One key to working well together is effective communication. That not only applies to people but also machines. Currently, however, they don’t always speak the same language, which can hamper production processes. But Atlas Copco is working hard to change that.
We are dedicated to the seamless, optimal integration of compressed air systems into manufacturing plants. As an innovation leader in this field, we know that the use of OPC UA communication technology is essential to achieving this goal.
A milestone in compressor integration
Going back to the example of human communication, imagine a shop floor on which nobody speaks the same language or at least doesn’t speak it very well. A supervisor issues instructions that his team doesn’t understand. The result: At best confusion and inefficiency, at worst total chaos. Even one person who does not correctly relay these instructions would disrupt the entire process.
It’s exactly like that with machines. And to ensure that compressors are not the weak link in this chain of communication, we are now releasing the first range of OPC UA-enabled compressors. Essentially, this guarantees that these compressors understand the language that is spoken in a production environment and that nothing gets lost in translation.
The first model to “speak” the common language, is the newest GA 37+- 45+ range of oil-injected screw compressors. It will be followed soon by other oil-free and oil-injected compressors, as well as auxiliary equipment that will also be available with OPC UA technology (to better understand the specifics and the history of this technology and how it will help improve production process, please read this explainer).
A long commitment to OPC UA technology
Because we understand the importance of this type of machine-to-machine communication, we are a class A member of the OPC Foundation and committed to establishing one common language for all equipment in a factory.
Standardization, however, is only one benefit of OPC UA technology. In a world in which hackers get more sophisticated and more and more equipment is online, the security of sensitive machines also has to improve. The OPC UA technology does just that. It is encrypted and security is built into the design.
In addition, its plug and play installation makes the setup and harmonization with other equipment extremely easy.
Finally, the use of OPC UA technology will make it much easier to gather data from all of the different machines and optimize operations.
An important step toward industry 4.0
Atlas Copco is embarking on this journey together with our customers. We are keenly aware that the Internet of Things is rapidly changing manufacturing, which is why we are transitioning to Industry 4.0 in all aspects of our production facilities around the world. The implementation of key enabling technologies such as OPC UA is essential in this endeavor.
By the way, our OPC UA-enabled compressors can be combined with another one of our innovative products: The well-established SmartLink cloud platform, which offers insights, dashboards, and the possibility to let us take total responsibility of a compressed air system. Together, OPC UA and SmartLink offer the benefits of real-time on-site monitoring, as well as of smart insights and optimization opportunities from anywhere in the world.
The demands on air compressors are growing. Businesses investing in a compressed air system want it to be more energy-efficient, more reliable, smarter, quieter and smaller, at a low total cost of ownership. With its new GA 37+-45+ (30-45 kw/40-75 hp), Atlas Copco delivers all of the above and more.
OPC UA is an interoperability standard that allows different machines in a production environment to effortlessly communicate with each other. Thanks to a wide range of benefits, it has become the most popular machine “language” of its kind.