What OPC UA is and what it does
OPC UA (Open Platform Communication - Unified Architecture) is a machine to machine communication protocol for industrial automation, developed by the OPC Foundation. OPC UA is platform independent, thus allowing machines with different hardware setups, different operating systems and on different platforms to communicate with each other.
This wide and flexible connectivity allows traditional PC hardware, as well as cloud-based servers, PLCs and even micro-controllers, to communicate together more easily and more securely. The multilayered architecture offers a “future-proof” framework for UA products while also providing backward compatibility with existing products, thereby alleviating the need for upgrading or replacing older equipment.
Security is the top priority
A key benefit of OPC UA is increased security - protecting your plant, equipment and processes from both internal and external threats that could impede productivity and operations. OPC UA is firewall-friendly and provides a collection of new controls. Messages are now transmitted securely at various specified encryption levels and the recipients can verify both the integrity and place of origin of those messages.
Client and server IDs are authenticated through certificates which provide control over which systems and applications can communicate with each other. All actions and activities taken by both the user and the system are logged, providing a secure access audit trail if needed.
Supporting many typical applications
OPC UA is well suited for supervisory control, which eliminates the need for an intermediate Windowsbased system to streamline data transfer from various plant levels.
OPC UA can also be used for machine-to-machine communications between multiple vendor’s controllers, giving a common language to use between control devices and sensors. This allows data to be communicated and transferred in a reliable and secure way between systems and subsystems in smart machine applications.
Secure connectivity between system, controller, and historian – via OPC UA
With System 800xA, a wide variety of OPC UA connectivity points are available, such as: Between client and server on the system level; to an AC 800M controller via the new CI874 communication interface module; and for historian capabilities via 800xA History.