GE announced it is the first to implement and release a new Global Discovery Server based on the new Part 12 of the OPC UA standards. I’m taking its word for being first, although I cannot find anyone else promoting it. This is a useful standard that should further expand use of OPC in industrial networks.

The GE Proficy Global Discover Server (GDS) automatically discovers OPC UA devices on the network and connects to them with no configuration, saving time and reducing costs.

GE has standardized on OPC UA as an interoperability standard across several GE businesses.

The Global Discovery Server automates the previously manual and complex processes associated with connectivity and certificate management. The technology supports both the push and pull of certificates.

GE has also released a new version of the company’s CIMPLICITY HMI/SCADA product. CIMPLICITY is now an OPC UA Client and future releases will deliver more OPC UA client and server capability. As an OPC UA-enabled HMI/SCADA, CIMPLICITY can aggregate data from other OPC UA devices, add context to that data for analysis, and even provide that contextual data to other OPC UA servers at other system layers within an enterprise. Security is improved through the use of secure-by-design OPC UA. Reliability is higher, as OPC UA is designed to work on lower bandwidth connections and devices like radio modems.

OPC-UA provides a standard for GE devices and equipment, and the company now has multiple OPC-UA enabled devices: the PACSystems RX3i and RXi and MarkVIe are OPC UA-enabled controllers. Other GE products adopting the standard include: ADAPT3701, GE Oil & Gas’ System 1 condition monitoring software, 8 Series for primary or backup protection for underground and overhead medium voltage feeders, and 3 Series multifunctional feeder relays.

In addition to multiple OS platforms, companies have a multitude of legacy systems and equipment in place. GE’s OPC UA-enabled software can aggregate the data from these legacy systems and equipment and eliminate these islands of information. Even for devices that are unaware of OPC UA, the GE server can still manage certificates and trust lists for those devices, using Proficy Agent which acts on their behalf.

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