Software standard out soon

Pick-and-mix time for manufacturers developing process engineering systems

A new software standard which will allow manufacturers to cherry pick when building process plant and opens up plant floor data to business management applications, should be available commercially in a few months.

User friendly commercial versions of OLE for Process Control (OPC) – the process industry software standard which lets Windows-based process control systems talk to hardware devices on the shopfloor – should be available by early summer.

OPC extends Microsoft’s Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) software to the process industry.

The standard would allow process engineers to choose software and hardware components when creating manufacturing systems. It helps open plant-floor data to business management applications throughout a company.

So far, only OPC Release 1.0 – issued in November – has been available. It is aimed mainly at technology development departments. A revised version, 1.01, due this month, will be followed by Release 2.0 this summer.

Adrian Wise, managing director of USData Europe, said Release 1.01 would look at `how you interface low-level data access’.

Revision 2.0 will include support for Microsoft Visual Basic 5.0, the language used in PC networks to develop `scripts’ for automatic execution of repetitive tasks.

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