Movicon.NExT 3.3 and the OPC UA Nano Server technology

Progea has added Nano Server support to the cutting edge OPC UA technology of the Movicon.NExT 3.3 version release. Nano Servers are just beginning to make their stand on the market and even though designed for small devices with very low CPU power, they are fully OPC UA compliant. This means they can be integrated with the OPC UA communication stack in small industrial devices such as sensors or microcontrollers. These devices, given their Nano Server nature, have some limitations as regards to the OPC UA specifications. Therefore, Clients intending to connect must be able to support these limitations correctly. Besides this, the OPC UA Nano Servers offer the great advantage of being IEC 62541 international communication standardized. In addition to the valued-added industrial communication standard conformity, the OPC UA Nano Servers offer many other connectivity advantages. One of which is the Discovery Service, which simplifies connections by allowing Clients to explore information by browsing specific data for both Servers and Items. Furthermore, it also offers the many advantages of using the OPC technology such as security, robustness, standards and performances.
Today, the OPC UA Nano Servers can be found in small devices such as microcontrollers, thermoregulators, smart sensors, IIoT interfaces and any other industrial device of this kind. As from the 3.3 version, Movicon.NExT will automatically adapts its OPC UA functionality when a Client needs to connect to a Nano Server. As no additional operations are required, the design engineer’s job becomes easier and the OPC UA connectivity range of action is expanded even further, an Information Model of which is intrinsic to the Automation Platform.NExT platform.
What limitations do the Nano Servers have in respect to the normal OPC UA technology? Primarily, the Nano Servers communicate using the ‘On Demand’ approach, meaning that they use the traditional Client Polling toward the Server technique. Therefore, they are unable to handle event-driven notifications. Even though they only support a limited number of subscriptions and connections, they do retain the great advantage of the OPC UA technology that is indispensable for any Industry 4.0 architecture.
Progea successfully tested the OPC UA communications with the Hilscher Nano Servers (NetIoT) during last September’s OPC Interoperability Workshop in Nuremberg, Germany.