Version 4.16 of OPC Router includes two new Plug-ins. This once again significantly extends the range of applications.
As usual, you will find the download for the test version and all relevant information in our release news:
OPC UA Server Plug-in – From now on the OPC Router also provides data as an OPC UA Server
The OPC UA Server Plug-in provides the internal variables of the OPC Router as OPC UA Server. The variables are therefore readable and writable via the OPC UA Access. The OPC Router now also communicates directly with systems that can only act as OPC Clients. The internal variables of the OPC Router can be used at any point in connections. Depending on the application, it is thus possible to provide data from systems that are connected via plug-in (Heidenhain, Zebra printers (among others), SAP systems, SOAP services, databases, etc. => see plug-in list) as OPC data points. Or data points are defined which are written by OPC Clients and then passed on to plug-ins (e.g. e-mail transmission, telegram message, printer, etc. => see plug-in list).
OPC Router performance and status data retrievable
In addition to the internal variables, the OPC Router automatically provides performance data. Data can be retrieved for transmissions (number and data volume) of the individual connections. In addition, each plug-in has its own status data points for monitoring.
Secure implementation with certificates and users
The internal OPC UA Server of the OPC Router offers standard security mechanisms for safe operation in the automation environment. Access to the data points and the server is controlled by certificates and user authentication.
OPC UA Method Trigger
In addition to pure data points, the new internal OPC UA Server also implements OPC UA Methods. This possibility, new in OPC UA, allows to define methods in the data point space. These are called by the OPC Client using input parameters and the Client receives defined return values and the execution result after execution of the method.
In the OPC Router, the method acts as a trigger for a connection. The input values can be retrieved in the triggered connection and connected with any plug-ins in the usual way. The return variables then receive their values directly in the connection. And after the execution of the connection the trigger returns the values to the OPC Client. The method defined in this way is integrated into the hierarchical namespace of the internal OPC UA Server.
Network File Access Plug-in – File transfer network-wide
Automate network-wide file transfers with the new Network File Access Plug-in. The Plug-in is able to connect FTP Servers via the common secure FTP and connect Windows Network Drives via Windows Credentials. The function includes reading files, providing data contents in connections, creating files and filling files with contents from the OPC Router connections.
This results in various application scenarios:
If the file generating system is not on the same host as the consuming system, the OPC Router can be set up as transferring middleware. The OPC Router has FTP- and SMB-Access to the most common file server systems and is therefore the ideal collector and distributor for files. The monitoring function allows each file transfer to be checked in detail. If required, the OPC Router can even store the files in other locations or read out the contents and store them in databases for monitoring purposes. If one of the systems involved is later replaced and a new interface technology is used (SQL, REST, SOAP, SAP, etc.), this can be implemented simply by adapting the OPC Router connection without having to modify the other systems.
Systems that store files with data for further processing are still found in the IT/OT landscape. With the new Network File Access Plug-in, these files can be read from the OPC Router and be processed using the integrated transfer objects for JSON, XML and CSV. The data is then transferred to the target systems using the many other Plug-ins.
Besides file-generating systems, there are also systems that need to receive data via file. For these systems the OPC Router with the Network File Access Plug-in serves as a converter from e.g. SQL, REST, SOAP, SAP or similar to file. Data is read from the source plug-ins on any trigger and written or appended to the target file if the file already exists (configurable).
Zebra printer plug-in now with printer status query
The Zebra printer Plug-in has been given an important new function in the current Release 4.16 of OPC Router. A new transfer object is available, which retrieves the status values of the Zebra printer. The new object can be used to query the printer in a connection whether it is online, whether it has an error condition or whether there is enough paper and many other information (e.g: PaperOut, Pause, LabelLength, BufferFull, DiagnosticMode, HeadingUp, RibbonOut, ThermalTransfer, PrintMode, LabelWaiting, LabelRemaining). This means that Zebra printers are not only connected for pure data supply, but are now also ready for operation and can be incorporated into the Industry 4.0 infrastructure. This enables immediate reaction to critical situations.
Enhancements to the internal variables
There are also new changes in the internal variables. With this new version internal variables now have the possibility to be created as an array. The variable is simply marked as an array and is available as such in the connections.