Connecting the world of scales

Connecting the world of scales

CECIP (Belgium) - The International Weighing Technology Initiative started their project on aiming to achieve standardized communication interface with a first meeting on 16 October. The aim of this initiative is developing and standardizing a communication interface for weighing instruments, making the weighing industry ready for the era of the digitization of industry.

“Weighing instruments are used in many areas and practically along the entire value chain in order to optimize processes, increase productivity, and comply with legal regulations. To fulfill these tasks, weighing instruments must be able to communicate with various systems in the value chain.” says Markus Heseding, Managing Director of CECIP´s German member VDMA Measurement and Testing Technology. Standardized interfaces reduce the effort in the process and production environment for manufacturers as well as integrators and plant operators.

This project was initiated by leading scale manufacturers in conjunction with the VDMA to develop a standardized open and manufacturer-independent interface for weighing instruments in OPC UA format (Open Platform Communication - Unified Architecture). It aims at standardizing the communication of weighing instruments and systems with peripherals and other higher-level devices or systems in the respective manufacturing, research, logistic and sales processes.

The European weighing industry association CECIP and its member companies are key players in the project. CECIP is convinced that this project will ensure connectivity of the weighing industry. CECIP President Urs Widmer: “Considering the digitization of industrial production, standardized communication is essential for the future and this project enables a broad and international application of the open communication interface. The initiative shows again that the international weighing industry is at the forefront of technological development and will be ready for future customer demands.”

International partner associations from Japan, China and USA already showed an interest in the initiative and have been invited to cooperate on the new standard.

The initiative was officially registered with the OPC Foundation, the umbrella organization for the development of interoperability standards for industrial automation, as an international Joint Working Group (JWG) in the middle of this year. Yesterday, 16 October 2018, the JWG started its work. Scientifically support is provided by the University of Stuttgart for the development of the specification. Notified bodies such as Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) have been involved right from the beginning.

The information model that will be developed is described in the so-called "OPC UA Companion Specification". The scope of the OPC UA Weighing Technology Companion Specification is to exchange relevant data for information and diagnostic purposes as well as to set configuration and production parameters for various applications. The interface also provides type-specific data of different weighing instruments or systems.

The first version of the specification is scheduled for release in spring 2019.

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