Access your PLC data via OPC!
The OPC Router uses OPC as main application base, which is also evident in the product name. The OPC standard is implemented by OPC servers, which are either provided by manufacturers of automation components themselves or by third party companies. The OPC Router acts as an OPC client, so he is able to use all the data which is provided by OPC Servers. The quite new OPC UA standard has introduced another novelty: For the first time automation devices can implement the standard on various system platforms without having to rely on windows-based platforms. Well known OPC servers are KepWare OPC Server, Siemens OPC Server, Matrikon, Softing (and also former INAT OPC Server), etc…
With the OPC Router OPC UA client connections can be graphically configured and form the basis for robust industrial 4.0 data traffic applications.
Achieve More with Combined Systems
It is possible to connect thousands of different devices to one another as OPC Client. Without the OPC standard each device would remain a black box with no connection to anything outside its own system. Due to OPC, data stored in these devices are easily accessible for OPC Clients. Above that, the devices themselves can receive data from other systems now as well.
Industry 4.0 with OPC Client
Connecting the production environment has always been at the core of OPC. This is the very reason why OPC – and especially OPC UA – is one of the most important protocols for implementing industry 4.0. OPC makes device and system data available at the right time and in the right format and feeds it into the Industry 4.0 infrastructure. As an OPC Client the OPC Router distributes the data to the correct recipient and thus breaths life into Industry 4.0.
About the OPC Router
The OPC Router acts as a OPC Client and furthermore as OPC UA gateway, by providing a powerful interconnectedness or interlinking between your systems. The OPC plug-in is the plug-in that implements the OPC UA client functionality.
The OPC UA Client Plug-in implements various ways to connect to OPC Servers and read or write their items.
That’s how easy it is:
The transfer object of the OPC Client plug-in etablishes access to specific data points.
The structure and organization of the OPC standard is defined by data points. Each data point has a unique name. The OPC server sends out a specific relevant value along with the associated time and quality value (e.g. device connected, not connected, etc.).
The selection of data points is conducted via browsing. In the transfer object and the visual display thereof the data is now available and can be connected with other fields in the transfer.
The OPC Client Plug-in makes use of various trigger functions.
The Datachange trigger is configured for an OPC data point and triggers the transfer when the data point changes.
The Trigger limit value monitors a data point for compliance with limits. It can be checked for exceeding or falling below. A hysteresis can also be set.
Handshakes are often implemented in data transfers. The bit trigger is the simplest variant here. The OCP router checks whether a bit requests a transfer. If a transfer has been made, the bit is optionally reset or another bit is set as response. The success of the transfer can be transferred to another data point.
The message trigger is the further development of the bit trigger in form of telegram type data exchange. Here is not checked a bit, but a counter is checked for a change in value. After the transfer, the number that triggered the transfer is written back as a response.
The reliability and traceability of this exchange is significantly higher.
The OPC Client Plug-in can browse data points of the OPC Server.
Data Point Hierarchy
The OPC standard defines all possible paths for data point readouts.
The standard format of the hierarchical structure is resembled as data point tree. The OPC Client reads out all data points together as one data point tree and thereby makes the data available to the user. By doing so even huge data point volumes can be made easily accessible. Each and every data point has its own unique path ID with inclusive type information.
OPC UA Client Plug-in Application examples
OPC UA Gateway to SQL Databases
Production databases are often used to achieve transparency in industrial processes. They are used to record batches, consumptions, process data etc.. The storing in relational SQL databases is the standard in the field. OPC UA is particularly suitable for data acquisition in industry, as a large number of PLCs and other peripherals can be connected to it and thus serve as data suppliers for the databases. Due to the bidirectionality of OPC UA, it is also possible to transfer data from the databases to the controllers, e.g. for recipe, setup or order transfers. To connect SQL the use the OPC Router Microsoft SQL Plug-in.
Quick and easy integration of PLC in SAP
The connection of PLC to an ERP system can in many cases achieve a clear increase in effectiveness and quality. In order to process its tasks, the control system regularly requires data from the ERP level in order to make decisions in the production process. Decisions about labelling, stock movements, raw material usage etc. are based directly on data from the ERP. Through direct coupling with the SAP plug-in, the controller has direct access to this data.
Data generated during production (consumption, finished goods notification, machine operating hours, etc.) can be transferred directly from the PLC to the ERP system so that no detours and costs arise from manual data transfer. The connection to a SAP Systemen can be established with the OPC Router SAP Plug-in.
How do Transfer Objects, Trigger and Browsing work?
The OPC Router establishes connections between systems that address core functions of the OPC Router.
Functions of the respective plug-ins may vary, due to the different nature of each connected system.
Sources and Destinations
Transfer objects are the sources and destinations inside the OPC Router. They contain data fields with read and write functions. Depending on the respective interconnected system, the possible configuration scope of sources and destinations may vary.
Homegeinity on the Outside – Heterogeinity on the Inside
nside the OPC Router configutation, the Transfer Object abstracts the respective system context of any connected system into a simple data input and data output block. Thus, the functions can be treated in the same way although each connected system has very individual features.
Triggers determine execution time of data transfers. Various Triggers can be active, independent of source or destination. Various Triggers can be used in combination via AND/OR-connections. Triggers can also serve as data sources if the prompting event is coupled with receiving data.
Searching and Finding Data Fields
The configuration of sources and destintions is simplified. Differing browsing mechanisms are available, depending on the type of system and/or plug-in.
Reading Out Structures
Even complex structures can be selected without requiring detailed knowledge about subsystems. The plug-ins presents structures of data sources according to the specification of the respected plug-in.