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FairCom EDGE IoT Database

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OPC UA Plug-in

The FairCom EDGE database provides a plug-in that connects to an OPC server, which gathers data from devices that communicate using the OPC UA protocol.

The OPC (Open Platform Communications) interoperability standard is a machine-to-machine communication protocol for industrial automation. OPC is the world’s most popular standard for open automation data connectivity. The OPC Foundation is responsible for the development and maintenance of this standard (https://opcfoundation.org/).

OPC is a series of specifications developed by industry vendors, end-users and software developers. These specifications define the interface between clients and servers, as well as servers and servers, including access to real-time data, monitoring of alarms and events, access to historical data and other applications.

OPC UA (OPC Unified Architecture) is the main successor to the "classic" OPC introduced in 1996. OPC UA (IEC 62541 published between 2010 and 2012) combines all the separate OPC protocols into one specification, which simplifies development. Data exchange with OPC UA is secure and reliable.

OPC UA is platform-independent so it is easily incorporated into Windows, Linux, Mac, Android, and other platforms. This is significant for the manufacturing industry where machines and systems are often running on different platforms.

Architecture

OPC is implemented using a server/client architecture:

  • The OPC server converts the hardware communication protocol used by a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) into the OPC protocol.
  • The OPC client connects to the hardware and uses the OPC server to get data from—or send commands to—the hardware.

The plug-in is configured in a JSON file with information on how to connect to an OPC server. This information includes OPC server URL, namespace, nodes, and frequency.

When the plug-in successfully connects to the OPC server, the FairCom EDGE database automatically caches data sent to the OPC server. All cached data in the IIoT Hub is available for delivery to other systems and for local processing for real-time decision making.

Support for Other OPC Standards

FairCom EDGE supports the "open62541" specification, however the OPC client function calls are in a ctOPCClient.dll, which is a thin layer on top of the OPC client. If you already have your own certified OPC solution, you can easily replace this layer with your own DLL implementing a short list of functions. Contact FairCom if you have an interest in this support.

Let's get started - A guide to setup and installation is available in the section titled OPC UA Installation and Configuration.

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