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OPC

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The abbreviation OPC (OLE for Process Control) refers to an interface which is defined and expanded by the OPC Foundation. OPC is widely used in process automation, in particular for coupling process data to HMI systems.

OPC is based on a client-server structure. A client (master) can access one or several servers (slaves). Several clients can simultaneously access one server. One server provides the data and the client receives the data from the server. Although the client can also transmit data to the server, the main direction of data flow is from the server to the client.

OPC comprises a number of interfaces which serve various purposes. The most important are:

  • DA (Data Access)
    this is probably the most widely used interface defining interfaces and methods for accessing process data
  • AE (Alarm and Event)
    is an add-on to the DA interface and enables the transmission of events and alarms
  • HD (Historical Data)
    is an add-on to the DA interface and enables the transmission of historical data 
  • DA XML
    This interface is a fairly recent addition based on the DA interface. Data encoding is however based on XML (eXtended Markup Language).

Unlike other protocols which have mainly been developed for the transmission of process data, the OPC Foundation allows users to verify the compliance of the server implementation with the standard. This is done with the Compliance Test Tool (CTT), a software package which is made available to members free of charge. If the server passes the compliance test, a document is generated as compatibility proof and functional reference. The CCT enables the user to virtually eliminate incompatibilities between implementations from different manufacturers and ensure smooth integration.

In addition, workshops are organized on a regular basis, where different manufacturers can benchmark their systems against each other. 

ISO/OSI Model

7 Application Layer OPC DA, AE, HD etc.OPC DA XML
6 Presentation Layer COM/DCOM
(Distributed) Component Object Model
SOAP, XML
5 Session Layer RPC
Remote Procedure Calls
HTTP
4 Transport Layer TCP/IP
3 Network Layer
2 Link Layer
1 Physical Layer

Implemented Protocol Stacks

OPC AE 1.10, ClientOPC AE 1.10, Server
OPC DA 3.0, ClientOPC DAXML 1.01, Server
OPC DA 3.0, ServerOPC UA 1.02, Server

Applicable Products

ipConvOPCipConvOPCSoftwarepackage for conversion between OPC DA 3.0 Server and standard protocols
Details...
ipConvipConvUniversal protocol converter for highest degree of flexibility
Details...
product/ipConv/en/ipConv_en.pdf

References

BLS AlpTransit - LötschbergtunnelBLS AlpTransit - Lötschbergtunnel
Details...
SwitzerlandipConv ipRoute OPC DA 3.0, Server / IEC 60870-5-104, Slave / IEC 60870-5-101, Master / IEC 60870-5-104, Master / SNMP, Client /
Mainova Communication HubMainova Communication Hub
Details...
GermanyipConv OPC DAXML 1.01, Server / IEC 60870-5-104, Slave / IEC 60870-5-101, Master / Modbus, Master / SEAB 1F, Master /
Nordsee OneNordsee One
Details...
GermanyipConv Modbus, Master / IEC 60870-5-104, Slave / IEC 60870-5-101, Slave / IEC 61850, Client / IEC 61850, Server / OPC UA 1.02, Server / SNMP, Client /
OWP Global Tech OneOWP Global Tech One
Details...
GermanyipConv IEC 60870-5-104, Master / IEC 60870-5-104, Slave / IEC 60870-5-101, Slave / IEC 61850, Client / OPC UA 1.02, Server /
ABBOPC1013ABBOPC1013
Details...
SwitzerlandipConv IEC 60870-5-101, Slave / IEC 60870-5-103, Master / OPC DA 3.0, Server / OPC DA 3.0, Client / OPC AE 1.10, Client / OPC AE 1.10, Server /
RWE Mosel Hydro Power StationsRWE Mosel Hydro Power Stations
Details...
GermanyipConvOPC ipRoute OPC DA 3.0, Server / IEC 60870-5-104, Master /
Andritz Hydro GmbH, A-ViennaAndritz Hydro GmbH, A-Vienna
Details...
South AfricaipConvOPC IEC 60870-5-104, Master / OPC DA 3.0, Server /
ABBOPC104ABBOPC104
Details...
AustriaipConv IEC 60870-5-104, Slave / OPC AE 1.10, Client / OPC DA 3.0, Client /
FHKW LinzFHKW Linz
Details...
AustriaipConvOPC OPC DA 3.0, Server / IEC 60870-5-104, Master /
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