VDMA OPC UA Vision initiative made concrete

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By Anne Wendel, director, VDMA Machine Vision

Two OPC UA Companion Specifications will be presented at Automatica 2018, not only theoretically, but also through a concrete OPC UA demonstrator. This is interoperable, vendor-independent and has been developed together with 26 partners.

At the demonstration area in hall B4, booth 332 two use cases will be shown. The first will demonstrate skill-based control: an assembly cell for the production of fidget spinners integrates components and systems from more than 20 manufacturers. Interoperable integration is achieved by means of skill-based description.

The second will display condition monitoring: several robot manufacturers will show how condition monitoring can be implemented independent of manufacturer and robot type in the cloud. All relevant status data are clearly visible on the dashboard.

Visitors will have the opportunity to talk with experts and to follow technical presentations. The stand will have experts on hand to discuss the OPC Vision release candidate and the OPC Robotics draft documents. Standardisation can only succeed if it’s developed and supported by many. 

At Automatica 2016 it became official: VDMA Machine Vision and the OPC Foundation jointly agreed to develop an OPC UA Companion Specification for machine vision.

The decision to develop an OPC UA Companion Specification for machine vision was made official by VDMA Machine Vision and the OPC Foundation at Automatica 2016. This was preceded by an international G3 study group called the ‘Embedded Vision Study Group’, led by Klaus-Henning Noffz, CEO of Silicon Software and board member of VDMA Machine Vision. Here, experts from Japan, Europe and North America investigated which new standards and interfaces would be needed to make machine vision fit for the future, one of the recommendations being the OPC UA Companion Specification for machine vision.

After discussions within the board of VDMA Machine Vision, with other divisions of VDMA and exploratory talks with the OPC Foundation, the VDMA OPC Vision initiative started work in autumn 2016. The Integrated Assembly Solutions and Robotics division followed.

Together with member companies, the three VDMA sector groups – Machine Vision, Integrated Assembly Solutions, and Robotics – are developing vendor-independent information models for the first time. These create the basis for interoperable communication in the factories of tomorrow using OPC UA. In this way, machines will speak the same language in the future.