The OPC Foundation (www.opcfoundation.org) announced on Nov. 16 that its board of directors recently voted to add Express Interface (Xi) to the OPC Foundation technology portfolio, complementing OPC UA (Unified Architecture) and older, OPC Classic technologies. OPC is an open communication standard.
OPC Xi is a new interface based on Microsoft .Net Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) technology, the Foundation said. It is specifically designed for secure reliable access to real-time, historical and alarm and event-based information.
The OPC Xi interface is the result of collaboration among several OPC vendor companies from the process industry to develop an easily integrated and secure solution for a variety of plant communications. OPC Xi was developed with the primary goal to provide a .Net-based migration path from OPC Classic, based on Component Object Model, an earlier Microsoft technology. OPC Xi may also be used as a standard .Net WCF interface for newly developed OPC servers.
“The OPC Foundation Board of Directors has adopted Express Interface (OPC Xi) as a standard OPC interface. OPC Xi has been designed as a complementary interface that enables both .Net clients and existing COM-based OPC Classic clients to access OPC Classic servers at the same time. OPC Xi can also be used as a standard OPC interface for newly developed .Net servers,” said Thomas J. Burke, OPC Foundation President. “The OPC Board of Directors has taken this action in response to feedback from members asking for a backward-compatible .Net interface for OPC Classic servers.”
The OPC Foundation said it has begun a marketing campaign to introduce OPC Xi to the automation marketplace. In the next few months, OPC Xi products will be released, including tool kits, clients and servers. For more information about OPC Xi products, technology, and specifications, please visit www.opcfoundation.org/xi.