OPC communications

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OPC COMMUNICATIONS FOR COLLECTING, STORING AND EVALUATING DATA

Develop a solution for collecting, storing and evaluating data, using the automation industry's OPC standard for interoperability. The standard enables the collection and evaluation of data from production machines and devices.

We decided to go for the KEPServerEX OPC protocol from the US company Kepware. Why? Because it allows you to connect diverse automation devices and software applications.

The KEPServerEX application isn't just a simple OPC server, but can rightly be called a unique open communications platform, which can connect hundreds of control systems with such applications as OPC client, SCADA HMI, databases, MES/ERP systems and IoT Cloud solutions.

OPC communications – advantages and our offerings:

How does KEPServerEX work?

OPC (OLE for Process Control) is a communication protocol that allows industrial automation's hardware and software products to be connected via a single communication interface.

OPC enables users (e.g. system integrators) to establish a link between hardware and software solutions from different manufacturers, regardless of their communication interfaces. The only condition that has to be met is the existence of the OPC interface in both. Put differently, the deployed hardware has to connect to a corresponding OPC server, and the software has to have an OPC client interface.

What it really means is that you can transfer data from devices (e.g. PLC SIEMENS SIMATIC S7/S5, PLC Mitsubishi, Allen-Bradley, Modbus, etc.) to visualization programs (e.g. InTouch, Genesis32, Aspic, Control Web, Reliance, etc.). You can also transfer data from these programs back to the devices, as all these systems are interconnected via the OPC communication protocol.

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    OPC Server / OPC Client

    The OPC communication protocol is based on the client – server architecture. When talking of OPC, we basically talk of two types of program – OPC server and OPC client. Both programs are software applications, so don't confuse OPC server with some kind of high-performance server – computer.

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    • OPC Server is a software program that communicates with a connected device via its communication protocol (e.g. Modbus, MPI, PPI, etc.), converts obtained data into the OPC format, and makes it accessible to higher applications in the same format. There are hundreds of OPC servers for diverse devices/communication protocols.

      Our offerings include OPC servers for hundreds of different industrial automation devices that communicate via different protocols.

      The most established devices include:

      • Siemens MPI / PPI / TCP/IP,
      • Modbus Serial / Ethernet,
      • Allen Bradley DF1 / Ethernet / DH+,
      • Mitsubishi FX / FX Net / Ethernet / Serial,
      • BACnet devices,
      • Yokogawa Darwin Ethernet / Serial / DX / DX
      • and others.

      However, you don't always have to store data or make graphs. In some cases, you only need certain values from your devices. For this purpose, a simple OPC client, built-in Web client or MS Excel will do. You can also freely download and edit an OPC client's source code, etc.

    • OPC Client is a software program which receives data from an OPC server in the OPC format, and makes the data accessible to users in the form of visualization, graphs, reports, etc. (usually the SCADA HMI application, i.e. program for visualizing, monitoring and controlling industrial automation processes).

      The world's leading OPC client – SCADA HMI applications include:

      • InTouch (Wonderware),
      • WinCC (Siemens),
      • iFix (Intellution),
      • Genesis 32 (Iconics),
      • CitectScada (Citect),
      • RSView32 (Rockwell Software),
      • Lookout (National Instruments).

      Popular Czech OPC client – SCADA HMI applications include:

      • Aspic (Merz s.r.o.),
      • ControlWeb (Moravské přístroje a.s.),
      • Promotic (MICROSYS, spol. s r.o.),
      • Reliance (GEOVAP, spol. s r.o.).
    • Examples of OPC client – server architecture
      OPC is a communications technology based on the client – server architecture. This allows you to develop several different solutions to meet specific project requirements.

      What you should know about OPC server/client:

      • Whereas OPC server is an application specifically designed for reading/writing data from/to a device in the OPC format, OPC client is usually a complex application for processing, presenting and storing data. Such an application supports OPC communication interface (i.e. it's an OPC client and can process data from OPC servers).
      • OPC client can process data from several OPC servers at a time.
      • OPC server can communicate with several OPC clients simultaneously.
      • The standard file size of an OPC server program ranges from 5 to 50 MB (installation file). OPC client can have a much bigger size.
      • OPC server and OPC client can run on one computer simulaneously or on two separate computers in the Ethernet network.
      • Our website offers a free download of an OPC server demo for your device. The demo runs for 2 hours nonstop. After that you need to switch it off and back on.
      What you should remember:
      • OPC server facilitates data exchange between industrial software applications and hardware devices.
      • OPC server communicates with an industrial device via the device's communication protocol.
      • OPC server and OPC client are usually two separate software applications.
      • OPC is a technology based on the client – server architecture.

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