Cactus Develops an Indigo Implementation of OPC UA

May 1, 2005
A highlight of the recent OPC Unified Architecture Developers Conference was the OPC UA demonstration that was implemented with Microsoft’s Indigo framework and was jointly developed by Cactus Commerce, the OPC Foundation and Microsoft.

For the recent OPC Developers Conference, held at the Microsoft Corp. campus in Redmond, Wash., Microsoft invited Cactus Commerce to help develop a robust demonstration of the OPC Foundation’s Unified Architecture specification. The main purpose of this event, which was held April 19 and 20, was to provide a technical overview of the OPC Unified Architecture (OPC UA) and the corresponding Microsoft Indigo technology that can be used to implement the OPC UA specification.

The demonstration, which included several OPC UA clients and servers that were developed by Cactus, was featured during the event’s opening keynote. It showed an implementation of the OPC UA services-oriented framework, which will facilitate both vertical and horizontal interoperability between industrial automation applications. The demonstration also highlighted the capabilities of Microsoft’s Indigo, which is a comprehensive Web Services messaging platform for building service-oriented applications on the Microsoft .NET platform. The Indigo model makes practical use of services for both integration and distribution of components within an application.

Paints the OPC UA picture

The demonstration used a hypothetical paint production company to illustrate how traditional manufacturing tools can be used with the OPC UA standards and unified programming models such as Indigo to create automated processes that are both economical and efficient. Paint manufacturing provides for a large number of realistic scenarios because of the wide range of specific products that can differ quite dramatically in terms of attributes and production inputs.

In the demo, the hypothetical paint production company uses automated batch manufacturing processes integrated via Web Services in real time—not only with the various systems of the manufacturing enterprise, but also with those of the company’s trading partners.

The UA/Indigo demonstration models a highly complex manufacturing environment (the particular example features four separate production lines) and incorporates an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system.

One of the features of the UA/Indigo demonstration is its interoperability with existing Common Object Model (COM) based OPC applications which were used to visualize the paint making process and to communicate with process control hardware. Microsoft’s Indigo was used to implement OPC UA based communication between all of the various manufacturing, persistence and monitoring units involved and the ERP system.

In the demonstration, a commercial OPC visualization application was used to monitor the OPC UA production line servers, which in turn communicated with the process control hardware via a commercial OPC server. To complete the picture, the ERP system communicates with the Manufacturing Execution System (MES) and Asset Manager to maintain inventory levels and provide any needed repairs, maintenance or replenishments when supplies are required. Finally, the Engineering Modeling Application provides controlled configurations and modifications for all production lines—in essence, automating and electronically controlling the implementation, maintenance and configuration of all inputs required to produce different products.

Cactus Commerce is an e-business software and services provider dedicated to helping manufacturers, distributors and large retailers bring more efficiency to their complex business processes with integrated Business-to-Business (B2B) solutions that lay the foundation for the move toward radio frequency identification (RFID).

A Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, Cactus works closely with Microsoft to develop and deliver rapidly deployed, cost effective and extensible solutions for the manufacturing and retail industries. Cactus offers specific industry expertise, trading partner integration (TPI) software and enterprise application integration (EAI) services that enable companies to achieve Global Data Synchronization by leveraging their existing Microsoft technology investments.

For more information on Cactus and its solutions, visit and, email [email protected] or call 888.CACTUS.0 x 406.