OPC UA Safety technical work has been completed

06 January 2020

PI, in cooperation with the OPC Foundation, has recently completed the technical work for OPC UA Safety.

To round out the OPC-UA technology as an open, cross-vendor standard for machine-to-machine communication to meet the requirements of Industry 4.0, a standard for fail-safe communication is needed at this level. This issue has now been resolved by the OPC Unified Architecture, Part 15: Safety specification a joint development of the OPC Foundation and PROFIBUS & PROFINET International (PI). The technical work has now been completed.

OPC UA is set to enable cross-vendor networking between machines – independent of the fieldbuses used within the machine. However, it had not previously had the possibility to transmit fail-safe data in the way that is customary for fieldbuses with PROFIsafe. Safety functions had to be implemented conventionally, by means of direct cabling or a coupler. This increased costs and reduced flexibility.

The next steps have already been planned – development of a test specification is being launched, along with a software tool for the automated test. This includes the establishment of a certification and approval process like that of PROFIsafe. This is the prerequisite for the fast and simple safety certification of products that are implementing OPC UA Safety. 

Case examples are being developed for the purpose of demonstrating the new features of OPC UA Safety. This includes the simplified administration of secure addresses for series machines, along with the possibility of being able to communicate with different partners by means of one and the same connection during the machine’s operation. Furthermore, an OPC UA mapper is being specified for Pub/Sub, in order to be able to implement safety functions that place high demands on response time.

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