SOPAS OPC server - Vertical connectivity past the control system

Especially when it comes to Industry 4.0, integration capability and consistency are important features of intelligent and future-proof communication structures. That is why SICK offers several options for integrating process, status, and diagnosis information of SICK sensors into visualization systems and automation networks. One of these integration tools is the SOPAS OPC server.

 

Sopas opc server

 

 

OPC stands for open platform communication. With the manufacturer-independent communication standard for automation engineering, field devices from different suppliers can exchange their data bidirectionally with Windows-based applications within a common network. Due to the advent of Ethernet-based fieldbuses, classical automation pyramids have disappeared in favor of transparent automation levels. Device manufacturers today have the option of making the integration of their device data available in worlds outside the automation systems. For example, sensors can be operated without the control using OPC servers. The data can be presented in visualization systems – without having to be programmed in the PLC – and changed there as well.

 

With the SOPAS OPC server, we provide an integration tool which uses the infrastructure of Ethernet-based fieldbuses to directly access SICK devices from distributed systems and applications. Thanks to the SOPAS OPC server, it is possible to directly access or even influence the device data of bar code scanners and camera systems, RFID read/write devices, displacement and laser measurement sensors, volume measurement systems, ultrasonic gas flow meters, etc. from SICK via Ethernet-based networks even from higher-level systems.

 

Standardized access to all sensors

With the well-known SOPAS ET software tool, all types of SICK devices can be configured, monitored, and diagnosed from a PC, for example. SICK is opening up easy handling and quick commissioning functions with the SOPAS OPC server. The SOPAS OPC server is used to exchange data between SICK devices with integrated SOPAS platform and Windows-based applications which have an OPC client. The server enables read as well as write access to device parameters, supports all specified and expanded data types, such as device-specific raw image data or methods, and provides the sensor data in HMIs and SCADA systems for visualization. The SOPAS OPC server currently follows the technological specifications of OPC DA V2.05a. Regardless of the industry or the application, it can thus be used anywhere Windows-based PCs are used.

 

Direct connectivity to OPC-client applications

With the trend towards Ethernet-based networking, communication takes center stage instead of controls, since more and more information flows past automation systems directly into higher-ranking tools and applications. This direct vertical connectivity to OPC-client applications, as is enabled by the SOPAS OPC server, is also the foundation for the successful implementation of Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things

 

 

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Peter Kamp has managed the Industrial Software unit in SICK’s Central Research & Development Department since 2013.