OPC Foundation to release analyser devices integration draft specification

22 October 2008

OPC Foundation members representing process analytical technology (PAT) and laboratory industries are extending OPC UA capabilities to enable multivendor interoperability for analyser devices. Progress has been made on the goals of a common method for data exchange, and a data model for process and laboratory analysers. OPC Foundation says it will release the OPC Analyser Devices Integration (ADI) draft specification for review in December 2008.

‘PAT users are looking for true plug-and-play interoperability,’ said Lou Pillai, director of strategic architecture at Pfizer, one of the end-user companies in the working group. ‘A well-defined information standard and its implementation—such as OPC-ADI—is a great step in that direction. OPC-ADI can help minimise custom integrations that users have to take on themselves. This directly will improve the time to benefit from PAT implementations.’

Arne Svendsen, head of manufacturing IT for Arla Foods, said, ‘We are focusing on bringing new analyser device types into the development labs as well as into production facilities. Sometimes integration is needed just to test out the instrument. Thus, it is crucial for us to be up and running with the analyser connected to our MES platforms in hours, not days. An OPC Analyser Device Interface supported by vendors will give us the speed and flexibility we need to implement reliable and adaptive integration. Adaptive integration will give us the ability to add additional instrument information as the need arises in a structured and standard way.’

In addition to Pfizer and Arla Foods, user members of the OPC Foundation working group include Abbott and GlaxoSmithKline. Vendor members include ABB, CAS, Kaiser Optical Systems, Malvern Instruments, Mettler-Toledo AutoChem, Siemens, Software Toolbox, Sympatec, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Umetrics, and Yokogawa.

Since its launch in February 2008, the working group has focused on the issue of multiple vendor data formats and protocols, and the need to create an industry standard using the principles of OPC Unified Architecture (UA). Users and vendors recognise ‘the critical role that process and laboratory analyser connectivity, control and integration play when creating a QbD Data Management Infrastructure,’ said Phil Litherland, technical director of process analysis and control technologies for GlaxoSmithKline. ‘The OPCF ADI UA specification will ultimately… empower the industry to achieve improved process understanding, real-time process and quality control and, its ultimate goal, real time release.’

‘The OPC ADI effort demonstrates the commitment of the OPC Foundation to providing standard, workable interfaces, to the wide range of industrial devices used in modern manufacturing environments. The ADI effort builds on the secure, reliable, and standards based communication methods built into OPC-UA.’

The OPC-ADI interface is planned to support a wide range of existing and future analysers, said Tom Burke, president of OPC Foundation. These include but are not limited to: spectrometers (IR/NIR, visible, UV, Raman), particle size analysers, gas or liquid chromatographs, acoustic and teraHertz spectrometers, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectrometers, mass spectrometers, automated microscopy, and imaging systems (visible, NIR, cell counting, etc.)

– Edited by Renee Robbins, senior editor
Control Engineering News Desk

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