Press Release

December 01, 2016
Real-time-capable data communication via OPC UA
Beckhoff Integrates OPC UA Pub/Sub UDP Extension into TwinCAT 3 Software

SAVAGE, Minnesota, December 1, 2016 – Beckhoff Automation has announced the direct integration of OPC UA Pub/Sub UDP communication into the company’s TwinCAT 3 software runtime. This paves the way for the straightforward configuration of OPC UA publishers and subscribers, as well as real-time data exchange.

A new extension of the OPC UA specification, which Beckhoff played a prominent role in helping develop within the OPC Foundation, introduces the publisher/subscriber principle into the established and standardized OPC UA communication protocol. Through the early integration of the Pub/Sub UDP extension, Beckhoff has emerged once again as an early adopter of OPC technologies.

One particular advantage is the much simplified configuration that results from direct integration into the TwinCAT 3 engineering environment from Beckhoff. Communication is initiated directly from the TwinCAT 3 runtime, which creates a deterministic and therefore real-time-capable communication channel via OPC UA.

Advantages of publisher/subscriber communication

Conventional client/server applications are decoupled from one another in publisher/subscriber-based data communication and no longer need to "know" each other. The publisher simply sends its data, as a UDP multicast in this case, to a multicast group. The subscribers receive the data by subscribing to the multicast group instead of the actual device.

These advantages can be utilized in all areas of machine design, plant engineering and building automation technology. This is especially true in M2M scenarios within machine networks, for example, in small manufacturing systems as well as complex machines and buildings.

According to the current roadmap for the OPC UA specification, this extension is expected to be finalized by the OPC Foundation in early 2017. Accordingly, Beckhoff plans a timely product release to accommodate the extension in TwinCAT 3 automation software.

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  • With PC-based control and TwinCAT 3 software, Beckhoff will once more be an early adopter and support the extension of OPC UA to include publisher/subscriber communication.

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    With PC-based control and TwinCAT 3 software, Beckhoff will once more be an early adopter and support the extension of OPC UA to include publisher/subscriber communication.

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