OPC Unified Architecture (UA) is the next generation of OPC Foundation technology for interoperable, reliable, and safe raw data transport and pre-processed information from the shop floor into the ERP system or production planning. Softing AG has created a strategy migration enabling OPC manufacturers to transfer easily to the new architecture of OPC. As a UA Eary Adopter Group member of the OPC Foundation, Softing dynamically contributes to the new technology generation launch.
The OPC Foundation recognizes its vision of global interoperability with OPC Unified Architecture, i.e. of making probable a data exchange standardization between software applications autonomously of the manufacturer they come from, the language of programming they were builtin, the operating system they operate on or the position they are placed at.
OPC has up to nowadays, with the exclusion of the specification of OPC XML-DA, made use of the Microsoft DCOM (Distributed Component Object Model), which is element of the operating system of Windows. The practically ubiquitous platform of Microsoft, even in industrial environments, is definitely one reason for the fast OPC distribution. Though DCOM controls the OPC technology use to the operating systems of Windows. The industry has been identifying on the OPC Foundation to present a standard of OPC that can be used on different operating systems (ERP systems manufacturers on platforms of Unix and embedded systems manufacturers with real time operating systems for example QNX, VxWorks, etc) for years now.
OPC UA is no longer according to DCOM but on SOA (service oriented architecture). The OPC UA kernel is created of a UA services set, which form a framework of interoperability.
This forms of framework an independent entity with a described interface to the original proprietary technology. In this perspective OPC UA is more or less technology autonomous upon which the operating system is based and is simple to port. The OPC Foundation presents a.NET SDK, Java, and C for use when porting to dissimilar platforms.
The services range, performance, platforms, and size supported by servers of UA can be customized and measured. The properties of server can be queried by the client and are specified in a profile. Especially lean servers of UA with only a small UA services set e.g. just Data Access and least safety, can be executed for embedded systems with restricted memory. Alternatively, memory resources are not mainly relevant for a computer server in the department of IT, which means that servers of UA can be very dominant and developed to full capability of function.
The market needs the OPC foundation to give better alarms integration in the Data Access Server address space, particularly for the building automation and process industry. Up till now 3 different servers of OPC such as HDA, AE, and DA, with dissimilar semantics have been needed, for instance to confine the temperature sensor current value, an event resulting from a threshold violation of temperature, and the mean temperature history.
OPC UA allows all 3 types of data to be contacted by a single server of OPC. As an effect unifies of UA the current HDA, AE, DA models and added program calls into a single incorporated space of address. This architecture unification decreases the OPC components number to be mounted and make simpler installation and configuration. OPC UA also gives the additional alternative of saving a more comprehensive description of a data point directly in the object of OPC UA, e.g. scale factor, unit, etc. In this method OPC UA creates data management more centralized, simpler, and comfortable in further information. Softing has already set up a strategy of migration allowing manufacturers of OPC to transfer simply to the new architecture of OPC.