In line with this universal approach, we built the software platform as a “multilingual” smart manufacturing tool right from the start: FASTSUITE Edition 2 can integrate robots, machines and tool components from any manufacturer into a single, consistent and intuitive simulation environment.
The absolute openness of the system is one of the strengths of this product, and we plan to further expand its level of excellence. That’s why we have now become a member of the OPC Foundation.
As a corporate member, we promote the association’s conceptual ideal of an “interoperability standard for the secure and reliable exchange of data in the industrial automation space and in other industries”.
Additionally, OPC membership offers us access to all the resources we need to equip FASTSUITE Edition 2 with an OPC-UA interface. As soon as this is available, we will have it tested for conformity and certified by the OPC Foundation.
The OPC-UA standard relates to machine-to-machine communication (M2M), which is indispensable for “Industry 4.0” scenarios. The M2M communication protocol not only lets the user transport machine data, but also describe it in a machine-readable form. Many of the automation providers with whom we do business rely on this standard.
The future OPC-UA interface for FASTSUITE Edition 2 will permit easy integration of automation components that likewise feature an OPC-UA interface, e.g. control tools, and thereby provides a basis for virtual commissioning.
Because it presents a common language for M2M communication, the use of the OPC-UA considerably reduces development effort in creating vendor-independent interfaces.
Furthermore, during operation of automation facilities it enables transmission of data in both directions. This permits data evaluation via a variety of applications, providing an information base for direct guidance of manufacturing processes.
Research is currently being carried out to study concrete approaches to such data fusion between digital plant components and their physical counterparts – with promising results. For more information on FASTSUITE Edition 2, please visit www.fastsuite.com