Standards Group Set to Improve Machine to Machine Communications

The resulting standards are expected to facilitate information exchange in production, business intelligence and multi-machine line control.

A new special interest group (SIG) is being formed to develop standards for the exchange of information between machines, and between machines and supervisory systems. According to ODVA, the automation association in charge of the initiative,  the resulting standards will provide data models and network services to improve the exchange of machine information for applications such as production, condition monitoring, business intelligence, batch and recipe management, and multi-machine line control.

This effort is an outgrowth of ODVA’s machinery initiative, which is aimed at improving machine integration. The major focus of this group will be developing data models for logical grouping of machine attributes along with services necessary for exchanging data between machines and other machines or supervisory systems. To simplify communication between heterogeneous systems using EtherNet/IP and CIP, sercos III and/or OPC UA, whenever possible the approach will be to adopt protocol neutral data models, which can be adapted to any of the three technologies.

“Without such standard reporting methods and tools, manufacturers must rely on customized, and often proprietary, solutions in order to exchange machine information across systems or transmit data back and forth with the machine,” said Katherine Voss, president and executive director of ODVA. “The technical output of the SIG will help to further the vision of OMI to define open and interoperable standards for integration of machinery assets and systems into the production domain.”

ODVA will issue a call for SIG participants in the second quarter of 2013 with an organizational meeting of the SIG to be held immediately thereafter. The initial scope of work will focus on the information and communication technology needs for use cases related to machine-to-supervisory communication. Participants in the SIG are expected to include individuals from ODVA’s members, as well as technical experts from OPC Foundation and sercos international, ODVA’s alliance partners in its machinery initiative. Future work of the SIG will also address the needs of use cases related to machine-to-machine communication.

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