Just 4-5 years back, if you were using HMI iFix software of Intellution (now GE), and wanted to use their ABR driver to communicate with AB controller like SLC, PLC5 etc, it was MUST to use RSLinks software layer. Customer had no choice, except to pay more and buy RSLinks. It was due to Rockwell Automation. End users had no choice as they have to buy this type of interface software to maintain previous investment. Now, it is not easy for manufactures to force customers to buy additional software.
In past following was only way to go if you want to access real time data in iFix from AB controllers:
HMI iFX > Intellutionâ€™s/GEâ€™s ABR Driver > Rockwellâ€™s RSLinks Software> PLC/Controller.
Now it is very straight forward and no need to buy RS Links Software..
HMI iFX > GEâ€™s Industrial Gate Server (IGS) > PLC/Controller.
As customers know that OPC standard exist in todayâ€™s world, so they show concerns if manufactures do not offer OPC connectivity. Now customerâ€™s expectation force manufactures of automation products (PLCs, DCSs, and other control devices) to offer support for OPC drivers.
Due to current and emerging OPC specification, automation and controlâ€™s engineers life is better now, less communication problems. If noting works, this path always workâ€¦.
[Software + OPC Client] <> [OPC Server + Controller/Device].
Those who will adopt OPC standards on plant floor today, tomorrow thay can add better values as they will have choice of best buy in control market, best decision option and flexibility to add products from different manufactures in control systems, if they are not happy with existing one. Access to data from existing devices will not be issue.
Until next time,