How OPC UA is revolutionizing Industry Automation

How OPC UA is revolutionizing Industry Automation

Think about a production plant or a manufacturing unit, it is a visual cacophony of machines, robots, assembly lines, drives and many more parts, and yet completely (almost!) synchronized and working together. Bringing all of them together is the Industrial Internet of Things coupled with the open, Ethernet-based OPC UA communication standard that forms an critical part of the industrial automation landscape.
OPC UA does the job of integrating the IT/OT technologies with the diverse products, solutions and services across the entire OEMs, factory and process systems. Whether it is the security measures, networking, establishing standardized communication or needing a vendor and platform neutrality, OPC UA lays the foundation for a digitized industrial automation.

Connecting machine data to the enterprise

It is a fact that automation in the industrial world open doors for new business opportunities, enhanced solutions and services. But, the reality faced is how to effectively transfer the raw data generated from the shop floor equipment to the business applications like ERPs, CRMs; and draw insights to take actionable decisions for a competitive advantage.
Having a fully automated OEM unit or process system means having real-time and accurate information from these systems for analysis, machine alerts, maintenance notifications etc. based on your priorities. OPC UA provides two paths for this integration process:
1. Via customized development solutions and services through OPC UA stack APIs
2. Providing COTS solutions such as connectors, servers, clients etc. that connect your machines, field devices and other equipment etc. to the enterprise

Source:, OPC UA Interoperability for Industry 4.0 and IoT

OPC UA is the open source communication standard protocol designed specifically for industrial automation. It acts as a bridge that connects the IT with the OT, for information exchange between machines, devices or within devices. Implementation of this magnitude needs extensive software and hardware support through the OPC SDK that helps the stakeholders to overcome the various development and integration challenges associated with this process.
Consisting of APIs, OPC UA stack, protocols and sample implementations that support different platforms like Windows, Android, iOS, Linux, and programming languages like C, C# and Java; the SDK makes your devices, products and applications to be OPC enabled.

Meeting the Industry 4.0 requirements

Industry 4.0 mandates interoperability and standardized data connectivity for meeting its specific requirements including but not limited to

  •  Integration across all levels
  •  Secure transfer and authentication at user and application levels
  • Conformity to industry standards
  • Scalability
  • Semantic mapping of various information models to represent the actual products and their production steps
  • Ability to plug-and-produce (instant discovery mechanisms that identifies OPC UA enabled devices and their functions when added to a network)

OPC UA serves as the common data connectivity and collaboration standard for local and remote device access in IoT, M2M, and Industry 4.0 settings. It supports OPC UA Server development, OPC UA Client Development and OPC UA Nano Server development for various communication mechanisms:

  1. OPC UA client/server Model: This one-to-one communication mechanism is used extensively in automation. The OPC server transfers the data to the OPC client based upon request in a secure, encrypted and reliable manner using the communication protocols such as EtherNet/IP, Modbus, etc.
  2. OPC UA PubSub Model: In the network, one-to-many or many-to-one communication mechanism is established. The data is available from the publisher, which can be accessed by multiple subscribers. Along with Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN) and cloud environment, OPC UA PubSub enables real-time communication at the control level (sensor, actuator or embedded devices) and meets the demands of time-critical applications.
  3. OPC UA over TSN: While OPC UA provides a standardized mechanism for data communication in a secure way; TSN is the infrastructure of vast array of sensors, actuators and other automation devices that extends the OPC UA information model down to the field level. TSN provides interoperability to the data link (layer 2) of the communication network. Thus, allowing guaranteed, optimized and scalable bandwidths for real-time capability and low latency in the network.

Utthunga’s OPC Spectrum

Utthunga’s comprehensive integrated automation service portfolio extends from the field-level devices to the enterprise-level systems. Enabling in this endeavour is Utthunga’s uOPC Suite, OPC product portfolio; and consultation and development services that help manufacturers to take advantage of all the modern technologies like AI, mobile devices, big data, machine learning, predictive maintenance, machine vision and more to create a smart industry automation environment.

As a flexible partner for OPC UA, our OPC offerings designed by experienced and certified professionals provide both horizontal (between devices from different vendors on different networks) and vertical support (from the factory floor to the enterprise level) thus enabling the industry 4.0 ecosystem.

