How is OPC (OLE for Process Control) Transforming Industrial Automation Connectivity?

How is OPC (OLE for Process Control) Transforming Industrial Automation Connectivity?

What is OPC?

OPC (OLE for Process Control) has emerged as a critical technology for releasing the potential of industrial automation by enabling smooth connection between Windows programs and industrial hardware devices. In this blog article, we’ll delve into the complexities of OPC, investigating its purpose, applications, and importance in the domain of industrial networking.

What is OPC and How Does It Work?

OPC, or OLE for Process Control, is a standardized software interface that allows Windows programs to communicate with industrial devices.

The OPC server transforms hardware communication methods into the OPC protocol, while the OPC client retrieves data or sends orders to the hardware.

Why is OPC Valuable in Industrial Automation?

  • OPC is an open standard that reduces costs for manufacturers while providing users with an extensive range of choices.
  • Manufacturers simply need to create one OPC server for their devices in order for them to be compatible with any OPC client.
  • Software providers can add OPC client capabilities, providing compatibility with thousands of hardware devices.

Where is OPC Server Used in Industrial Settings?

  • In industrial automation, OPC servers are used to communicate data between multi-vendor devices and control applications.
  • They act as the data provider (server) for one application, while another acts as the client that receives the data.

What are the Different OPC Connection Scenarios?

  • OPC aggregation is the process of linking an OPC client to numerous OPC servers.
  • OPC tunneling is a method of connecting an OPC client to an OPC server over a network.
  • OPC bridging connects one OPC server to another, allowing data interchange.

How Does the OPC DataHub Enhance Connectivity?

  • The OPC DataHub serves as both an OPC server and a client, allowing numerous connections at the same time.
  • It enables OPC aggregation, bridging, and tunneling, increasing flexibility in industrial communication.

What Standards Comprise OPC?

  • OPC includes several standards, the most important of which being OPC Data Access (OPC DA).
  • Alarms and events, historical data, batch data, and XML are all additional standards.

Why Does OPC Rely on DCOM and OPC Tunnelling?

  • Although it was not originally developed for real-time industrial applications, OPC relies on Distributed COM (DCOM) for network connection.
  • For more efficient and secure OPC communication over networks, OPC tunneling is frequently preferred.


Finally, OPC is an essential component in industrial automation, supporting open communication and interoperability. Its role as a client/server technology facilitates effective data interchange between various devices and control applications, hence advancing smart and connected industrial systems. Understanding OPC is critical for professionals navigating the ever-changing landscape of industrial instrumentation and control.