SAC Goes Industry 4.0 – The Future Begins Now

The catchword “Industry 4.0” describes the intelligent and fully digitally interconnected factory of the future. To reach this goal, all machines, control systems, and other components of the production process must “speak the same language”. This can only be achieved with standardized communication interfaces that are independent of platforms and manufacturers.

Therefore, the OPC Vision Initiative was established under the leadership of VDMA. Its goal is to create companion specifications for the machine-to-machine communication protocol “OCP Unified Architecture” (OPC UA) to make homogeneous communication between heterogeneous platforms in machine vision possible. As a member of the core working group of the OPC Vision Initiative, SAC actively contributes to the development of these new, future-proof standards.

In June 2018, the OPC Vision Initiative eventually presented its first milestone on the way to the interconnected production of the future at automatica trade fair in Munich: the OPC UA Companion Specification for Machine Vision (in short OPC UA Vision).

The OPC UA Vision provides a generic model for all machine vision systems – from simple vision sensors to complex inspection systems. Simply put, it defines the essence of a machine vision system. Part 1, now published as release candidate version, describes the infrastructure layer, which is an abstraction of the generic machine vision system. It allows the control of a machine vision system in a generalized way, abstracting the necessary behavior via a state machine concept. It handles the management of recipes, configurations, and results in a standardized way while the contents stay vendor-specific and are treated as black boxes.

At the same time, the robotics working group of the VDMA presented the OPC UA Companion Specification for Robotics (in short OPC UA Robotics). The OPC UA Robotics provides a standardized information model which is capable of presenting all robot-related data regardless of manufacturer or location in a uniform manner. Part 1, now released as draft version, permits asset management, condition monitoring, preventive maintenance, and vertical integration – at any time, anywhere in the world, and independent of the robot brand or type. It provides the ideal basis for data analytics and for boosting overall equipment effectiveness.

The OPC UA Vision Companion Specification is now available free of charge as VDMA Specification number 40100 (as release candidate version). The OPC UA Robotics companion specification is now available free of charge as VDMA Specification number 40010 (as draft version). Both specifications can be requested at

SAC is going to continue shaping the future of machine vision, and we will keep you posted about further developments.

OPC UA Vision

(This text contains passages from the press release of VDMA from June 19, 2018)