Catching up on some older news. The history of the OPC Foundation has seen collaboration and reciprocal specs with just about any organization that came along. The benefit includes ability to use many other protocols with OPC UA. The drawback—OPC UA spec becomes more cumbersome. Several people have had this conversation with me over the past month.

At any rate, here is another OPC Foundation collaboration. This one involves the FieldComm Group. This work involves driving multi-vendor interoperability of instrumentation devices based on OPC UA and the extensions for the field level, named OPC UA FX (Field eXchange). 

The intent—ensure that the market will have only one single standard. The aim is to provide an interoperable interface between PLC / DCS and instrumentation devices, such as transmitters, instruments, and actuators.

A new OPC UA Instrumentation Working Group is being hosted by the OPC Foundation, under the leadership of the Field Level Communications (FLC) Initiative.

The working group will add to the UAFX base specifications the definition of interfaces and behaviors which are typical for instrumentation devices, including:

• commonly used interfaces and data types for the industries mentioned above including functional safety,

• diagnostic information specific to instrumentation devices,

• operation modes of instrumentation devices,

• state machines and timing models for instrumentation-specific functionality, where appropriate.

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