“Manufacturing companies have not only machine tools but also their own individual mix of machines, equipment, robots and systems. If all these technologies can exist in a common ecosystem which is ideal for producing plug-and-play solutions, this will save end users a lot of time and money,” Schäfer continued. Hartmut Rauen, Deputy Executive Director of the VDMA, added: “Over 30 specialist groupings in more than 17 associations are working on technology-specific interfaces, the “Companion Specifications”. This high level of collaboration forms the basis of true, open interoperability between machines and software systems, from the shop floor to the cloud. Only the VDMA has the means to unite the necessary integrative forces from the wide range of production domains.“
OPC UA Companion Specification for Machinery to be published in 2020
The mechanical and plant engineering sector adopted OPC UA as the standard for data exchange from an early stage. This is because OPC UA provides a uniform framework for machine and system interoperability. Having adopted a bottom-up approach, it became clear how important it was to have uniform definitions for basic elements for a large part of the diverse range of products in mechanical and plant engineering. The simplest example is machine identification, including features such as manufacturer, serial number, year of manufacture and machine type.
Here, various VDMA departments – such as Electrical Drive Engineering, Plastics and Rubber Machinery, Machine Vision,Metallurgy, Robotics and Machine Tools – are currently drawing up the Basic Companion Specification OPC UA for Machinery. “The first version is scheduled for publication later this year,” announced Hartmut Rauen.