Our technical and domain expertise in embedded, mobile, multi-platform and cloud connectivity for OPC UA Server development, OPC UA Client Development and OPC UA Nano Server development using the uOPC Suite helps in planning, executing, and delivering high-grade services and turnkey projects. It is designed to drastically reduce time and efforts to build custom solutions with easy integration and configuration.

Partners, end users, and customers can leverage our IP to deliver mix of solutions and services for:

  • Building products using out accelerators (protocol stacks, edge connectivity stack – uCOnnect, cloud application framework- Javelin)
  • Connecting heterogeneous system using our industry protocols stacks (HART, FF, PROFIBUS, PROFINET, EtherNet/IP etc.)
  • Creating field device integration and connectivity (FDT/DTM, FDI, OPC) solutions

Please visit our website or contact us directly to learn more about our OPC UA capabilities.

Role of Product Engineering Services in Modern Technology Space

Role of Product Engineering Services in Modern Technology Space

What is Product Engineering?

The term product engineering refers to the development of a product from concept to manufacturing and release of the product to the market. With product engineering, all the services, right from the innovation phase to the product deployment and testing phase, come under one umbrella. Product engineering takes care of the entire product life cycle including innovation, design, development of the mechanical/electronic/software components, as well as the testing and deployment of the product. Product engineering service or PES is an engineering consulting activity that is offered by product engineering companies. This service makes use of hardware, embedded, software and IT services for the design, development, deployment and maintenance of products.

Various Phases of Product Engineering

There are seven key phases in the field of product engineering from the inception to the end of the product lifecycle. Let’s take a look at the importance of these different phases.
  1. Product Ideation: This is the first phase where an idea for a product is conceived. The product specifications and requirements are also documented in this stage. Further analysis is done to scrutinize the viability of the idea and to understand if it is worth pursuing.
  2. Product Architecture: In this phase, the physical components and functional elements required for the products is decided. This is a key phase as the functions of the product’s basic physical building blocks and how their interfaces relate to the rest of the device are determined.
  3. Product Design: Once the concept and architecture are finalized, the work to bring the concepts to life begins with product engineering designs. A lot of work goes including major iterations and improvements are made in this phase before the final design is approved.
  4. Product Development: The next phase includes product development and assembly. A great deal of attention is paid during this phase to manage and optimize costs.
  5. Product Testing: This phase ensures that the developed product is fault-free. Stringent quality check is conducted to scrutinize and validate the quality of the developed product. In case of an error or fault, rectifications or modifications are made to ensure the quality before the product release.
  6. Product Release: Once development and testing are completed, the product is released in the market. Post-release, user reviews and feedback are analyzed to improve the quality/performance of the product. Feedback has to be collected from users to further improve the product in the following versions.
  7. Product Sustenance/Re-engineering: This is a crucial phase that helps to keep the product relevant in the market. This phase includes periodic product updates, enhancements and maintenance. A key feature that ensures the continued success of the product is a good customer support system that can address their grievances and promptly rectify any issues they face. This type of maintenance and support can be provided until the end of the product lifecycle or product replacement. Some companies choose to re-engineer or evolve their products so that they can meet the expectations of the customer as per changing times.

Need for Product Engineering in Today’s Technology Space

In today’s volatile, modern technology landscape, product companies not only have to create high-quality reliable products at a fast pace but also have to efficiently manage operational risks and cost. They consistently face the pressure to innovate and maintain their product portfolio, optimize their manufacturing process, and meet/exceed customer expectations. Many of the world’s largest companies have become beacons of success thanks to path-breaking products that were envisioned and created through years of trials and experimentation. Today fast-paced innovation is the key to survival, and companies choose Product engineering service providers for the development and launch of products at the perfect time. PES providers offer end-to-end services that help product companies to accelerate the pace of innovation, manage customer needs and navigate through unpredictable market conditions with ease. Experience Design, Web & Mobile Development, Clouds & DevOps, Big Data, and Infrastructure Managed services are the corner stoners of product engineering. The right PES partner can provide you with a professional and motivated team, who can transform your ideas into reality, leverage the latest technological solutions to build profitable products at low cost, and help sustain your core business objectives.

How does Product Engineering Services Help Businesses?

PES services help meet the demand of product companies in the following ways.
  • Implementation of the latest features and functionalities
  • Superior quality products at a rapid turnaround time
  • Cost benefits for product manufacturers
  • Quick launching of products in the market

How can Utthunga’s Product Engineering Services Help your Business?

