ODVA announced today that it has launched a joint working group with the OPC Foundation to develop an OPC UA companion specification to the Common Industrial Protocol (CIP). The collaboration between ODVA and the OPC Foundation will result in reliable, secure communications between devices that are a part of a CIP-enabled Industrial Control System (ICS) and other OPC UA enabled applications allowing communication between CIP devices and OPC UA devices as well as with cloud and enterprise level services. Common tasks required for cloud gateway appliance management will be enabled, and CIP devices will have unimpeded access to leading cloud services. The OPC UA companion specification will address the challenge of moving industrial communication and control data from the factory floor to the cloud via gateways. “Connecting manufacturing process and control data from EtherNet/IP devices to OPC UA servers will enable valuable factory floor information to be made available at the edge and beyond for enterprise wide analysis,” stated Dr. Al Beydoun, President and Executive Director at ODVA.
The OPC UA companion specification will map CIP objects to the appropriate OPC UA information models and profiles and vice-versa. Sending data to and from the cloud from EtherNet/IP to OPC UA will be accomplished by providing useful information including discovery, identity, diagnostics, status, parameter and much more from CIP devices. Allowing critical automation information to be easily transferred from EtherNet/IP to OPC UA will drastically lower the effort required to enable access from higher level systems, such as Analytics, enterprise resource planning or manufacturing execution system. The OPC UA companion specification to CIP will ensure that data will be available to Enterprise and information technology systems with proper context and semantics (i.e. meaning) for quick trend analysis and insight generation.
A joint working group, composed of members of ODVA and the OPC Foundation, will work to identify critical device to cloud use cases, such as tying warranty costs back to production variations, that will drive the scope of the work to be done. In parallel work to the joint development of the OPC UA companion specification to CIP, CIP and EtherNet/IP will be enhanced by ODVA SIGs, as needed, to ensure that all of the pertinent data is able to be understood by OPC UA without any additional work needed by end users. “The time is right for the OPC UA Companion Specification to CIP to ensure that EtherNet/IP is prepared to meet the requirements of Industry 4.0 and IIoT [Industrial Internet of Things],” stated Dr. Al Beydoun, President and Executive Director at ODVA.
The coordination of ODVA and the OPC Foundation will ensure scalability and interoperability of key device information with critical meaning across the entire enterprise. Specifically, OPC UA servers will be able to map to and expose CIP objects and will have the services to allow establishing a connection and exchanging well-formed messages between OPC UA applications and EtherNet/IP. The end goal of the joint working group is to create an OPC UA companion specification that will map CIP objects to the needed information models and profiles.