OPC UA for the field level - the status quo
The Field Level Communications (FLC) initiative of the OPC Foundation started with the aim of bringing OPC UA to the field level and thus has the potential to change industrial communication sustainably and to the benefit of all market participants. The aim is an open, uniform and integrated communication solution that covers all relevant requirements and application scenarios in factory automation and the process industry, such as motion, safety and real-time. The largest automation manufacturers in the world are among the supporters of the initiative.
The technical approach is based on the OPC UA Framework (IEC62541) using existing mechanisms for secure, reliable, manufacturer and platform-independent information exchange, as well as the possibilities for semantic information modeling and self-description of devices. A universal QoS modeling concept is used to map the OPC UA framework to the underlying communication protocols and transmission physics.
The technologies Ethernet Advanced Physical Layer (APL) and Ethernet Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN) play a particularly important role in this context.
With APL, OPC UA devices can also be offered for use in potentially explosive areas, based on two-wire technology including power supply via the lines - a decisive criterion for use in the process industry.
And with TSN, OPC UA is not only real-time capable, but can also - in combination with the TSN Profile for Industrial Automation “(TSN-IA) of IEC / IEEE 60802 - be transmitted with other IT and OT protocols in a common, convergent network infrastructure.
In the presentation, the solution approach of the FLC initiative, as well as the current status quo and the further roadmap with regard to the use cases controller-to-controller (C2C) and controller-to-device (C2D) will be explained.