First OPC News Release
Task Force Develops Draft Specification for OLE for Process Control Standard
New Orleans, LA (October 4, 1995) -- Members of the OLE for Process Control (OPC) Task Force, a five-company consortium created to rapidly develop an OLE-based communication standard, has announced the development of a draft specification. The Task force, representing a cross-section of the process and manufacturing automation industry, expects to release the draft specification by year's end.
OPC is a standard set of interfaces, properties, and methods that extend Microsoft's OLE (Object Linking and Embedding) and COM (Component Object Model) technologies for use in process control applications. Development of the new specification reflects the industry's move toward open standards and efforts to integrate diversified legacy systems in order to accommodate information sharing.
"The objective of OPC is to provide greater interoperability between control applications, field systems/devices, and business/office applications," said Fisher-Rosemount Systems' Mike Begin. "OPC supports our vision of providing all plant users with unprecedented access to plant information and process improvement applications."
The new standard is expected to provide a greater choice of solutions that share a familiar look and feel, while reducing users' integration costs and suppliers' development costs. "OPC will raise automation to the next level by putting the power of plug and play integration into the hands of the customers and allowing them to select and integrate best of breed applications," said Bob Bloom of Intellution.
Characterizing OPC as being "to the process manufacturing industry what the standard RCA jack is to stereo components," Gary George of OPTO 22 stated, "Ultimately, OPC will allow different process devices, as well as different software applications written in different languages and running on different platforms, to interoperate with one another and with Microsoft Office and BackOffice products."
The five company OPC Task Force was formed specifically to speed development of the draft specification. "The idea here is to have a small group perform the up front work. The first draft of the standard is not intended to solve all related issues but rather to provide a basis for meaningful review and comment from the user/vendor community," said Brandon Ekberg of Rockwell Software.
"The user/vendor community has responded very positively to the effort," added Dave Copeland of Intuitive Technology. "Over the past three weeks, more than forty companies have asked to participate the OPC Draft Review." Participation in the OPC Standard Review Process is open to any company who wants to participate.
Microsoft is supporting the efforts of the OPC Task Force, and Microsoft technical resources are advising the group on various aspects of the draft standard. Members of the OPC Task Force are Fisher-Rosemount Systems, Austin, Texas (serving as master editor of the standard); Intellution, Norwood, Massachusetts; Intuitive Technology, Marlboro, Massachusetts; OPTO 22, Temecula, California; and Rockwell Software, West Allis, Wisconsin. Each of these companies are leaders in their individual areas of expertise, which include process management solutions, manufacturing hardware, control software, industrial control systems, I/O hardware and software, and control system software.