OPC Foundation’s initiative to drive IIoT automation adoption

Energy management and automation solutions provider, Schneider Electric, has welcomed the Open Platform Communication (OPC) Foundation’s recognition of industry efforts to bring interoperable communications to field level industrial operations.

OPC is the interoperability standard for the secure and reliable exchange of data in the industrial automation space and in other industries. It is platform-independent and ensures the seamless flow of information among devices from multiple vendors. The OPC Foundation is responsible for the development and maintenance of this standard.

Schneider Electric, which has a seat on the board of the OPC Foundation, also welcomed the growing influence and recognition of Open Platform Communication Unified Architecture Time Sensitive Network (OPC UA TSN)– a flexible architecture offering new levels of performance and certified interoperability which will enhance interoperable, standard communication down to the field level.

In the fast-changing industrial space, operations technology and information technology are becoming increasingly interconnected to enable more flexible and agile manufacturing and processing operations to meet evolving market requirements.

The recognition of the importance of standards-based communication between operational technologies and information technologies (OT & IT) across device, machine to machine, process units and cloud infrastructure as the basis for industry to achieve the full benefits of automation is a vital step.

“The benefits of OT and IT connectivity can only be realised through open, deep interoperability. This drives an urgent need to move away from proprietary communication protocols in favour of open, unified, standards based, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) communications between sensors, actuators, controllers and cloud platforms,” said Neil Smith, vice president, Industry Hub Pacific at Schneider Electric.

As the layer that unifies the way data is exposed and exchanged, OPC UA is one of the major achievements of the OPC Foundation community. OPC UA along with TSN is a foundational platform for fully secure systems, delivering a single set of end-to-end natively secure communication profiles for industrial control, safety and motion built on real time Ethernet to drive automation in factory, plant and process environments.

By opening secure communication possibilities within devices, process units, across machine to machine and up to major cloud infrastructure platforms, industry customers also benefit from common device services (e.g., discovery, configuration), true open communications and vendor agnostic data models which enable agile business and industrial operations.

“At the field level it is connected IT and OT that will be the foundation of IIoT. For industrial customers to realise the value of automation at every level requires technology interoperability. We believe open standards-based communications system architectures are key to future success,” Neil Smith of Schneider Electric said.