At Utthunga we strive to meet the increased demand for outsourced product engineering services. We aim to help our customers focus more on their core business objectives and to help them benefit from low-cost technological services. Our highly qualified team of product engineers love to build impactful and lasting products and solutions. We offer the following services under our product engineering umbrella:
  • Embedded engineering (product design and development services, hardware engineering, firmware engineering, verification and validation)
  • Digital engineering (cloud, mobility, IIoT, analytics)
  • Software engineering
  • Quality Engineering (application testing, device testing, protocol testing, test automation, testing as a service (Taas), and DevOps)
  • Data Connectivity and Integration (OPC, industry protocols, field device integration)

The key features of our Product Engineering Services & Solutions include:

  • Device/Asset Management applications
  • Data Connectivity, Integration & OPC Solutions
  • Digital Engineering, Digital Customer Experience Solutions
  • Cloud, Edge Computing, Device & Data Analytics
  • IT / OT integration
  • Device, Controller, IO, Host Development

We have built several accelerators/frameworks that significantly reduce product development time while also ensuring minimum post-release issues:

  • DPI framework – Device Programming Interface
  • Protocol stacks
  • uOPC suite
  • IIoT accelerators – Javelin & uConnect
  • Simulation framework
  • Application Test Automation Framework
To know more about Utthunga’s innovation-led approach for various industry verticals, and our various offerings in the field of product engineering visit :
Top 10 Advantages of Industrial Automation

Top 10 Advantages of Industrial Automation

What is Industrial Automation?

Automation helps save a lot of time and effort and at the same time, it helps get a job done more accurately. Industrial automation involves the use of control systems, computers and robots to handle and perform certain operations. A survey by Fortune Business Insights reported that the global industrial automation market will reach 296.70 billion dollars by 2026. In this blog, let’s explore the top 10 advantages of industrial automation. In this blog, by Industrial Automation, we are referring more to the advancements of this century, i.e. after the time computers and electronics started to play a key role in the industrial sector.

Industrial Automation in Manufacturing

Automation is greatly transforming the manufacturing industry. This revolution is bringing cyber-physical systems into existence. Many manufacturing units are already employing robots and using digital technology to automate processes. A few examples of automation in manufacturing are:

  • Automation of food and beverage packing to reduce chances of human contamination
  • Numerical control in the machine tool industry
  • Use of thermal sensors to monitor high activity areas on the floor
  • Automatic sorting in the production line
  • 3D printing

Top 10 Advantages of Industrial Automation

  1. Reduces Cost

One of the top advantages of automation is reduction in manufacturing costs. Instead of having a floor full of workers, you can now have a few supervisors and have robots do the job. The initial investment will be a little high, but then the operation costs will reduce, which will be beneficial in the long run. Your expenses will only include maintenance, repairs, and energy. AI and data analytics have also helped reduce production costs by providing insights and information to make the right production decisions. Automation helps improve productivity, quality and system performance, which in turn reduces your operating expenses (OpEx). At the same time, automated preventive maintenance can improve the life and performance of the machines. It enhances the value of your assets and in turn decreases your capital expenses (CapEx).

  1. Increases Productivity

Automated productivity lines consist of workstations connected by transfer lines. Each work station takes care of one part of the product process. Robotic process automation can be used to mimic many human actions. The system can be configured to login to applications and take care of the administrative work related to the business process. Robots can also be used on the production floor to handle raw materials, clean equipment, operate high-pressure systems, and do lots more. For example, in an automobile manufacturing unit, auto components are cut and shaped in different press working stations. All the parts are then brought together to one place where a robot puts them together to build the vehicle. Process automation greatly speeds up the production process.

  1. Enhances Quality

Industrial automation also helps increase and maintain consistent quality of the output. In manual processes, the error rate can vary considerably. On the other hand, automated machines in the manufacturing industry have an error rate that is as low as 0.00001%. Adaptive control and monitoring help check every level of the manufacturing process to reduce the margin of errors.

  1. Industrial Safety

A huge benefit of automation is improved safety at the workplace. Using robots for loading and unloading materials or transferring huge machine parts reduce risks of accidents. Safety curtains keep workers from going too close to the assembly lines or fast moving components, thereby improving safety. Thermal sensors continually check the temperatures in the production area. In case, they identify any spike in temperature, the sensors will send an alert. Immediately, precautions can be taken to ensure the safety of everyone on the production floor.

