The OPC Foundation is dedicated to ensuring interoperability in automation by creating and maintaining open specifications that standardize the communication of acquired process data, alarm and event records, historical data, and batch data to multi-vendor enterprise systems and between production devices. Production devices include sensors, instruments, PLCs, RTUs, DCSs, HMIs, historians, trending subsystems, alarm subsystems, and more as used in the process industry, manufacturing, and in acquiring and transporting oil, gas, and minerals.
The Foundation has over 300 members from around the world, including nearly all of the world's major providers of control systems, instrumentation, and process control systems. The OPC Foundation's forerunner - a task force composed of Fisher-Rosemount, Rockwell Software, Opto 22, Intellution, and Intuitive Technology - was able to develop a basic, workable, OPC specification after only a single year's work. A simplified, stage-one solution was released in August 1996.
The OPC Foundation has been able to work more quickly than many other standards groups because OPC Foundation is building on existing, computer industry standards. Other groups which have had to define standards "from the ground up" have had a more difficult time reaching consensus as a result of the scope of their work.
Microsoft is a member of the OPC Foundation and has given strong backing to the organization. Microsoft acts as a technology advisor and provides previews of coming technology changes. The member companies with direct industry experience guide the organization's work.
The vision of OPC is to be the foundation for interoperability for moving information vertically from the factory floor through the enterprise of multi-vendor systems as well as providing interoperability between devices on different industrial networks from different vendors.
For more information, visit the OPC Foundation website.