inray supports again in the OPC UA JWG the completion of an open interface for machine tools

umati - universal machine technology interface

Also this year we supported the second Plugfest in the OPC UA Joint Working Group (JWG) for machine tools from 24-27 of august 2020. The Release Candidate of OPC UA for Machine Tools, was already published some time ago and has been revised and optimised based on numerous feedbacks. At the second Plugfest, developers came together again to test sample implementations and to check whether all machines and systems equipped accordingly can be reliably networked with the help of the standard developed. A real meeting with many machine tools would not be appropriate due to the current pandemic, so the Plugfest was moved into virtual space.

umati (universal machine technology interface) is a community promoting the joint development and dissemination of specifications to optimise the networking of machines and plants in the future.

umati was founded in summer 2018 by 17 partners from the machine tool industry under the roof of VDW, the German Machine Tool Builders’ Association. This was a result of the requirement to bring the work on the OPC UA Specification for Machine Tools to the market in a simple and understandable way. Since the beginning of 2020, the umati community has been further expanded together with the VDMA and its partners. The easier machines can exchange data in practice, the more efficiently they work. This results in several advantages for both suppliers and users. Currently 126 companies and institutes from different countries have joined the initiative. In order to make standards accessible not only in Germany but also to users all over the world for the development of new potentials.

Powerful partners are testing OPC UA for Machine Tools interface

Several participants provided a server at the second Plugfest, which our developers connected to in the test: Example Server – ISW, University of Stuttgart, Beckhoff Automation GmbH & Co KG, Fagor Aotek, IFW Uni Hannover, KAPP NILES GmbH & Co. KG, Liebherr-Verzahntechnik GmbH, Mitsubishi Electric B.V., Röders GmbH, Siemens AG, VOLLMER WERKE Maschinenfabrik GmbH and UNOMIC.

Successful tests

The aim of the tests was to find out whether our developers could connect to the existing servers and interact with their data points. The tests were positive and the offered data points could be successfully read and written by the servers.

OPC UA for Machine Tools is a Companion Specification, which is supported by our OPC Router with the OPC UA Client.

The core task of OPC is a standardised networking of production. This makes OPC and especially OPC UA one of the most important protocols for  implementation of Industry 4.0. The OPC Router distributes the data as a gateway to the right recipients and thereby brings Industry 4.0 to life.

Interview with umati Plugfest Organizer Götz Görisch

Götz Görisch is responsible for Digitization and Industry 4.0 at VDW and is Chairman of the Joint Working Group. In a telephone interview he reports about the advantages and future of umati.

“umati is a community of companies from the engineering industry and the main advantage for customers is plug and play, as all these technologies are located in a common ecosystem,” says Görisch.
To realise this efficiently, open, independent interfaces are required, which represents semantic interoperability: On one hand OPC UA, the ideal communication platform for connecting a wide range of devices, and on the other hand the Companion Specification, which defines the content for various applications.

According to Görisch, this is exactly where umati comes in and makes the promise to users that machine and plant manufacturers will take care of further implementation if a connection is not possible.

umati has already integrated the specifications OPC UA for Machine Tools and OPC UA for Machinery into its demonstrator infrastructure, which means that the objectives can also be implemented in the interests of the customers.

Götz Görisch wishes for the future: “Our goal is to continue the growth of the umati community and to gain even more partners who will join us in order to further advance the mission of umati as well”.

We at inray are also very positive about the development of umati and see an optimal interaction with OPC Router as user of the new connectivity possibilities.

umati is supported jointly by VDW and VDMA and is open to participants from industry, research, organisations and networks from all over the world. In autumn 2020, umati will present another showcase: http://umati.org

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