Softing displays OPC Competence at HANNOVER MESSE


At the OPC Foundation’s pavilion at the HMI (April 25 to 29, 2016), Softing presents its comprehensive offer of OPC Classic and OPC Unified Architecture (UA) development tools and end user products. These provide a comprehensive set of functionality for implementing state-of-the-art data exchange solutions addressing all individual connectivity issues. The focus lies on solutions for migrating to Industry 4.0 applications and for rapid and reliable communication in the Industrial Internet of Things. The highlights are the first proof-of-concept implementation of an OPC UA publisher/subscriber real-time stack and the new version of Softing’s dataFEED OPC Suite with integrated OPC UA client interface.

Deterministic OPC UA Communication with OPC UA-Publisher/Subscriber and TSN Ethernet

The OPC UA Publisher/Subscriber communication model is ideal for the requirements of Industry 4.0/IIOT and is currently in the process of specification at the OPC Foundation. Softing is the first to have implemented an OPC UA publisher/subscriber proof-of-concept model. Softing’s model application uses a standard Ethernet network for deterministic data exchange with the IEEE Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN) standard. In detail, the OPC UA Publisher/Subscriber application demonstrates a guarantee of service for controller-to-controller communication and the deterministic communication via an existing TSN-Ethernet infrastructure. At the same time control processes, streaming and data traffic run over one standard TSN-enabled Ethernet network without affecting real-time data delivery or wasting bandwidth. Requirements of Industrie 4.0/IIOT are better covered in this way. During the development process of the OPC UA Publisher/Subscriber application, Softing was able to rely on its long-standing experience in communication development for all common Industrial Ethernet protocols. The application is thus based on proven concepts for industrial network architecture. More information can be found here and the whitepaper can be downloaded here.

Migration to Industry 4.0 solutions using OPC UA client interface

The new version 4.10 of Softing’s dataFEED OPC Suite now provides OPC UA Client functionality and can be used in a variety of OPC UA gateway solutions. Controllers with integrated OPC UA Server, such as controllers of B & R, Beckhoff or the RFID Reader from Harting, can now be easily and cost-effectively integrated into existing OPC Classic environments. According to Andreas Roeck, OPC product manager at Softing, customers can use the dataFEED OPC Suite to initiate a “step by step” implementation of “Industrie 4.0” solutions while incorporating their existing OPC Classic components.

Moreover, the dataFEED OPC Suite offers logger functionality for OPC UA Servers. Process data from a controller with integrated OPC UA Server can thus be stored in a file or database. Thanks to the new OPC UA Client functionality the dataFEED OPC Suite not only serves as a gateway between OPC Classic and OPC UA applications but also acts as a central gateway between several OPC UA Servers and Clients. The OPC UA Clients only need to connect to an OPC UA Server or an aggregated OPC UA address space needs to be managed respectively. The built-in security features such as user authentication, including certificates and data encryption meet the highest security requirements and complete the implementation.

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