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VDMA OPC Machine Vision initiative develop hardware demonstrator

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As part of a joint project, members of the VDMA OPC Machine Vision Initiative together with the OPC UA Foundation, have developed a hardware demonstrator that includes the practical implementation of the "OPC UA for Machine Vision (OPC MV) Part 1 Companion Specification".

"From the point of view of automation technology and factory-IT, this specification represents enormous progress. Image processing systems are among the most complex components in machine building. Their integration is considerably simplified by manufacturer independent uniform methods for control and data administration", says Dr.-Ing. Peter Waszkewitz, Software Project Manager, Robert Bosch Manufacturing Solutions GmbH and member of the core working group.

OPC MV Part 1 describes an abstraction of the generic image processing system, i.e. a representation of a so-called "digital twin" of the system. It handles the administration of recipes, configurations and results in a standardized way, while the contents remain manufacturer-specific and are treated as a black box. The demonstrator establishes an infrastructure layer that enables a simplified and uniform integration of all possible image processing systems into higher-level IT production systems (PLC, SCADA, MES, ERP, Cloud, ...). It demonstrates the generalized control of a vision system and abstracts the necessary behavior via the concept of a "state machine".

A basic requirement for Industry 4.0 is the exchange of information across manufacturers and platforms. The communication standard OPC UA (Open Platform Communications Unified Architecture) provides a framework for this so that systems can communicate in a common language. In order to make optimum use of this potential for image processing, VITRONIC developed the so-called Machine Vision (OPC MV) Part 1 Companion Specification together with nine other companies under the umbrella of the VDMA Robotics + Automation trade association. This enables the functionalities of vision systems to be addressed manufacturerindependently and integrated on the IT side.

First complete implementation of the Machine Vision specification

The concrete reference to practice will be presented at this year's SPS in Nuremberg: At the OPC Foundation booth, the four project partners ASENTICS, PEER Group, Robert Bosch Manufacturing Solutions and VITRONIC will demonstrate the simultaneous interaction of several clients with image processing systems from different suppliers using a hardware demonstrator. In addition to switching between clients, different use case scenarios can also be selected. The demonstrator establishes an infrastructure layer that enables a simplified and uniform integration of different image processing systems into higher-level IT production systems (PLC, SCADA, MES, ERP, Cloud, ...). Furthermore, it demonstrates the manufacturer-independent control of a vision system using the abstraction of the system behavior defined in the OPC UA specification.

"We are very pleased to have reached another milestone in the realization of Industry 4.0 with this project", says Carsten Born, Development Machine Vision Platform, VITRONIC. "Through standardization, we not only facilitate data exchange and networking at the automation level - we also reduce the integration effort for components and systems and thus enable a more flexible use of vision systems.

"The OPC Machine Vision Companion Specification is the result of the collaboration of an international group of experts. With the development of the hardware demonstrator, we have shown how seamless vertical communication between the different levels of the automation pyramid can be. This marks the beginning of the era of a truly 'connected factory'," explains Suprateek Banerjee, VDMA Robotik + Automation.

Learn more and visit us from 26th to 28th November 2019 at the SPS 2019 in Nuremberg at the booth of the OPC Foundation: Hall 5 Booth 140.

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