GE Implements and Releases New OPC UA Standard with Launch of Global Discovery Server

By Craig Resnick

Company and Product News

GE announced that it has implemented and released a new Global Discovery Server based on the new Part 12 of the OPC UA standards.  The Proficy Global Discover Server (GDS) automatically discovers OPC UA devices on the network and connects to them without configuration.

GE has standardized on OPC UA as an interoperability standard across several GE businesses. By standardizing on OPC UA and launching the Global Discovery Server, the company is helping to further enable the Industrial Internet with improved ease of connectivity across devices and equipment, additional secure-by-design methodologies, and richer context for data, providing a foundation for cloud-based systems and asset performance management.

The Global Discovery Server helps automate the manual and complex processes associated with connectivity and certificate management. The technology supports both the push and pull of certificates.

GE has also released a new version of the company's CIMPLICITY HMI/SCADA product specifically as an OPC UA Client, designed for more complex operations that require faster HMI/SCADA functionality.  As an OPC UA-enabled HMI/SCADA, CIMPLICITY can aggregate data from other OPC UA devices, add context to that data for analysis, and provide that contextual data to other OPC UA servers at other system layers within an enterprise. Security is enhanced through the use of secure-by-design OPC UA. Reliability is enhanced as OPC UA is designed to work on lower bandwidth connections and devices, such as radio modems.  Future releases of CIMPLICITY will deliver additional OPC UA client and server capabilities.

OPC UA provides a standard for GE devices and equipment, and the company now has multiple OPC UA enabled devices.  The PACSystems RX3i and RXi and MarkVIe are OPC UA-enabled controllers. Other GE products adopting the standard include ADAPT3701, GE Oil & Gas' System 1 condition monitoring software, 8 Series for primary or backup protection for underground and overhead medium voltage feeders, and 3 Series multifunctional feeder relays.

GE's OPC UA-enabled software is also designed to help aggregate data from a company's multitude of OS platforms, legacy systems and equipment to help islands of information connect to each other. For devices that are unaware of OPC UA, the GE server can manage certificates and trust lists for those devices, using Proficy Agent, which acts on their behalf.

Craig Resnick, ARC Advisory Group, commented, "With hundreds of thousands of nodes needing to migrate from OPC DA to OPC UA, users are looking for tools to leverage its enterprise connectivity and security in as close to a plug and play fashion as possible. It appears that GE Intelligent Platforms Software has created a solution that accomplishes these objectives and should rapidly accelerate the movement towards OPC UA."

Keywords: Cloud-Based Systems, Asset Performance Management, OPC UA-Enabled, Industrial Internet, ARC Advisory Group.

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