The OPC Unified Architecture (UA) standard, released in 2008 by the OPC Foundation, is a platform-independent service-oriented architecture that integrates all the functionality of individual OPC Classic specifications into one extensible framework.
OPC UA replaces earlier “OPC Classic” data access technologies which are tied to Microsoft Windows and C++. It is a vendor-independent communications framework for industrial automation applications based on client-server architecture, allowing seamless communication from and between independent sensors and actuators up to large-scale ERP systems in the cloud.
OPC UA is also platform-independent and programming language-independent with built-in security features. It is usually considered a cornerstone of Industrie 4.0.
iChen® System 4.0 acts as a full OPC UA server and supports all data interfaces and communications methods (including SOAP, with or without security, MQTT, and raw binary TCP) as well as alarms/events (A&E) and subscriptions. Machine settings and variables are exposed as OPC UA data nodes. Historical access is not supported, as it is believed that storage of historical data best lies with an MIS/MES/ERP system instead.
Due to the use of proprietary libraries, CHARGES APPLY for OPC UA support. The installation program handles configuration of the OPC UA interface, but it requires a valid registration key in order to function properly.
Contact here for licensing details and to get a registration key.
Open Protocol™ is a proprietary, documented protocol that client applications can freely use to connect with the iChen® Server 4.0. Communications is defined over an industry-standard WebSocket (IETF RFC 6455) connection.
All data messages are formatted in standard JSON format for maximum interoperability. Free libraries are available to deserialize JSON-formatted messages into respective message classes in various common programming languages.
Both OPC UA and Open Protocol™ support essentially the same set of features and can be used for connectivity with Chen Hsong products. The particular choice is dependent upon specific needs and requirements. If standard interoperability with other OPC UA-based equipment is required, then OPC UA is an obvious selection. On the other hand, if simple connectivity with Chen Hsong equipment is needed, then the complexity of OPC UA may be an overkill and Open Protocol™ will do the job just as well.
OPC UA and Open Protocol™ do not conflict with each other and it is possible (or even desirable) to use both at the same time.
Open Protocol™ enables bi-directional communications between machines connected via iChen® System 4.0 and an enterprise MIS/MES system for tasks such as centralized user authorization and authentication, jobs scheduling and mold settings management.
A C++ integration library is provided for original equipment manufacturers (OEM's) to add support for iChen® System 4.0 to their own products.