The OPC Foundation and CESMII Debut UA Cloud Library to Advance Smart Manufacturing Operations
OPC UA and CESMII have joined forces to produce the globally available and standardized UA Cloud Library.
Who is OPC UA?
The OPC UA Foundation (Open Platform Communications Unified Architecture) standard was released in 1996 for the purpose of platform-independent exchange of information within the industrial automation space.
The OPC standard is a series of specifications created by industry vendors, end-users, and software developers within industrial automation.
The OPC UA logo. Image used courtesy of the OPC UA Foundation
In the beginning, OPC was mainly used by HMI and SCADA developers to act as a liaison between the Windows PC world and the PLC world. Today virtually all Ethernet-based controllers and devices have access to act as an OPC server or as an OPC client.
The Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CESMI)
The Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute is the United States national institute on smart manufacturing. Founded in 2016, CESMII is a not-for-profit organization funded solely by the U.S. government.
The CESMII logo. Image used courtesy of CESMII
Currently, CESMII is driving smart manufacturing through industry 4.0 technologies, and education on smart manufacturing. The overall goal of CESMII is to drive the industrial sector toward using smart manufacturing technologies to reduce waste and drive performance. The idea is, an efficient industry is an energy-efficient industry.
The OPC UA Cloud Library
OPC UA and CESMII have joined forces to produce the globally available and standardized UA Cloud Library. OPC UA has been known quite well in the industrial automation world. With smart manufacturing becoming more popular, OPC UA has decided to take its platform to the cloud.
For a long time, OT data structures were not available to cloud applications, but with so many factories wanting the ability to collect and store data securely on a cloud storage system, there needed to be a standard solution. The UA cloud library makes that connection between OT and IT that cloud applications need to interface with the shop floor.
Where to Use The UA Cloud Library
The UA cloud library is essentially a cloud storage of OPC UA information models. These information models are, in essence, a digital twin of actual industrial devices.
The information model consists of objects, data, and services, essentially everything you need to create a digital twin of that component. Typically a software engineer would require the actual device in order to create this digital twin, but now with the UA Cloud Library, software engineers can access the UA Cloud Library from anywhere in the world without having a connection to a machine.
OPC UA showing flexible communication cables. Image used courtesy of the OPC UA Foundation
The world is getting smaller every day, and the industrial machine is getting larger. Manufacturers and industrial suppliers are requesting components be “smart factory” ready because they want to be able to monitor and ensure their investment or factory is producing efficiently.
The OPC Foundation is trying to be ahead of this trend by joining forces with CESMII who is well known for driving the smart manufacturing and energy-efficient movement. With global access to OPC UA information models, the IT world and OT world can begin to work together to form a smart manufacturing environment.