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OPC Unified Architecture

 

OPC UA Client Development Overview

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UA specifies a flexible information model and a multi-platform secure communication. This makes UA a good base for the implementation of interface standards and there are collaborations with e.g. FDI, PLCopen, ISA95, MDIS, Ö
The OPC UA specification defines a wide range of features that donít necessarily have to be implemented, a specific server may only implement a subset of the specified profiles. The UA specification chapter 7 defines the profiles and conformance units.

         UA Servers replacing Classic OPC servers.
Such servers are implemented with features and an information model as simple as such of Classic OPC servers. The UA specification defines how Classic OPC features are mapped to UA.
The development of such servers doesnít need to be more complex than the development of Classic OPC servers.

         UA Server for Collaboration Interfaces.
Such servers are implemented with features and an information model specific to the collaboration specification.

         Application specific UA Servers.
The information model and the implemented features (profiles) are application specific.
Many off-the-shelf UA clients will not be able to properly access such UA servers.

How is the situation for UA clients?

UA clients can determine the UA server capabilities and information model. However, the development of UA clients that can work with any UA server is unreasonably complex. To simplify the situation UA clients are likely developed for specific types of UA servers.

         UA Servers replacing Classic OPC servers.
Wrapper servers can be used to enable existing Classic OPC client applications to access such UA servers.
The UA wrapper can be external or built into the client application. Advosol offers UA wrappers as an add-on for its Classic OPC client components. This allows UA servers to be accessed thru the familiar Classic OPC interface, without external wrapper servers.

         UA Server for Collaboration Interfaces.
The clients are implemented for the specific information model. Such clients are better considered clients for the specific collaboration interface than UA clients. This situation can be compared to HTTP and Email clients that both base on the TCP/IP specification.

         Application specific UA Servers.
The clients are application specific.

 

OPC UA as a replacement for Classic OPC DA
UA servers that replace Classic OPC servers have a simple node structure that reflects the hierarchical organization of OPC DA servers. DA-only UA clients ignore node references that go beyond a hierarchical tree structure.
With these restrictions the UA server and client development is significantly simplified and whatís often the biggest concern, the DCOM communication, is eliminated.

For client developers Advosol offers multiple solutions:

- Add-on options for the Classic OPC (DCOM) .Net client components:

         The UA Option for OPCDA.NET extends the OPCDA.NET client component with UA server access capability.Applications developed for classic OPC DA can access UA servers through the same API.

         The UA Option for OPCHDA.NET extends the OPCHDA.NET historian client component with UA server access capability.Applications developed for classic OPC HDA (Historical Data Access) can access UA servers through the same API.

         The UA Option for OPCAE.NET extends the OPCAE.NET client component with UA server access capability.Applications developed for classic OPC AE (Alarms and Events) can access UA servers through the same API.

- OPC .NET (Xi) application interface for access to all types of OPC servers:

         The PaXi Client Base implements the OPC .NET (Xi) interface with the capability to access Classic OPC DA/HDA/AE, OPC UA and Xi servers.

- Wrapper Servers:

         Instead of updating existing Classic OPC clients, a converter server is added. This approach has the advantage that the existing classic OPC clients donít have to be modified.
Advosol offers the COMtoUA converter server with easy to use configuration tools.



 

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