OPC & Linux

I’d like to find a solution that would allow me to eliminate Windows from my controls systems … however, until the Ignition drivers list beefs up I have to resort to the various OPC offerings from equipment manufacturers and third parties for communications to a number of devices … all which are typically tied to Windows.

So, my question … what types of solutions can I offer that are penguin-powered and can communicate to a wide array of devices? How have you brought Linux into your controls systems? What are the limitations? the benefits? etc …

I haven’t had an issue yet. AB controllers can be talked to via Ethernet/IP, almost everything supports modbus, and Beckhoff controllers have their own UA server, Im all good to go.

Is this the OPC UA server you’re referring to? Can it run on Linux? I only saw mention of various Windows operating systems …

If possible, could you provide a bit of detail on one of the architectures you’ve worked on? I understand if I’m asking a bit much, I’m just trying to gather information and in-the-field feedback with hopes to improve my own offerings …

Thanks for responding!

Beckhoff TwinCAT standards for The Windows control automation technology, so Linux is a no-go.

An open source driver to connect to EMC2 and the real time ladder logic system.

As mentioned, MODBUS is widely supported. Your only other option is to develop the drivers yourself if you have access to the protocol documentation and are handy writing software.

If you are using a Beckhoff PLC, Beckhoff has an OPC-UA server that is installed directly on the Beckhoff PLC running Windows CE/XP/7 (Windows is running on the PLC itself). You can have an Ignition HMI on Linux and access the Beckhoff OPC-UA server on the Beckhoff PLC.

Note that not all Beckhoff PLCs can support their OPC-UA server (the really simple / smaller memory ones are a no go). It however looks like it may be possible to use the OPC-UA server on one Beckhoff PLC to access the data on another Beckhoff PLC that isn’t capable of running the OPC-UA server on itself.

Without OPC-UA there is always Modbus TCP. You’re not likely to be thrilled with this option if you have a lot of tags, UDTs, etc. It can be done but it feels like you’re twisting someone’s arm–or getting yours twisted :/