The OPC driver is a key component of our
production processes in addressing device-to-device
and bus-to-bus interoperability needs
By John Haydock
24 INTECH JULY 2009 WWW.ISA.ORG
ea Magnet Wire manufactures wire. It is customers to move
not high-tech, and the product is not re- smoothly from their l Merge multiple plant ﬂoor machines onto
markable. proprietary wiring a single server.
However, the company has been in business schemes to Ethernet. l Software allows SCADA applications to
since the 1930s and still needs to maintain a However, this ap- access shop-ﬂoor data as an OPC Client.
competitive edge using technology and stream- proach did not en- l IT in our manufacturing process has become
lining production processes. A signiﬁcant part tirely manage the key a competitive advantage.
of that strategy is automation and achieving de- issue of true device-
vice-to-device and bus-to-bus interoperability. to-device interoperability or more importantly
The main product is ﬁlm insulated magnet bus-to-bus interoperability. While new Ethernet
wire. It is copper or aluminum wire with an based protocols could coexist on the same wire,
insulating layer that is thin and temperature- there was still no way to get data from a Proﬁnet
resistant. It is for winding wire coils that serve device directly into an EtherNet/IP device.
to create magnetic ﬁelds used in motors, trans-
formers, and electronic devices. OPC driver plays a key role
One area of responsibility entails managing our The OPC driver is a key piece of our system. We
plant’s communication software. We use an OPC use it to make the communications connection
communications driver to help connect a sys- between the software we use to display the data,
tem that we use in several of our manufacturing sold by GE Fanuc (iFIX and Proﬁcy Historian).
plants that monitors our production equipment. We have standardized on Kepware and their re-
The system records all data on a plant-wide ba- seller partner, Software Toolbox.
sis for monitoring and tracking. This allows us to Our process data system has been evolving
display data in real time for monitoring the plant for us, over the last 10 years. Early on, we were
and to save data for historical analysis. The OPC using PCs on the plant ﬂoor and a multitude of
driver is a key component of our production pro- different communications drivers to connect to
cesses in addressing our device-to-device and the various PLCs.
bus-to-bus interoperability needs. A couple things have changed in the last few
years that made this system more robust for
Bus-to-bus communications us—an expansion of Ethernet technologies and
OPC Data eXchange (DX) manages the needs of controls tools now available for us to connect to
device-to-device and bus-to-bus interoperabil- plant ﬂoor devices over the Internet, which en-
ity by applying the same technologies cu