OPC in automation

With Ethernet technology now mature, it is quickly gaining widespread acceptance in the automation field, and as a result, many field control devices are just waiting to be networked. One of the results of this development is that a much greater effort must be placed on the management of network architecture.

SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol)—a layer 7 protocol for the exchange of management information between network devices—was the first tool used by administrators to manage network equipment. But SNMP is generally considered to be insufficient for the HMI/SCADA control systems used widely in the control and automation industry. The reason is that network management software compatible with SNMP is hard to learn and hard to use, and as a consequence did not gain widespread acceptance by control engineers. In this paper, we discuss the current status of OPC, and why you can benefit from using OPC Server in the automation industry. The following topics are covered:
• What is OPC?
• Network Management in the Pre-OPC and OPC era
• OPC Applications
• OPC Interfaces
• The Benefits of OPC
• Summary

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