MatrikonOPC OPC Exchange

PCs, PLCs and OPC: A History

$id = 388; Posted on August 29th, 2011 by Mustafa Al-mosawi

What a difference 30 years makes. 30 years ago, nearly to the day, IBM introduced the 5150. Seemingly overnight, it created the Microsoft/Intel architecture combination that continues to dominate today. As the first personal computer to achieve critical mass, the 5150 was a major milestone in a computing revolution.  A revolution that continues to accelerate, with processor performance doubling every 3 years.  It’s not limited to processors either: digital storage and optical network bandwidth performance are experiencing the same acceleration. The PC transformed the way we work, live and play.

The explosion of general purpose computing has been felt everywhere.  No less than in the world of automation, where a slightly different beast rules: the PLC. Introduced roughly a decade earlier than the PC, the Modular Digital Controller (Modicon!) PLC transformed the way General Motors built its cars. Today, programmable automation is helping drive our buses, intelligently manage our buildings, build the goods we buy, and generate our power.

Many think that the real reason the key to the 5150′s genius was its use of off-the shelf parts. This choice led to interoperable clones. Interoperability and the rise of clones, not the IBM brand, was what cemented the PCs success.

In the world of automation, true interoperabilty came about 15 years ago with the advent of OPC. Software that ran on, you guessed it, a direct decendant of the IBM 5150 PC. The initial specification had its limitations. OPC compatible software was limited, but interoperability was here to stay.

Soon, new advanced standards were released every few years.  Each solved a new set of problems The latest standard, OPC UA, is the most sophisticated and comprehensive open protocol standard yet.

That’s why at MatrikonOPC, our Universal Connectivity Server offers OPC UA as well as classic DA, A&E, combined with the best OPC Security in the business. That way, you can meet the demands of today’s applications, and be ready to take advantage of tomorrow.

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