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The Profibus International Competence Centre at Manchester Metropolitan University has teamed up with the OPC Training Institute to host four days of hands-on OPC workshops.

The workshops will take place on 27-30 September and cover OPC Level one OPC and DCOM Diagnostics and Level two OPC Security.

The Certified OPC Professional (COP) courses provide automation professionals with the right skills to properly utilise OPC technology to improve plant efficiency and control.

Each course offers practical hands-on experience students can apply immediately.

Graduates of the courses will know exactly how to set up (or troubleshoot) an OPC connection and make it secure the instant they enter the plant.

In the level one workshop, OPC and DCOM Diagnostics students learn about OPC and how to troubleshoot and repair DCOM problems.

The class covers the most common OPC specifications: OPC DA, OPC HDA, OPC A and E, OPC UA and OPC Xi.

Students also get to practice OPC concepts such as client/server architecture, tunnelling, bridging, and redundancy.

At level two, OPC Security students learn how to secure their OPC implementation by configuring their firewall, Data Execution Prevention, Windows Authentication, Access Control Lists (ACL), Windows Services, Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) implementation and how to continuously monitor the health of their real-time communication system.

This enables plants to comply with IT, industrial and federal regulations.

The workshops are strictly vendor neutral so students can focus on learning OPC and don’t have to bother with a sales presentation.

They use products from a variety of vendors to acquire well-rounded and unbiased knowledge about different problem-solving methods.

The courses present a structure in which students can easily organise their existing thoughts and experiences.

They will then be able to competently plan and execute automation projects that use OPC.

Each lesson provides theory and immediately follows with hands-on exercises to solidify the concepts.

Students will find out how to eliminate inconsistent application behaviour by troubleshooting OPC, DCOM and web services connectivity issues.

They are also taught OPC Best Practices to avoid common pitfalls and improve their technical skills to provide their company with a robust communication infrastructure that’s ready for operations, instrumentation, engineering and IT personnel.

Students will collaborate in pairs, with a laptop PC running Profinet applications and freely available analysing software, Wireshark.

In addition, each pair has a dedicated rack of Profinet devices.

All necessary software licenses are provided.

The software used is from various vendors to expose students to a variety of solutions and ensure a vendor-neutral message.

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