OPC UA Software Opens Up Linux Possibilities

May 4, 2010
A leading integrator uses the OPC UA server included with Ignition by Inductive Automation™ to provide better performance and reliability in a distillation refinery SCADA system.

Integrator Kyle Chase has begun to experience first-hand the benefits of OPC Unified Architecture (UA). Designed to allow for cross-platform compatibility, OPC UA delivers on the promise of performance and reliability. Chase explained that, although a fan of Linux, until now he could never use it in automation control systems because OPC relied on Microsoft’s Distributed Component Object Model (DCOM).

“To me, the move to a true cross-platform environment is important,” stated Chase, systems integration specialist for Surefire SCADA Inc. “This holds many advantages, especially when it comes to system flexibility and security. It helps keep costs down as well.”

It was only recently, when Ignition by Inductive Automation™ was released, that Chase could take advantage of OPC UA’s capabilities. “Inductive Automation is the first to provide the software required to do this,” Chase said.

Freedom from Windows

One advantage to a cross-platform system is that it saves money for customers who don’t support Windows. Customers would need to pay to license a Windows server.

Chase said, “Having cross-platform software allows us to offer a cheaper solution to a customer, and you can’t compete with that in the Windows’ market.”

Performance plus reliability

Chase related his experience with one of his customers. Their distillation refinery has a single controller with 14 racks of remote IO. The facility needed both fast update performance and reliability. Previous solutions from industry leaders couldn’t deliver both. For example, one product gave them the reliability, but it could only provide updates once every eight seconds—and the customer needed updates every second. Another product they tried provided the performance needed, but it would shut down every day.

When Ignition came out, it included a free OPC UA server, making the entire software system cross-platform. Having used Inductive Automation software for the past three years with much success, Chase was confident in trying out the company’s newest release for the distillation refinery project. After going through dry runs, he has been very pleased.

“The performance is absolutely crazy!” Chase said. “Ignition is actively subscribed to 30,000 tags with updates every second. We can finally monitor all of our tags, at the speed we want with the reliability we need.”

For more information about Ignition by Inductive Automation, visit www.inductiveautomation.com.

To learn more about how OPC UA has worked for Kyle Chase, click here to register for Inductive Automation’s upcoming webinar. 

Kyle Chase is the systems integration specialist for Surefire SCADA Inc. Backed by 40 years experience, Surefire creates web-based hosted SCADA systems that encompass all aspects of industrial automation. The company designs and implements industrial control systems and maintains information technology.

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