A lesson in communication

Paul Boughton

Industrial automation components supplier European Automation has published a special industry report about the importance of the machine to machine (M2M) communication protocol OPC Unified Architecture (OPC UA) in achieving Industry 4.0 goals.

A comprehensive look at the benefits, achievements and future prospects of the industrial communication protocol, the report is available for download on European Automation’s website in the special reports section.

Developed by the Object Linking and Embedding for Process Control (OPC) Foundation, OPC UA is a set of industrial standards for the exchange of data between automation products from different vendors.

In the midst of Industry 4.0 - a revolution based on the rapid and automated communication between physical systems and virtual networks - the OPC standard is helping facilitate interoperability. This stems from the factory floor up to the office network.

European Automation's report looks at the benefits to end users, including reduced implementation costs, better security, scalability, platform independence and interoperability.

"OPC UA has been around for a while now, but it’s far from falling by the wayside of the rapidly advancing juggernaut that is the industrial automation industry,” explained Jonathan Wilkins, director at European Automation. "OPC UA is helping support industry trends, such as Industry 4.0, big data and the Internet of Things (IoT) by offering end users plug-and-play communications solutions.

"As we look at the ways in which industrial automation is rapidly advancing manufacturing systems, there is still a lot that the standard has to offer. Not to give too much away from the report, but we see OPC UA playing an essential role in the development of how products make their way through a production line and the ordering of replacement parts."    

The OPC UA report is the latest in a series from European Automation. The company has previously looked at information security, energy efficiency and RFID technology.

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