Game Changing Technology and Innovation Across the Industrial Automation and Beyond
There’s so much exciting things happening in the world of maintenance and reliability is applied to industrial automation. The end-users, the owner operators, the system integrators, and the suppliers are all clamoring for leveraging these great technical innovations and having seamless interoperability and information integration from embedded devices to the cloud.
Everyone's talking about the Industrial Internet of things (IIOT). All of the regional entities and governments are focused at manufacturing excellence and the importance of maintenance and reliability for the multitudes of disparate devices across their industrial automation landscape.
The OPC Foundation has been actively engaged since 1995 in driving interoperability across to multiple vendors’ disparate devices and applications. But the OPC UA technology and the work that the OPC Foundation is doing now is focused at collaborating with the myriad of standards organizations in providing a seamless information integration platform that allows for complete, transparent data modeling across all of the multitude of domain protocols.
OPC UA in the world has been widely accepted as the communication and information integration solution for all the multitudes of initiatives inclusive of industry 4.0 and all the regional lookalikes across the world. OPC UA is the industrial framework enabling secured standardized data and interfaces and is known as the industrial interoperability standard providing seamless interoperability data modeling and most importantly security as the base architecture for complete multivendor multiplatform secure reliable information integration interoperability from the sensors to the cloud.
I could talk forever about the importance of interoperability. I could also talk forever about the importance of data modeling and security. But, most importantly we recognize that the end-users in industrial automation and specifically process automation inclusive of the pharmaceutical industry and the oil and gas industry are all recognizing the value of data and information and how they want all these disparate devices connected to applications and ultimately propagating the data bidirectionally with cloud-based applications.
There’s been a tremendous need with respect to maintenance applications being able to have the data and the information from all of the devices across the industrial automation landscape to make intelligent decisions about condition-based monitoring as well as preventative maintenance applications.
I learned quite a bit from the pharmaceutical industry specifically of the importance of the reliability and maintaining the equipment. We are closely working with the pharmaceutical industry within an initiative called OPENSCS, which ultimately will develop an OPC UA companion specification addressing the serialization and the tracking information that is so important to the pharmaceutical industry from an international perspective.
A very strategic initiative that the OPC Foundation is embracing is the partnership with VDMA where they are developing 15 different companion specifications to address information modeling as necessary for industry 4.0. Essentially VDMA turned OPC UA to develop its complex information models to ensure information integration interoperability in a platform neutral way. From an overall maintenance perspective, this is very important as we want to have all the valuable data from the robotic equipment to do the necessary things with respect to preventative maintenance.
The OPC Foundation strategy is all about collaboration and how we are working to provide a mechanism for the complex data models from the multitude of organizations to be seamlessly plugged into OPC UA allowing complete discovery of the information models and propagation of the data and information from a semantics in syntactical perspective to upper level disparate devices and applications. Figure 1 represents the current set of organizations that we’ve partnered with to address interoperability. The markets served include automation billing automation energy engineering measurement well gas transportation and the list goes on.
Strategy of OPC UA allows a mechanism for complete seamless vertical integration rom the sensors or field devices to the cloud (Figure 2).
We provided a strategy where essentially a server that is totally platform-independent can embody the capabilities of a complex information model directly into the OPC UA architecture, and serve update data to a client to either via the OPC UA client/server protocol or the newly announced OPC UA publish subscribe protocol and client can then translate that data into useful information and serve that data up to other parts of the network ultimately ending up into the enterprise.
Just beginning to continue to conquer the world providing the best specifications technology process and certification to achieve truly data and information integration in a multiplatform multivendor way for secure reliable information integration from the embedded world to the cloud.
For more information about the exciting opportunities and how you can get involved in the multiple initiatives associated with OPC UA in the multitude of collaboration partners check out the OPC Foundation website at www.OPCFoundation.org .
I recently visited a plant in South America for an assessment. They had done some really good things in the plant over the past 2-3 years, but they had not been able to achieve stable reliability performance of their production lines. They were hovering around the high 70s [%] for their Overall Equipment Efficiency (OEE).
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Every factory is unique. Think of differences in product and manufacturing process, the technical condition of the assets or the way we do maintenance. Then it appears to be impossible to implement one standardised improvement method still enabling each Technical Services Department to add value to the operating result. It is possible though, with VDMXL.