OPC Foundation, Kepware partner

Automation partnerships, integration move forward The OPC Foundation and Kepware Technologies have partnered to manage the next generation of OPC technology, OPC-UA. This approach is intended to foster rapid adoption through the licensing of proven technology, quality control of an industry-wide solution and guaranteed interoperability at the communications level.
By Plant Engineering Staff November 1, 2008

Automation partnerships, integration move forward

The OPC Foundation and Kepware Technologies have partnered to manage the next generation of OPC technology, OPC-UA. This approach is intended to foster rapid adoption through the licensing of proven technology, quality control of an industry-wide solution and guaranteed interoperability at the communications level.

The OPC Foundation is at the point of releasing OPC-UA (OPen Connectivity %%MDASSML%% Unified Architecture) %%MDASSML%% a new series of specifications to meet current and future challenges within a broader range of markets. OPC-UA is said to deliver the benefits of OPC Classic while addressing new demands for greater security; Web Services and Service Oriented Architecture; portability to a wider range of operating system platforms; and the support for new standards in complex data handling. OPC Classic will continue to be widely supported in the industry with OPC-UA offering an additional, more advanced interface for connectivity.

According to the OPC Foundation, the adoption of OPC-UA will be greatly enhanced by offering licensable code, rather than leaving vendors to interpret specifications as was the case with OPC Classic. The OPC Foundation and Kepware will manage the development of OPC-UA in a managed community “open source code” model. The new joint non-profit entity will market and manage OPC-UA and the OPC-UA vendor community, and will be staffed and managed by both Kepware and OPC Foundation personnel. The OPC Foundation will retain and provide complete oversight.

The joint venture will manage OPC-UA as a licensable technology. The new community will be based around the opc-ua.com , www.opc-ua.org and opc-ua.net domains that currently point to the OPCFoundation.ORG Website. Community participants will have access to source code and will receive a license to use OPC-UA as a component in their products. They also will have access to developer forums, and a network of other community participants delivering training, developer resources and toolkits supporting the OPC-UA initiative. Participants will be in a position to assist in the maintenance and the direction of OPC-UA technology.

This new initiative is scheduled to launch in Jan. 2009. All current OPC Foundation members will be contacted for inclusion in this additional community. Other companies interested in joining the community will be directed to www.opc-ua.org after Jan. 1, 2009.

The OPC Foundation is a standards organization, formed in 1995 to create and manage technology fostering interoperability between vendor products within the automation marketplace.

Schneider Electric, Citect continue integration

Schneider Electric North America will integrate its Citect industrial automation software division into its complete automation and control solutions offering. Company officials said the integration will encompass Citect’s field operations team with that of its parent company to further strengthen both companies’ abilities to provide SCADA, HMI and Manufacturing Execution System (MES) solutions and services. The change will further accelerate the development of the Citect software suite.

Citect was acquired by Schneider Electric in 2006. Since then, the companies have achieved an average annual growth of 20% in the SCADA business. Using a dual-brand strategy, Schneider Electric and Citect have been able to offer continuity for existing Citect customers who are already familiar with CitectSCADA, while expanding the offer to include Vijeo Citect SCADA software for Schneider Electric customers.

“Since the acquisition of Citect, we have been working closely with the team here in the United States to align the advantages of the Citect offer with our complete range of automation and control products,” said Andy Gravitt, vice president, Automation and Control, Schneider Electric. “The inclusion of Vijeo Citect is an important addition to our offering.”

The new organization will come into effect, beginning its operation on Jan. 1, 2009.

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