As a leading provider in the field of communication and automation technology, Phoenix Contact has driven the networking of machines and systems, from the sensor to the controller up to the cloud, forward for many years now.

In order to obtain a uniform, cross-manufacturer communication standard, Phoenix Contact and other companies support the OPC Foundation in its efforts to harmonize and standardize OPC UA up to the field level. Phoenix Contact, as one of the most driving forces of this initiative, will be part of the OPC Foundation’s working groups and thus define a new standard for every device in OT – from sensors to actuators through to controllers.

OPC UA initiative
OPC UA initiative

Apart from cross-manufacturer harmonization of application profiles in the field, like I/O, Safety, or Motion, Phoenix Contact sees a great opportunity in the standardization of device models as well. The uniform configuration and diagnostics of devices in the network as well as standardized conformity tests will ensure high, manufacturer-independent compatibility of automation components in the future. In addition, the integration of the Time Sensitive Networking technology (TSN) into the OPC UA standard offers new, necessary possibilities for real-time-capable communication in the network. Time synchronization and data prioritization ensure that IT and OT communication won’t interfere or influence each other in the network. Taken together, this will enable the widespread connection of field devices to the cloud in the future, thereby permitting the consistent and universal connection of IT and OT.

With more than 30 years of experience, the automation specialist has been actively involved in different national and international standardization committees for several years now. Apart from the commitment to the OPC Foundation, Phoenix Contact and further industrial companies work on shaping the next generation of mobile communications “5G” within the 5G Alliance for Connected Industries and Automation (5G-ACIA). Furthermore, Phoenix Contact is involved in defining the new two-wire technologies called Single Pair Ethernet (SPE) and Advanced Physical Layer (APL) for the process industry. The topic of cyber security plays an important role in every area here.

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