Thesis for the Degree of Master of Science


Year 2001
Jyrki Peltoniemi

OPC data transfer in large-scale dynamic process simulation

Progress in the area of dynamic process simulation will bring about a need for an effective and easy way to configure data exchange between a simulator and co-operating applications. One important example of this need is the task of transferring data between a distributed control system (DCS) and a process simulator.

An integrated system, in which the DCS and simulator are connected, can be used for operator training and automation design and testing purposes. Using this kind of connection between a full-scale DCS and a large simulation model requires, however, a large throughput from the data connection.

OPC (OLE for Process Control) is a widely used, component-based specification for communicating between numerous data sources in the automation and process control industries. This thesis will introduce the architectural issues that affect the performance of data exchange using the OPC standard. Detailed design issues that affect the throughput are also discussed.

A new OPC server for the dynamic process simulator, Apros, has been developed and performance tests have been carried out. The performance metrics of the new server are compared to those of the existing OPC server. This comparison shows the benefits of the new architectural approach. The results show that communication based on the OPC standard can offer sufficient data-transfer capacity for most dynamic process-simulation purposes.

Requirements for the optimized OPC client are given. Finally, new application areas that can be managed using the new, more effective data exchange techniques are discussed.

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