The CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA), in association with the OPC Foundation, has announced an OPC UA companion specification for the CLPA’s new “CSP+ for Machine” technology to further ease the implementation of Industry 4.0 type applications.
CSP+ for Machine is an extension of the CLPA’s existing “CSP+” (Control & Communication System Profile) that provides easy network configuration and maintenance by offering profiles that describe each device on a CC-Link IE or CC-Link network. CSP+ technology has been established for some time and provides easy drag and drop network configuration from CSP+ files provided by CLPA partner vendors, allowing convenient device libraries to be created. This new announcement takes the technology one step further by essentially allowing whole machines to be treated in the same way, meaning that complex systems can now be dealt with as if they are a single device. Hence complexity will be significantly reduced, and the task of obtaining vital process data will be greatly simplified.
The CLPA has already established itself as a technology leader for Industry 4.0 applications with its unique CC-Link IE open gigabit Ethernet and CC-Link IE Field Basic, which extends CC-Link IE compatibility to 100Mbit Ethernet devices. CSP+4M continues this trend by simplifying the process of extracting data from factory systems via the industry standard open connectivity of OPC UA. CSP+ for Machine uses XML to provide a variety of information related to the machine. This includes: machine specifications, application software, what data should be acquired and how, and the relationship between machine data and information. Since it is typical for a given manufacturing site to operate a variety of process equipment based on different technologies, this ‘open standards’ based approach means that the current challenges which prevent efficient transparency and better management of processes will soon become a thing of the past.
Takeshi Tominaga, global director of the CLPA commented, “Global megatrends such as IIoT, Industry 4.0 and Made in China 2025 are having an increasing impact on manufacturing companies worldwide. A key requirement to enable these trends is the real time handling and processing of manufacturing data in order to ensure the required level of transparency and management for optimised production. We recognised the importance of OPC UA as a supporting technology for this when we signed a memorandum of understanding with the OPC Foundation at the Hannover Fair in 2016. Since that time, we have continued our working relationship and this companion specification is the result. We are pleased to be able to combine our industry leading CSP+ for Machine concept with OPC UA in order to provide a compelling solution for end users and machine builders worldwide.”
Thomas Burke, president of the OPC Foundation, also commented, “We are pleased to have been working with the CLPA for over one year now. This new companion specification for the CSP+ for Machine concept means that end users and machine builders globally will continue to have a wide variety of options available as they expand their businesses and seek to maximise the flexibility of their operations. Success is measured by the level of adoption and the partnership between the CLPA and the OPC Foundation will truly result in advancing the industry significantly because of the power of the two technologies combined together. We look forward to continuing to develop this relationship as we continue to support the move towards Industry 4.0 and related initiatives.”
John Wozniak, P.E.; manager of CLPA Americas who also attended the show, concluded by saying, “CLPA has established a track record of technology leadership and cooperation in the industry in order to deliver the highest performance, most flexible solutions for the real-time communication of essential process information. The new CSP+4M companion specification for OPC UA builds on our previous cooperation with PROFIBUS & PROFINET International (PI) to provide interoperability with PROFINET. With OPC UA now added to the mix, the CLPA’s technology leadership looks certain to continue as more and more companies appreciate the possibilities we can offer.”
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