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Manufacturers typically operate various systems in their facilities, from robots and injection molding to machine tools and packaging systems. It is therefore important that each machine display its identification and status uniformly. To help plant engineers further develop the required systems, the German Mechanical Engineering Association (VDMA) has published the OPC UA for Machinery.

The Machinery Specification provides basic building blocks for machine interfaces and is the first step towards complete harmonization of numerous related activities in the field of mechanical and plant engineering. The modules are customizable and each represents one or more use cases.

At the same time, the German Machine Tool Builders’ Association (VDW) published the OPC UA for Machine Tools, which initially maps standardized information for status monitoring, including operating status, machined workpieces and tools used as well as key performance indicators. It is the first specification that fully references the OPC UA for Machinery to map machine identification.

The VDMA and VDW have jointly tested the functionality of both standards in the umati (universal machine technology interface) demonstrator – a community for establishing and distributing OPC UA standards for real plug and play in mechanical and plant engineering.