OPC UA Companion Specifications will be Harmonized

Potential for faster development of OPC technology is now being realized!

The decisive data key for smart processes in all industries lies not only in a secure transport, but also in the importance and description of data and interfaces, including their meaning and behavior. More than 50 Companion Specifications have already been developed to standardize the meaning and description for an industry.

, President and Managing Director of the Foundation focuses in an 8-page coverstory in RFID & Wireless IoT Global, issue 02/2020, on RFID with regard to the benefits of harmonizing the specifications.

Mechanical Engineering is Progressing

“The Companion Specifications are a fundamental building block for implementing OPC UA in the best possible way. The large number of specifications developed is a signal that the industries have recognized the value for their processes. The VDMA alone is currently working in parallel on 30 specifications for about 20 mechanical and system engineering sectors. Harmonizing certain aspects of the specifications creates the potential for accelerated further development,” explains Stefan Hoppe.

Basic Specifications Set the Foundation

Within the framework of the central coordination for the development of the specifications in the VDMA, it became apparent that some interface contents appear across all sectors. The VDMA idea of developing a basic specification for the entire mechanical and systems engineering industry was born. This basic specification “OPC UA for Machinery” is to be used as a basic module for existing and emerging Companion Specifications as soon as it is published.

A second, important aspect: Machines or devices of the mechanical engineering industry can use the contents of the specification if no standardized interface of their own sector is available yet. The first two building blocks, developed by an expert group of specialists from various industries, are to be published in the form of a Release Candidate in June 2020.

“The VDMA is an outstanding example of the fact that an increasing number of organizations are cooperating on specifications. More than 500 companies participate in the standardization process within the association and have recognized the strategic relevance of developing OPC UA Companion Specifications. They are committed with enormous involvement in the VDMA OPC UA working groups – with an increasing tendency,” emphasizes Stefan Hoppe the importance of the VDMA.

Putting Harmonization on a Broad Foundation

At the level of the OPC Foundation itself, parallel harmonization activities are taking place in close coordination with the VDMA. “We see the similar aspects of the specifications across industries, for example between the process industry, manufacturing technology, and energy industry. With the extensive inventory of active and developing specifications, it creates added value to harmonize certain aspects,” reports Stefan Hoppe.

The “Harmonization” initiative in the OPC Foundation therefore focuses amongst others on the areas of asset management, power management interfaces, MES interfaces and firmware update services. “The VDMA will contribute the contents developed within the OPC UA for Machinery in order to simplify cross-industry harmonization by means of contents already harmonized for mechanical and systems engineering,” says Andreas Faath, head of OPC UA in the VDMA.

Find Out More!

The Companion Specifications, which are available free of charge to every user, are a key feature of the OPC UA world to make M2M communication across all industries simpler, more secure, faster and more uniform – and all the way from the sensor to the cloud. You want to learn more about them? Then read the 8-page coverstory: Stefan Hoppe in an interview with.