to communicate independently with one another, irrespective of the manufacturer, the operating system, the hierarchy and the topology.

The offered functionality of devices should be readable – but not for everyone. That requires security functions with authentication and encryption directly in the device. In case of failure of the data link the data should not be lost, but automatically buffered for a while.

Reality!

All of these wishes exist in reality. With regards to current-day situations where hard real-time requirements are not considered, this demanded interoperability can already now be achieved with the assistance of the OPC Unified Architecture (OPC UA).

The IEC62541 standard offers more than just the pure exchange of data: the description of the services, the modelling of the data of a device and their access rights are highly important in a networked world – only in this way can machines talk independently and directly to one another.

Oil & Gas pushing OPC UA

Today IT companies advertise that their protocols deliver the optimum for IoT solutions: IBM recommends the use of MQTT, while Microsoft prefers AMQP in its Azure cloud but also delivers several more IT connectors to appear flexible.

Of course, all these solutions push data being the new currency into their own cloud system – but their solutions do not provide interoperability. With the interoperability of the neutral international OPC UA standard the device manufacturers benefit by reducing system integration and also guarantee the build in secured data offerings.

High availability

Secured data and high availability was the key for Adwen/Areva to connect their wind turbines via OPC UA in 2008.

– OPC-UA was the favoured technology in Alpha Ventus, an offshore wind park test site in the North Sea, 45 kilometers from the German coast. The fully automated wind turbines controlled by a Windows Embedded CE based controller with IEC61131-3 logic and OPC-UA server are connected to a .NET based OPC-UA client application in an onshore control room. Compared to other open standards the inherent security and authentication mechanism of OPC-UA was the determining factor for this decision, reports Eike Grünhagen from Adwen GmbH.

– With a complex network infrastructure including different subnets and domains, connected via routers and protected by firewalls, configuration and administration becomes a difficult and time-consuming task. In the past, VPN tunnels for secure transmission and remote desktop connections were used. Now, with encrypted transmission, user authentication and audit functionality integrated into OPC-UA, access is possible down to individual data points, he continues.

Grünhagen

Eike Grünhagen

Junker_Holgermv

Holger Junker

The Future Is OPC UA and TSN Real Time

Looking to the future, OPC UA will become the worldwide-accepted standard for IoT and Industrie 4.0. OPC UA is already the preferred communication standard selected by the Industrie 4.0 platform initiative in their RAMI4.0 (Reference Architecture Model Industrie 4.0).

Nevertheless OPC UA will be extended with new functionalities. Schneider Electric has initiated a new OPC collaboration group for mapping IEC61850 objects into OPC UA namespace.

Robotics vendor KUKA has identified some missing functionalities within OPC UA such as hard real-time capabilities. For this reason, KUKA became an OPC member to influence the direction and has initiated a working group within the OPC Foundation to evaluate and implement the usage of IEEE 802.1 Time Sensitive Network (TSN) technologies as an additional transport mechanism for OPC UA’s new publisher/subscriber protocol.

This will not replace other protocols such as all the existing Ethernet-based fieldbuses but OPC UA will offer Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). More important than that, however, there are the political benefits: OPC UA is not driven by a single company and as such is a common vendor-neutral standard.

Testimonial:

The only communication technology in the factory that I know of which has integrated security aspects and also offers potential for the challenges of Industry 4.0 is OPC UA. (17.11.2014)

Holger Junker

Federal Office of Security in IT (BSI), Head of Division C12 – Cyber Security in critical IT systems, applications and architectures

www.bsi.bund.de

 

Hoppe_Stefan_OPCF

Stefan Hoppe,

Vice President OPC-Foundation,

stefan.hoppe@opcfoundation.org

Applications | 20.11.2015

Latest articles

5 Important Maintenance Metrics and How To Use Them

Effective maintenance of equipment is a critical factor in delivering quality operations that provide timely resources at a minimal cost. However, those in the maintenance field understand that equipment reliability does not come easy. 

Applications | 15.10.2018

Sustainability transformation: Are you ready for the change?

Companies which create truly sustainable businesses will remain competitive in the future.

HSE | 27.9.2018

The Advantages of Broadband Ultrasonic Analysis during Leak Detection on Compressed Air Systems

Ultrasonic testing devices have long been established in the field of predictive maintenance to detect leaks on compressed air systems. These devices usually record a frequency range around 40 kHz. SONOTEC Ultraschallsensorik Halle GmbH is breaking new ground with the SONAPHONE ultrasonic testing device. The main difference between this device and the previously available devices is the broadband technology of the sensors in a frequency range from 20 to 100 kHz. This makes applications like automatic leak analysis more reliable.

Asset Management | 26.9.2018

Evaluating IT asset management software: Who do you trust?

Nowadays, more or less all companies have to deal with diverse kinds of IT assets. Using IT assets (software, hardware, digital media and networking) is no longer specific to the technology giants. 

Cmms | 7.9.2018

New methanol engine ready for the marine market

Within the frame of the GreenPilot project, Gothenburg-based ScandiNAOS AB has developed methanol engine concepts for the marine industry. A spark ignited methanol engine that wasn installed and tested in the Swedish Pilot boat “GreenPilot” has now been followed by a compression ignited methanol engine. The GreenPilot project is lead and initiated by Swedish Maritime Technology Forum, part of RISE Research Institutes of Sweden.

R&D | 4.9.2018

How to Safely Align Wind Turbines

Safety engineers around the world can breathe easy. The PRUFTECHNIK ROTALIGN® and OPTALIGN® technology has made aligning machine shafts, especially gear shafts, much safer.

Partner Articles | 6.6.2018

Maintenance: A Necessary and Important Function in the Future

Euromaintenance 2016 will take place in Athens at the end of May. It is the ideal moment to reflect on maintenance in a European context. Euromaintenance is known as the summit for all involved in maintenance across Europe, it’s the place to be. The conference, with the support of the EFNMS, is the only commercially independent conference covering the topics we deal with in the maintenance world.

EFNMS | 20.5.2016