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OPC-DX `delivers promise of open systems`

01 August, 2002

OPC-DX `delivers promise of open systems`

The imminent arrival of the first OPC-DX (Data eXchange) products will remove the final hurdle to the integration of multi-vendor systems, says the Open DeviceNet Vendor Association (ODVA). It will allow a single tool to configure all of the devices on a network, irrespective of who made them, with information being transferred seamlessly between the devices, and on to higher-level systems.

This will simplify system integration dramatically, says the ODVA, and eliminate one of its costly aspects. "In short," the Association declares, "OPC DX will deliver on the promise of truly open systems."

OPC-DX will allow peer-to-peer communications over an Ethernet network between controllers and other system components.The OPC-DX initiative has been led by the OPC Foundation with the support of organisations including the ODVA and the Fieldbus Foundation. It is designed to co-exist with current industrial Ethernet standards such as Ethernet/IP and High-Speed Ethernet (HSE).

OPC Data Access (DA) has for several years provided a specification for getting data out of a server; DX adds a specification for getting data into a device.

"Historically, we have made the network and device vendor decision a once and once-only activity," explains Paul Brooks, Rockwell`s European marketing manager for technology adoption. "When that decision has been right for 80% of the application, we have made our customers live with that decision for the remaining 20%, because they are locked into a single solution.

"What DX provides," he continues, "is the ability to select the right solution from the right vendor for the right reasons, confident that the production line will run, even when competitive and previously incompatible suppliers must exchange data." The first OPC-DX products were demonstrated at the Hanover Fair earlier this year.

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