Vol.8 Cover Story
CLPA and OPC Foundation Sign MoU
CLPA and the OPC Foundation work together towards collaboration between factories and ICT
Expansion of CC-Link IE, accelerating both "horizontally" and "vertically"
In April 2016, the CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA) and the OPC Foundation agreed to work together toward collaboration between factories and ICT. Currently increasing demands include connection of production site FA and management layer ICT. This leads to improved productivity through analysis of data derived from production sites. In this context, CLPA and the OPC Foundation aim to create smart factories for advanced production by unifying the interface between FA and ICT.
At the end of 2015, CLPA agreed to aim for enhanced network interconnectivity with PROFIBUS & PROFINET International (PI). Common specifications for connecting CC-Link IE and PROFINET have been developed to facilitate communication between different networks at the field level.
If CC-Link IE and PROFINET are enhancing their collaboration on the horizontal axis, the latest agreement is intended to enhance connectivity in the vertical direction. The OPC Foundation advocates the "OPC UA" interface that links the production site FA control system with the management division's IT system, defined in Industrie 4.0 as the standard interface between FA and ICT. This agreement aims to combine CC-Link IE and OPC UA, in order to prepare for the age of Industrie 4.0 and the Industrial IoT, linking all the "things" in the factory vicinity.
More specifically, CLPA will expand the device profile description specification "CSP+" in order to handle various device information in a unified manner. Mapping specifications with the OPC UA model will be defined in collaboration with the OPC Foundation. As a result, the interface between devices and ICT at production sites will be unified, dramatically simplifying the connection between the two (currently this is extremely labor-intensive).
At a time when the amount of information in Industrie 4.0 is increasing, this collaboration is significant for both the CLPA, responding to needs with 1Gbps-broadband CC-Link IE, and the OPC Foundation, using OPC UA with the Industrie 4.0 standard interface. Global Director Naomi Nakamura of CLPA pointed out that "by expanding CSP+ and incorporating it with OPC UA, all devices can be handled as a single device, making it easy to share production site information across the enterprise". Thomas J. Burke, President of the OPC Foundation, also emphasized the effect of the alliance, saying that "through collaboration with CLPA, we can realize effective solutions for connection of CC-Link compatible devices with the cloud, allowing us to provide CLPA and OPC members with a world where all information is integrated across vendors."
The "smart factory" aiming at next generation manufacturing has become a realistic goal through connecting production sites and management with the IIoT and Industrie 4.0. In the face of this major trend, it is no longer meaningful to focus on small differences between the standards. It is in light of this trend that CLPA continues to promote collaboration with other standards such as PI and OPC.
- CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA)