Andreas Faath, head of industrial interoperability at the VDMA
Standardized interfaces facilitate the integration of new components in existing systems, improve potential uses of data, and reduce the susceptibility to errors. In addition, they reduce the effort for new developments. In this respect, the topic of interoperability is a strategic key component for Industry 4.0.
Therefore, the aim is that systems speak the same language worldwide, a “Global Production Language”. The communication technology for the data exchange OPC UA (Open Platform Communications Unified Architecture, IEC 62541) as a platform-independent, service-oriented architecture specifies the framework and can be understood as the grammar of this language. Now it is about compiling the necessary vocabulary. This is realized with the aid of so-called OPC UA Companion Specifications, which define the interface content. For the engineering area the VDMA manages and coordinates the creation of these specifications globally: The “OPC UA for Machinery” offers the basic vocabulary, there is also industry-specific vocabulary that is compiled in individual working groups. However, the following is clear: The development of a global production language is only possible when working together and is a huge advantage for everyone.