PLCopen and OPC Foundation combine their technologies to a platform and manufacturer-independent information and communication architecture. This mix of OPC Unified Architecture (UA) and IEC 61131-3 creates interesting options for the realization of automation structures. Objective is to increase the reusability of controllers and visualization modules and their communication - in the long run the efficiency of the engineering process clearly increases.
The first step for the joined working group was the mapping of the IEC 61131-3 software model to the OPC UA information model leading to a standard way how OPC UA server-based controllers expose data structures and function blocks to OPC UA clients like HMIs.
This first step was achieved in a very short time followed by first implementations demonstrated at the SPS/IPC/Drives show 2009 in Nuremberg. Now the technical specification “OPC UA Information Model for IEC 61131-3” version 0.09.1 is published as Release for Comments till February 19, 2010. This evaluation phase will be followed by the final release expected for April 2010.