What is OPC
OPC is designed to bridge process control hardware and software applications. It is an open standard that permits a consistent method of accessing field data from plant floor devices. This method remains the same regardless of the type and source of data.
OPC servers provide a method for many different software packages to access data from a process control device, such as a PLC or DCS. Traditionally, any time a package needed access data from a device, a custom interface, or driver, had to be written. The purpose of OPC is to define a common interface that is written once and then reused by any business, SCADA, HMI, or custom software packages.
Once an OPC server is written for a particular device, it can be reused by any application that is able to act as an OPC client. OPC technology permits a standard for real-time information exchange between software applications and process hardware to be defined.
In addition to OPC servers, there are many products based on OPC that store, trend, analyze, and move data. For more information on OPC, check out the OPC Multimedia Tutorial here.