Connect SAP to OPC UA, SQL, Labelprinters, REST and many more…
SAP is one of the leading ERP systems in the world. In various industries SAP systems are the leading system that ensure smooth work cycls and processes in a company. This encompasses all work categories from order management to production management. Various SAP modules are designed to make workflows work as best as possible by being highly specified to suit the respective work profile with its many different tasks. In production environments the OPC Router is implemented closely aligned to PP (Production Planning an Control), or PP-PI (Production Planning – Process Industries), or PM (Plant Maintenance and Service Management), QM (Quality Management) or EWM (Extended Warehouse Management).
To access SAP, all necessary SAP interfaces are made available through the OPC Router, which offers connectability with RFC, BAPI und IDoc. Thus, SAP data can be distributed and transferred to other systems in mulitple ways, as well as transferred from other systems into SAP.
Example for a PLC to SAP connection via OPC UA
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Three transfer objects are available in the SAP system plug-in for connecting with RFC, BAPI and IDoc.
A RFC is used to call-up a function in an SAP system. Import and export parameters of different types can be used (simple, structures, tables). The call-ups are carried out synchronously.
BAPIs are standard interfaces of the SAP system and allow access to methods of business objects. Similar to RFCs, functions are addressed and their parameters (simple, structures, tables) made available. The call is also made synchronously.
The IDoc data format is used for asynchronous data transfer. IDocs are structured documents used to send and receive transaction-based data to and from the SAP system.
The SAP Systems plug-in contains an RFC-Trigger.
The RFC Trigger allows you to provide an RFC Function within the OPC Router. You can retrieve this function from an SAP system by creating OPC Router as an external system. When calling the RFC function in the OPC Router, data can also be transferred and the trigger makes this data available as data fields in the connection.
The SAP system plug-in can browse the available RFCs, BAPIs, and IDocs from the SAP system.
RFC and BAPI
For the types RFC and BAPI, the existing functions and objects can be filtered and selected. In relation to the selection, the simple, structured and table parameters are available for selection.
The IDoc types configured in the SAP system are read by the OPC Router. The structure of the selected IDoc is displayed in the object so that the required IDoc data fields can be used in the transfer structure.
SAP Systems Plug-in Application Examples
Control production flow by direct RFC call-up
In a production process, automation devices have to control the product at many points. Criteria for this are approvals, quality, storage capacities, line occupancy, etc. In order to make these control decisions, the respective automation device must query the decision from the system, which has all the data it needs to make the decision. The SAP system is often the leading system for this. With the OPC Client Plug-in and the SAP Plug-in this connection becomes possible. A PLC can use it to trigger a synchronous RFC function call in SAP, passing on the input values and receiving the instruction for the steering process as a return. For the production process, the execution as a synchronous RFC call is important, since the result is immediately available and the steering process can be executed immediately.
Production confirmations via IDoc to SAP
In production, a lot of data is generated that is required in the SAP system to carry out production planning. Production messages include data on finished goods, raw material, packaging, and resource consumption, as well as machine runtimes and statuses. You can use this data to plan raw material procurements, update warehouse stocks, and plan machine maintenance. Automatic transmission of data from the machine to the SAP system saves time, avoids manual data entry and ensures more accurate and up-to-date data. Instead of a synchronous transfer via RFC function, such messages can be sent very well as IDocs to SAP. An IDoc is a message packet that is processed asynchronously. The production process is therefore not dependent on the processing of the data. In SAP, the IDocs are then buffered in a queue and processed. However, this is also possible from SAP to production. In this way, material master data or production orders can be sent as IDocs from SAP to the OPC router and the OPC router then processes them one after the other and transfers them to the target systems, for example to the production database.
Here you will find further information
about OPC Router and Plug-ins.