Asia OPC IOP Report: 22 Products Pass Interoperability Tests

Sept. 6, 2012
Fourteen vendors successfully tested 22 OPC products at the three-day Asian Interoperability (IOP) Workshop, an event sponsored by the OPC Foundation and hosted by the OPC Japan Council this past June in Tokyo, Japan. The focus of this year's event was the interoperability testing of the following OPC technologies: OPC Data Access (DA), Alarms & Events (A&E), Historical Data Access (HDA), and OPC Unified Architecture (UA).

For more than a decade the OPC Foundation IOP workshops have delivered value, and this year’s Asian IOP event in Tokyo, Japan, was no different. The event was very well organized and testing successfully stayed on schedule. As testers worked through their test-plans, they would report their results to the event organizers, who showed real-time progress statistics on the large projection screen at the front of the conference room.

The OPC Foundation sponsors three major IOP Workshops annually; each event is hosted by the regional OPC councils in Europe, Asia and North America. Unique to the Asian event is the Challenge Test, where each OPC Client must connect to all participating OPC Servers in parallel.

“Imagine a big room, where every OPC product being tested is connected to a network,” says Nathan Pocock, Director of Certification and Compliance for the OPC Foundation. “This configuration creates a mesh where all servers and clients are connected to each other at the same time. As the test progresses a moderator—kind of like a BINGO caller—says, for instance, ‘OMRON, unplug your Ethernet cable.’ That product is taken off- line, causing an interruption. While it’s offline, we make sure that everyone else is still live; no crashes. The product is reconnected, and we recheck the status of all the products. Every participant gets a turn at unplugging their cable.”

The Challenge Test is successful when products do not crash, gracefully handle the problem, report any issues to the user, and recover gracefully. Toshihisa Fujii, of Azbil Corp. and a member of the OPC Japan Technical Committee, notes, “OPC Japan introduced the Challenge Test as a way to improve product quality through stress and recovery testing.” Adds Pocock, “The Challenge Test adds such value to vendors, and ultimately to the end-users, that the OPC Foundation will duplicate the model at the North American IOP in 2013.”

Fujii is happy to report that the number of OPC UA products tested at the 2012 Asian IOP exceeded expectations. “It was very valuable to have the on-site support of Nathan Pocock and Tom Burke, President of the OPC Foundation, to assist us in the testing of OPC UA products.”

Organizations in attendance included: ABB Bailey Japan Limited, Azbil Corporation, Digital Electronics Corp., Fuji Electric Co. Ltd, Hitachi Ltd, Honeywell Inc., Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., Murata Machinery Ltd., OMRON Corp., Takebishi Corp., Toshiba Corp., Unified Automation GmbH, Yokogawa Electric Corp. and Yokogawa Solutions Corp.

The IOP Workshop is a great resource for preparing a product for OPC Certification testing. When a product is certified by the OPC Foundation, it is because the product has been rigorously tested in an independent Certification Test Lab for compliance, interoperability, robustness and recovery, usability, and resource efficiency (load-testing over 36 hours).

The next OPC Interoperability Workshop, sponsored by OPC Europe, will be held on October 22-26, 2012, in Nuremberg, Germany. For more information and to register, click here.

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