I am an advocate of training. If you’ve followed my writings at all, you’ll know that I personally attend scores of seminars every year. I’ve been doing that now for fifteen to twenty years. I’ve flown all over the world to take training classes. It’s part of my DNA.
Life has now reached a point where we have so many technologies, opportunities, new products, and ways of doing things available to us that it’s difficult to keep abreast of them all. Even if you limit yourself to increase your technical knowledge of manufacturing, you have an assortment of technologies you could study. There are protocols like EtherCAT – a highly deterministic way of doing Ethernet, and IO-Link – a very popular mechanism for bringing I/O into a controller. There are technologies like facial recognition that your factory could possibly use to advantage. There is machine learning, Linux Docker, 5G communications, Time Sensitive Networking (TSN), and more. The list is nearly endless.
And, of course, there is OPC UA. I have been a proponent of OPC UA for more than ten years now. It is THE technology of the future factory floor. Not only have more than forty-four trade associations become proponents of it, but it is also the backbone of Germany’s Industrie 4.0 effort. It’s something we all need to know and understand.
But how to get that understanding? There are certainly a lot of websites and YouTube videos that you could visit and watch. Or you could read some of the books that have been written on OPC UA – there are two (drum roll here…) that you should definitely have on your bookshelf:
The black book is the beginner’s overview. It’s a basic introduction to what OPC UA is trying to accomplish. It’s the first one I wrote, and I’ll admit that overall it’s a good introduction, but it is far from comprehensive and occasionally slightly misleading in that I didn’t clarify everything as well as could be.
The blue book is a comprehensive analysis of all the different pieces of OPC UA. Every chapter decomposes a specific component of OPC UA and tells you why it’s important, what you really need to know about that concept, and what the details are if you are interested. I am actually very proud of that book.
Alternatively, you can get RTA to come to your facility and do a one-day, one-afternoon, or two-hour introduction to OPC UA. In that session, we can provide you with the concepts, or do a deep dive and include how you can get your team OPC UA engaged, or you can have us do a one day overview of EtherNet/IP, Modbus TCP, PROFINET IO, and OPC UA. We’ll design a training session that meets your needs.
Click on the books above to buy one. You can also call us on 262-436-9299, text me on 414-460-6556, or contact RTA by email to get more information and schedule a training session.
Education is very important to me, and I love bringing people up to speed on these important technologies. I look forward to working with your team soon.