VDMA releases OPC UA companion specifications for robotics and machine vision

Jun 19, 2018

The OPC UA machine vision and robotics working groups released the first versions of their companion specifications at its press conference held at automatica 2018. “Interoperability is the key for distinguishing our products in a connected world of Industrie 4.0. OPC UA is the designated standard to make machines talk the same language in the smart factory of the future," said Dr. Horst Heinol-Heikkinen, chairman of the VDMA OPC Vision Initiative. "With today’s release of the companion specifications, we have reached a major milestone on this way.

The OPC UA Companion Specification for Robotics provides a standardized information model which is capable of presenting all robot related data regardless of manufacturer or location in a uniform manner. Part 1 released today as draft version permits asset management, condition monitoring, preventive maintenance and vertical integration – at any time, anywhere in the world and independent of the robot brand or type. It provides a basis for data analytics and for boosting OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness). 

The OPC UA Companion Specification for Machine Vision provides a generic model for all machine vision systems - from simple vision sensors to complex inspection systems. It defines the essence of a machine vision system. Part 1 published today as release candidate version describes the infrastructure layer which is an abstraction of the generic machine vision system. It allows the control of a machine vision system in a generalized way, abstracting the necessary behavior via a state machine concept. It handles the management of recipes, configurations and results in a standardized way, whereas the contents stay vendor-specific and are treated as black boxes. 

Beside the release of the two new companion specifications, a demonstrator for skill-based control with OPC UA was presented for the first time today. The demonstrator is a fully-fledged assembly cell producing fidget spinners and integrating systems and components from more than 20 manufactures speaking one language: OPC UA. 

The OPC UA Vision companion specification is now available free of charge as VDMA Specification number 40100 (as release candidate version). The OPC UA Robotics companion specification is now available free of charge as VDMA Specification number 40010 (as draft version).