Industrial

Accelerating Digital Transformation With Easy OPC UA Implementation

The crux of digital transformation is the successful convergence of information technologies (IT), such as business applications and servers, with operations technologies (OT) like programmable logic controllers (PLC) and machine sensors. In order for integration to be possible, however, various devices and systems must be able to communicate with each other.

This is where the Open Platform Communications Unified Architecture (OPC UA) comes in. This open-source, vendor-neutral architecture provides a scalable, secure and reliable standard for data exchange between various automation devices and software applications, making it an ideal choice for industrial environments that require integration between different systems.

Continuing our blog post series on digital transformation, let’s take a closer look at why OPC UA is important for digital transformation, along with key enabling technologies that leverage this powerful standard for seamless data exchange.

 

Why is OPC UA Important in Digital Transformation?

OPC UA is important for digital transformation because it enables seamless connectivity and interoperability between devices from different manufacturers, as well as between OT and IT systems. This connectivity is essential for implementing  Industry 4.0 technologies — like advanced analytics and machine learning — that drive improvements in productivity and efficiency.

By ensuring the seamless flow of information among various devices from different vendors, OPC UA avoids the need to manually code, configure and connect data routes from source to destination. It also avoids the hassles of relying on legacy equipment, multiple industrial protocols and non-compatible network standards.
 

dataFEED OPC Suite as a Digital Transformation Enabler

As part of your digital transformation strategy, it’s important to implement software solutions that leverage the OPC UA standard, enabling secure communication between industrial devices and systems and facilitating IT/OT integration. An example is Softing’s dataFEED OPC Suite Extended, an all-in-one communication solution for OPC UA, OPC Classic and cloud connectivity. Check out our free trial here.

This software platform — which provides access to controllers and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) devices of leading manufacturers — has several features that can support your digital transformation journey. They include:

Secure communication

Part of dataFEED OPC Suite Extended, OPC UA Reverse Connect ensures secure communication between OPC UA components that are separated by firewalls or demilitarized zones (DMZ). Instead of traditional client-server connections, where clients establish the connection to a server, OPC UA Reverse Connect allows servers to make the connection. 

Because the servers actively connect to the client, firewall ports between IT and OT networks are not required. OPC UA Reverse Connect eliminates the risk of an attack on the production network because the firewall remains closed. This function maintains the security of data as it moves between OT and IT environments — a common requirement in digital transformation projects.

Simplified access

dataFEED OPC Suite offers non-invasive access to the controllers of leading manufacturers, facilitating the integration of OPC UA solutions with non-OPC UA controllers or OPC Classic components. This capability lets you use your existing assets as part of your digital transformation efforts without the need for costly equipment upgrades, such as bridging islands of PLCs.

dataFEED OPC Suite version 5.35 introduces comprehensive support for SINUMERIK 840D CNC machines and contains a web server that allows direct access to production data via web client applications.

Cloud connectivity and big data integration

The software supports the transfer of production data to IIoT cloud or big data applications that run on platforms like Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS, Google Cloud, Bosch PPM and Siemens MindSphere. It also enables production data to be stored in SQL databases, MongoDB and CouchDB. By supporting the aggregation and analysis of data from various sources, these features drive decision-making and process optimization.

Ease of configuration

dataFEED OPC Suite features a modern, intuitive graphical user interface with setup wizards and drag-and-drop functions, simplifying the configuration of OPC UA communication. By reducing the complexity and time required to integrate systems, these features accelerate the deployment of digital transformation initiatives. For example, Softing’s expertise in connecting to PLCs has enabled dataFEED OPC Suite users to quickly browse symbols directly from Siemens controllers.  
                    
As many organizations continue to prioritize digital transformation, solutions like dataFEED OPC Suite will play an increasingly important role in enabling these initiatives. By leveraging the OPC UA standard, this software provides the critical bridge between legacy systems and modern analytics platforms, empowering businesses to unlock new insights, improve operational efficiency and drive innovation.

To learn more about dataFEED OPC Suite, visit the website.

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Softing Industrial

France & Iberia

+33 6 82 24 66 62

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