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AIM Germany Launches Initiative with OPC Foundation

Thursday, April 17, 2014  
Posted by: Cynthia Troup
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AIM Germany Launches Cooperative Initiative with OPC Foundation Taking Aim at the Standardization of Systems Integration of Auto-ID Systems
German enterprises regard integration as a prerequisite for the successful implementation of the strategic initiative "Industrie 4.0"


Lampertheim, Germany, 09 April 2014AIM Germany, a charter member of AIM Europe and part of AIM, Inc., the industry association representing the global network of AIDC experts and technologies, comprising barcodes, two-dimensional (2D) codes, RFID, NFC, RTLS, sensors, etc., has announced a cooperative effort with the OPC Foundation.

Auto-ID systems are required for the vertical integration between production lines and material flow and logistic chains with the controlling enterprise systems like MES (Manufacturing Execution Systems) or ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning). With regard to future concepts like "Internet of Things" or "Industrie 4.0" these enterprise processes can only run properly when the automatic identification (Auto-ID) components work reliably.

Having created the interoperability platform OPC UA (OPC Unified Architecture) the OPC Foundation (OPCF) has already achieved remarkable results in terms of enabling that integration. OPC UA is a vendor and platform independent as well as a cross-industry communication standard, which connects enterprise and automation systems. The cooperation between AIM and OPCF intends to make those standards also available for auto-ID components. A joint working group will analyze the existing standards and where reasonable adapt or extend them. Furthermore the partners plan to develop prototypes and demonstrator components. This will result in a publicly available documentation including an implementation guideline. Further users or vendors are welcome to join the initiative.

Markus Weinländer, head of product management for Industrial Identification at Siemens, Nürnberg, Germany, and member of the board of AIM Germany, points out: "Automatic identification continues to be a highly important topic in factory automation. When it comes to flexible manufacturing, RFID and optical codes are indispensable tools. However, the integration to PLC or IT systems is still based on proprietary protocols. The aim of the cooperation between AIM and the OPC Foundation is the development of a vendor-independent companion standard for auto-identification. This will make the integration of auto identification components less complex and more cost-effective.

Stefan Hoppe, Product Manager at Beckhoff Automation, Verl, Germany, and President OPC Europe, comments: "The OPC Foundation's goal is to provide an industry standard for the vertical and horizontal integration in the field of industrial automation. It will be based on the OPC Unified Architecture technology which controls the transport of data and information including mechanisms for system security, authentication, encryption and certificates. Regarding the definition of contents to be transferred OPC UA's modeling capabilities are of immense value for other organizations. The cooperation between AIM and OPC Foundation will push the integration of auto-ID systems into this standard ahead. A respective companion standard is intended to be published at Hannover Fair in Germany in 2015."

Automatic identification systems and industrial automation go hand in hand.
The cooperation between AIM and OPC Foundation was based on a common risk assessment regarding today's deficiencies of systems integration in production, material flow and logistics. The additional specifications to be developed jointly combine diverging standardization activities and will create synergies leading to a significant added value for users. Diverging and with each other competitive developments and corresponding multiple efforts will become obsolete. Cost and time for the progress in integration will be reduced.

This cooperation has been initiated in the AIM Working Group for Systems Integration and was presented to the AIM members at the AIM Spring Forum on 27 March 2014 in Karlsruhe, Germany. The joint work will be continued in that working group.

Experts interested in more detailed information are invited to attend the upcoming event, which features a discounted fee for AIM members. 

OPC Day Europa - IT meets Automation
May 14-15, 2014
Esslingen, Germany

For more information, contact either:

Wolf-Rüdiger Hansen
AIM Germany  

Stefan Hoppe
President OPC Europe, c/o Beckoff Automation GmbH 


AIM-D e.V. (AIM Germany), Lampertheim, Germany, is the leading industry association for automatic identification, data capture and mobile systems. It promotes the usage and the standardization of auto-ID technologies, comprising RFID, NFC, barcodes, two-dimensional codes, sensors and RTLS (Real-Time Locating Systems) and representing more than 130 members in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Members are enterprises of all sizes which offer technologies, systems and services and include university departments, research groups and other associations. 


AIM Europe was chartered in 2013 to secure a single entity representing the greatest network of AIDC experts across the region, establish a system for industry growth in new and emerging areas, have strategies in place to respond to new technology and market developments, and create the best access to funding for international and national development projects related to AIDC technology, innovations, standards, and applications. 

AIM Europe will serve as the single voice for the region developing deep relationships with the European Commission and other regional & national bodies.  In addition, it will serve as the local organization for European companies that do not have an AIM chapter in their country.  This structure will allow for collaborative involvement in critical AIDC opportunities throughout the European region in a variety of areas including healthcare, tracking and tracing, maintenance, safety & security, cloud computing, Internet of  Things and smart networks.  AIM Europe will coordinate efforts to provide a stronger, better connected, and funded entity for continued growth and expansion.

OPC Foundation, Scottsdale, AZ, USA, is the world's leading community for interoperability solutions based on OPC communication specifications that deliver universal connectivity. OPC is the interoperability standard for secure, reliable and platform-independent information exchange. It provides open connectivity by defining an interface between clients and servers, as well as servers and servers, for different fields of applications. OPC technology is widely used for information integration in industrial automation and related domains, facilitating data transfer from the lowest operational levels to enterprise-aware applications. As the official source for the OPC Certification Program, the nonprofit OPC Foundation helps ensure that OPC products plug-and-play in real-world application. With more than 450 member companies, the OPC Foundation promotes education, awareness and adoption of the OPC specifications through global collaborations.



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