PLCopen and the OPC Foundation have given the first public demonstration of a joint project to combine their technologies so that PLC projects running on control platforms from different suppliers will appear to be identical from the outside when viewed using visualisation tools or MES systems.
The combination of OPC’s Unified Architecture (US) and the IEC 61131-3 software model championed by PLCopen is intended to increase the re-usability of controllers and visualisation modules. The work is being carried out by a team including representatives of ABB, Beckhoff, Rexroth and Siemens.
In a demonstration at the recent SPS/IPC/Drives show, the two organisations showed a PID-controlled boiler being filled with variable amounts of water depending on how much steam was being extracted. The demonstration brought together five PLC vendors including Beckhoff, Phoenix Contact and Siemens, together with SCADA systems from vendors such as Iconics and Ascolab.
PLCopen and the OPC Foundation plan to release the results of their collaboration in April. It will allow HMIs, for example, to work under the same function blocks on different controllers.