International Weighing Technology Initiative proposes standardized communications interface
The communications specification is based on the OPC Foundation’s OPC UA
The International Weighing Technology Initiative met for the first time on October 16th to focus on setting a standardized communication interface for weighing instruments. To date, there hasn’t been a real focus on standardizing the digitization of the weighing industry.
The project was initiated by leading scale manufacturers in conjunction with CECIP’s (Comité Européen des Constructeurs d’Instruments de Pesage) German VDMA Measurement and Testing Technology to develop a standardized open and manufacturer-independent interface for weighing instruments using the OPC Foundation’s OPC UA (Open Platform Communication—Unified Architecture) format. 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.
“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. Standardized interfaces reduce the effort in the process and production environment for manufacturers as well as integrators and plant operators.
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 says, “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 have 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 2018. On October 16, 2018, the JWG started its work. Scientific 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 from the beginning.