  1. Accurate Results

Data automation is based on accurate data integration and connectivity. When accurate information is used in the production process, you can be assured of precise results. AI and ML solutions help you get detailed data that can be analyzed using data analytics tools to get accurate information.

 Deep learning algorithms are used to build self-healing digital grids that use data analytics and intelligent energy forecasts to manage energy generation. Machine Learning apps have been used to build a self-learning quality control system for assembly line. ML and AI solutions are scalable and self-learning. Both these features ensure that the automated systems deliver accurate results every time, without fail.

  1. Better Working Conditions and Value-Addition

One of the prime benefits of industrial automation is that it ensures consistent production and results. Computers, robots, and automated machines work at a steady pace. It allows you to have a better grip on the production rate. Automation not only delivers consistent production, but also consistent quality. In a flexible manufacturing system, the tools, processing machines, and material-handling robots are connected and controlled by a central computer system. Once the entire process is computed, the production goes on continuously without any drop in the pace or the results.

Flexible automation process lets you design or reconfigure a machine to suit a different product measurement or new product. In traditional production processes, it may take days or weeks to train employees. Another problem is that it can be difficult for workers to get used to the new process, which could cause production delays or quality issues. On the other hand, reprogramming a machine or a robot is easier and takes up less time. Plus, after a few trials, you will be ready to go into full production.

Automation frees up employees from working on tedious and repetitive tasks. This means that they can focus on other areas where they can do a value add. They can help with research and process development. Also, workers can effectively use robotic tools and machines to deliver faster and quicker results. Employees also experience the feel-good factor of doing positive and progressive work. 

Industrial automation also helps improve working conditions. As the automated machines are able to step up the production, workers need not work long shifts or overtimes. Work hours are reduced, leading to an improved quality of life. In the United States, industries that adopted automation solutions were able to set a standard work time of 40 hours per week.

  1. Industrial Communication

Without industrial communication, industrial automation can be near impossible. The communication system helps monitor and operate entire production lines, manage power distribution, and control machines. Some of the popular protocols for industrial communication are Foundation Fieldbus, PROFIBUS, EtherCAT, EtherNET/IP, and CANopen. Industrial communication allows for faster data analysis and real-time decision making. 

  1. Monitoring & Predictive Maintenance

A huge benefit of industrial automation is that it helps in monitoring and predictive maintenance. Production lines and production floor can be continuously monitored using sensors. These sensors track temperature, acoustics, time, frequency, oil pressure and other parameters related to the production process. If the sensors detect any change in these parameters, they will immediately send an alert. When the alert is received, the technicians can immediately identify the cause for the change. If it is noted that the changes in parameters may cause equipment problems or issues in the production process, then immediate service or repairs can be done. Automation can therefore help identify possible issues before they blow up into huge problems that can result in production downtime.

  1. Equipment Monitoring

An automated equipment monitoring system helps observe the working condition of all the equipment in the manufacturing unit. Sensors, cameras, and network can be used to observe the equipment from afar. The monitoring system also helps diagnose any issues in the equipment and do the necessary repairs and services. This automated solution can be effectively used in petrochemical plants, manufacturing units, and other industries where large and complex machines are used. The automated system enhances safety, reduces the number of operators on the floor, and improves machine performance and lifespan.

  1. Production Traceability

Automating the entire production process can greatly help in production tracing. Traceability is not only important in the food and beverage industry, but also in other industries. Tracing helps increase the quality and value of your product and facilitates mapping. Also, traceability makes root cause analysis more effective and aids continuous development. Automation helps trace the entire lifecycle of a product from the raw material to the location where the final product is shipped. You will also have a clear record of when and who did the product inspections, the assembly status, the condition of the machine when the product was processed.

How can Utthunga help in Industrial Automation?

With more than 13 years of industry experience, Utthunga is a leader in industrial automation. Our team includes experts in the latest digital technologies and industry professionals to provide digital transformation solutions customized to your business process and business goals. A few of our industrial automation solutions include:

  • Deploying sensors, PLCs, controllers, etc. for automation
  • Using embedded engineering to create smart devices (non-digital to digital)
  • Offering data integration solutions that integrate plant floor assets to each other and other systems
  • Building applications (desktop, mobile) for commissioning, calibration, local diagnostics and configuration
  • Building bespoke application to enable integration of OT data to SCADA, MES, Enterprise systems
  • Creating analytics solutions

Contact us to know more about our industrial automation solutions.

