It’s worth spending a minute looking again at the relationship between OPC and PROFINET. Both technologies have been around for a long time, so it’s interesting that only now are we really starting to see their complementary nature get enhanced. Boy, things do move slowly in this industry. Here’s an update on where we stand.
OPC UA is a complementary technology to PROFINET that enables information exchange across a factory or enterprise. Its information model standardizes the presentation and therefore the machine-readability of datatypes. In collaboration with the OPC Foundation, PI has created a Companion Specification mapping PROFINET to OPC UA. Specifically, this covers asset management data and diagnostic data. Generally though, this just makes moving information vertically from a PROFINET network via OPC UA easier by virtue of the valuable semantics included with it. The mapping can be done in a controller, for example in greenfield installations; an edge gateway, for example in brownfield or Namur Open Architecture installations; or even in a PROFINET device itself since both rely on standard Ethernet. For horizontal integration, OPC UA can be paired with TSN for real-time C2C communication, as mentioned in our previous video. And finally, by mapping PROFIsafe to OPC UA we’re solving an as yet unaddressed use-case of functional safety from machine to machine.
How about those words in a more engaging format: