RTI: architecture proposal to integrate core connectivity standards in industrial systems

Real-Time Innovations and Beeond released a new architecture proposal to integrate the core connectivity standards – OPC UA, DDS and TSN – for industrial systems. This proposed approach eliminates years of potential effort on new standards development by combining the strengths of existing standards to address the complex connectivity challenges of future automation systems with a new, converged architecture. The architecture addresses interoperability between devices and systems plus extensibility to incorporate future large or intelligent systems. The proposal is detailed in a new technical whitepaper, titled “A Converged Approach to Standards for Industrial Automation.”

The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) lays out a reference architecture for Industrial IoT connectivity in its Industrial Internet Connectivity Framework (IICF). The IICF recommends core standards including DDS and OPC UA. While these standards each address integration, they diverge in focus between hardware (OPC UA) and software (DDS). While DDS uniquely streamlines data sharing between software applications across complex systems of systems, OPC UA provides valuable domain information models useful at both the physical and software levels. For this reason, organizations are starting to look at how to bring together the best of both DDS and OPC UA.

RTI and Beeond’s proposed technical architecture provides a path to connect the factory floor to the top floor, sensors to cloud and real-time devices to work cells. The well-developed technologies of OPC UA and DDS can be combined, with the effort going into integration rather than ground-up redesign. Combining the proven OPC UA Object-Oriented Information model and client-server interface with the DDS Data-Centric Publish-Subscribe model provides seamless, secure, reliable access to all system information and supports the needed information exchange patterns. The paper outlines a way to quickly deliver the necessary standards and technology to deploy products and solutions. The proposed integration will deliver rapid deployment options to manufacturers, whether retrofitting a factory or designing a system from scratch.

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