The OPC UA protocol is an important evolution in the field of industrial automation and communication among devices. In this article we are going to introduce its features, advantages and practical applications in Vismec machines.

OPC UA protocol: characteristics

The acronym OPC UA stands for Open Platform Communications Unified Architecture and indicates a standard created to manage the continuous flow of information among non-homogeneous devices. In particular, the OPC UA protocol is one of the main systems for ensuring data interoperability in advanced industrial automation, the so-called Industry 4.0.

Thanks to this protocol, industrial machinery dialogues with the management system of manufacturing companies, enabling the automated organisation and management of production processes and making work easier and faster.

The rules and technical specifications encoded in OPC UA allow the different components of automated systems to communicate with each other, without requiring the development of customised codes to handle complex situations.

Thus, devices and applications from different manufacturers can share data regardless of the platform or programming language they use. This simplifies the integration of new devices and the upgrade of existing systems, reducing costs and increasing efficiency. Everything is done through an intuitive and user-friendly human-machine interface according to the principles of Industry 4.0.

Benefits for automation

The OPC UA standard is used in many sectors, from classic manufacturing industries to advanced industrial automation and medical sectors. As we said, it has been created to ensure interoperability between devices and control systems by providing a standardised communication protocol.

Among the advantages of the OPC UA protocol:

  1. advanced security, that is OPC UA provides robust security features to protect data shared between devices. In particular, it uses end-to-end encryption, certificate-based authentication and digital signature mechanisms to ensure integrity and privacy. This is particularly important in industrial automation, where data protection and access control are crucial to avoid security breaches.
  2. scalability and flexibility, which means that OPC UA is highly scalable and can be used in networks of any size, from small local installations to large infrastructures spread across multiple sites. In addition, it is suitable for different industries and for use on multiple devices: PCs, servers, mobile technologies and even embedded devices.
  3. advanced data management, that is OPC UA has powerful tools for managing data. Its functionalities allow, for example, real-time publishing, historical storage, alarm information and past malfunctions storage.
  4. open standards, that means that OPC UA is a protocol based on open source standards. This allows it to be integrated with systems such as SCADA, MES (Manufacturing Execution Systems) and others, enabling an uninterrupted flow of information among the different levels of automation.

The OPC UA protocol also allows production monitoring and analysis. Thus, in addition to the benefits in terms of automation, user friendliness, increased productivity and time reduction, companies also have access to useful, up-to-date information for making decisions and optimising operations.

Given these characteristics and the benefits it offers companies, Vismec decided to integrate the OPC UA standard in all its machines.

Applications of the OPC UA standard in Vismec machines

The integration of the OPC UA standard in Vismec machines is carried out through a plug and play system. This means that operator intervention during initial operation is very minimal: there is no need for detailed knowledge of the hardware or manual installation.

As we have seen, the protocol allows the production system to be controlled and supervised from a single control point. From the management system, whoever controls production (or a phase of the production process) inputs an order to the system, which the machines execute automatically.

Through OPC UA protocols, it is possible to:

An example? Vismec FW 50, a control system that manages up to 48 conveying stations per empty line with a possible emergency reserve system.

All components are connected internally via VisiBus protocol and externally via the universal OPC UA interface. The FW50 control also has an user-friendly display and provides for connection to the Vismec 4.0 supervisory system.

Would you like to discover the advantages of the OPC UA protocol integrated in Vismec products and understand how to apply it to your company’s production and management system? Contact us: we are at your disposal.