Application of Embedded Systems in Industrial Automation

Application of Embedded Systems in Industrial Automation

From HVAC units to complex industrial automation applications, embedded systems are ubiquitous; acting as a programmable operating system that specialize in tasks such as monitoring or controlling of the systems. They are designed to maximize performance, improve power efficiency and control processes while operating in demanding environments. Historically, prior to the application of embedded systems for industrial machines, manual intervention by the operators was required to monitor and control the machines. The status quo posed issues such as vendor specific components, network infrastructure incompatibility, costly and time-consuming integration with existing monitoring and control systems, which did not offer flexibility to support a big industrial setup. The subsequently introduced and widely adopted PLC and SCADA based systems operated by processing the machine/device/plant data locally. Operators used to record the daily production using production line counters, generate paper-based reports or manually enter machine data on computers. The end-result of these human errors was data discrepancy leading to production loss, increased manufacturing time, effort and costs. The two primary uses cases of embedded systems are improved machine monitoring and machine control.

Machine monitoring:

Industrial automation systems leverage embedded software development capabilities to monitor the system’s condition in real-time through controlled monitoring of variables like power, flow rate, vibration, pressure, temperature, and more. The monitoring devices such as sensors and probes communicate with each other and/or the client-server systems located in the internet or cloud via the industry communication protocols such as MTConnect, HART, EtherNet/IP etc. Aggregated data from the disparate data sources is then stored in the cloud or a centralised database for real-time analysis to provide actionable insights through dashboards, reports and notifications. It is a proactive approach to maintaining plant uptime/reliability; reduce production losses and maintenance costs. Industrial embedded systems can perform machine monitoring to help improve productivity, optimize equipment capabilities and measure performance.

Machine control:

Using embedded system engineering services in various industrial equipment to perform specific range of tasks such as controlling assembly line speeds, fluid flow rates in a CNC machine, controlling robotic machinery etc. changed the industrial automation landscape. Communicating at the I/O level via PLCs, these systems easily integrate with the existing machine controls, leveraging automation software along with proprietary NC and CNC functionality. Industrial OEMs and manufacturing plants, can hence benefit from reduced maintenance costs, achieve a centralised and unified control architecture and optimize their performance capabilities and overall product quality.

Leverage Utthunga’s embedded systems capabilities

Industrial OEMs and plant owners vision of Industry 4.0 and IIoT is total and complete automation of the industrial network through intelligent machines and digital systems. The new communication and information techniques mandate:
  1. Localization and networking of all systems using energy-efficient systems that transfer only the required information
  2.  Strong security measures for secure data transfer Our embedded engineering services including but not limited to system/product design and wireless SoC based product development (firmware/stack/hardware), IoT allows us to provide complete end-to-end solutions for the OEMs, process and factory-manufacturing units to address the above-mentioned embedded engineering problems. Faced with the wide range of embedded system applications, multiple opportunities and challenges, they can realize both economic and performance breakthroughs by opting for Utthunga’s team of highly skilled and embedded professionals certified in product design, firmware architecture, hardware architecture, verification & validation, certifications and a strong partner for PCB fabrication and prototyping. One of the key enablers for smart manufacturing is the embedded OPC-UA technology that has enabled industrial devices to communicate in a standard, scalable and secure format. Utthunga’s embedded software development services proficiency can help them to achieve platform independence and interoperability to overcome the increased client/server complexity. Our embedded solutions leverage machine learning, AI, and data analytics to help monitor and control the HMIs, vision, PLCs, and motion solutions while offering recommendations for better performance, greater embedded system logic, control, and scalability.
Our embedded stack development services leverages our competencies in embedded technologies to keep pace with the rapidly evolving machine monitoring and machine control requirements and provide embedded industrial automation solutions related to:
  1. Product Design and Development:
    • End to end product development
    • Firmware, hardware application development
    • Electro mechanical product development
  2. Process Automation:
    • Metering application
    • Loop powered design and development
    • IS certification engineering service
    • Sensor integration and sensor application development
  3. Factory Automation:
    • Condition monitoring
    • IoT gateway
    • Edge computing
    • Enable legacy machines for IoT
    • Industrial protocol simulator
    • Wireless application development
  4. Oil and Gas Services:
    • Industrial I/O module development
    • Sensor module development
    • Level transmitter design and development
Please visit our website or contact us directly to learn more about our embedded software development services and systems expertise.