Imagine a plant with an automated assembly line, which is directed by an MES (Manufacturing Execution System) and operated by line/cell controllers (PLCs). The joining system is controlled by a PLC.

The MES directs the joining process of individual joints via PLCs, but the handling of results.

  • is limited via traditional communication channels, like fieldbus networks.
  • relies on propriety data channels that require different implementations depending on the manufacturer.

This use case can be applicable for the following communication setup:

  • Joining system with OPC UA and fieldbus interfaces.
  • Joining system with only OPC UA.

OPC UA interface and optionally an existing fieldbus network.

  • The MES controls the flow of parts via
  • OPC UA
  • PLCs and their fieldbus interfaces (if available)
  • The MES/PLC sends the product/part identification (e.g. VIN), joining program and start signal via
  • OPC UA
  • Fieldbus
  • The joining system performs the joining operation.
  • The MES systems receive the (extensive) joining result via OPC UA, including the joint identification.

The result received by the MES contains the following:

  • the simple result one would expect from a fieldbus interface.
  • the extensive result, containing optionally individual step results and/or trace data representing the whole joining process.
  • the product/part identification, allowing the MES to relate a set of results to specific parts and/or the individual joint.

Furthermore, the result is delivered in a standardized way, which is shared by different manufacturers.