OPC-UA first hands-on impressions

11Aug09

Over the years I’ve followed the progress of OPC-UA and from time to time or project to project checked it out, but it was still early days for use in the ‘theatre of operations’.

Nowadays OPC members can brush up on all the specifications and help documentation to educate themselves.  For the technically inquisitive there are now lots of SDKs and quick-starts to enable programmers to get there hands dirty and have fun playing around with real/beta OPC-UA.

I’m no software C# guru by a long chalk, but even I managed to get a server going providing data collected from the Brultech ECM-1240 home power monitor.  Also roped in a financial softie with no automation background and got a java version going, so its looking good to go nowadays.

Even the backwards-forwards support for old OPC using wrappers and proxies (if your using the .net SDK)  just works out the box, very impressive.

Must admit though as usual its the install and security side that caused the hassles.  Subsequent waves and releases from the OPC foundation will hopefully see user friendly tools to help users manage these certificates.

Just another learning curve to climb, but it looks very good to me.

………. here comes the niggly grumble,
I understand the reasons, but I’m less hopeful that OPC-UA can make in-roads and penetrate devices/markets outside the usual automation vendors currently contributing to the standard.  The high handed approach and clubby membership fee doesn’t foster the best all embracing and herald in an open-source synergic approach.
Hopefully I get proved wrong here.

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