Siemens shares the vision of the OPC Foundation to extend the scope of OPC UA down to field level communication and is looking forward to contributing in standardization activities in the upcoming working groups of the OPC Foundation concerning information models for devices, necessary adaption of OPC UA core standards, application profiles, etc.
Use cases which have not been well addressed in today's industrial communication systems so far, like multi-vendor controller-to-controller communication or vertical communication from devices to upper systems via OPC UA, will be adopted first by the market. Therefore, joint working groups between PI and OPC F members were started several months ago. These working groups are addressing topics such as the standardization of Safety over OPC UA based on Profisafe mechanisms for controller-to-controller communication, and the mapping of Profinet into the OPC UA information model for multiple use cases, e.g. asset management and diagnostics. Customers can shortly benefit from these features without waiting for TSN by simply running the OPC UA protocols on existing PROFINET network installations. The PI organization contributes its technology expertise to the OPC Foundation, e.g. by opening the Profisafe mechanisms to be used via OPC UA and extending the respective rights to OPC Foundation members.
Field device level communications with cyclic IO communication, motion control and safety, will need an established ecosystem with stack providers, certification procedures, tools, and many more. Organizations like PI, ODVA, and others have put effort into completeness and quality of specifications, conformance testing, maintaining a vendor and user community, and we expect a similar approach with the new OPC Foundation setup.
Siemens bears high responsibility towards its installed base and therefore will continue in innovating Profinet to protect our customers' investments and to bring Profinet based on TSN to the next level. The converged TSN network and common hardware platforms for Profinet and OPC UA enable a smooth migration into the new TSN world. In addition, we ensure that with OPC UA including TSN, the fundamental principles in field device communication, engineering workflows, conformance testing, diagnostics, etc. will stay unchanged.
In the end, our customers will decide if and where to use OPC UA technology or Profinet technology for their individual applications.
For further information, please see www.siemens.com/opc-ua