Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) for Process Control (OPC): Standards & Application

Instructor: Euan Russano

Euan has a Phd degree in Engineering and offers private training and tutoring in Programming and Engineering.

By the end of this lesson, you will be able to define and understand the meaning of Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) for Process Control (OPC). You will learn the different standards that are based on OPC and the technology each uses to enable the exchange of data. Also, you will learn how these standards are applied in industrial networks.

What is Object Linking and Embedding for Process Control (OPC)?

OLE for Process Control (OPC) are a set of standards developed through the collaboration of leading industry supply companies with a mission to create a uniform interface to be used by any organization or software programmer.

OPC is used to provide integration among applications, enabling a high degree of application compatibility. It also enables the development of re-usable plug-and-play objects that are compatible across multiple applications. It is a software platform that enables communication between control devices, hardware, and automation machines.

Standards and applications of Process Control (OPC)

OPC provides a common interface for communication within diverse process control devices regardless of the software or devices being used in the process. It was developed by Microsoft in partnership with other software companies with the goal of achieving a standard plug and play concept. This meant a device could easily connect to another and work without further configuration, since all OPC drivers work the same way. OPC has since been used as the basis of other standards which are:

  • Component Object Model (COM)

COM provides standard interfaces for data exchange and inter-component communications. COM has enabled applications the ability to use features of any other applications object or operating system. It also allows software component upgrades without affecting the general operation running.

  • The Distributed Component Object Model (DCOM)

DCOM is a new highly optimized protocol which enables remote components to appear as local. It extends COM to remote objects. It was first released for Windows NT 4.0 in August 1996. Its development is supported by Microsoft, Java and VB Script.

  • Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE)

DDE is OPC's predecessor and is a method of dynamically moving data among applications in the Microsoft Win32 Application Programming Interface (API). DDE protocols send messages between applications that use shared data and memory to exchange information. Applications use DDE protocols for one-time data exchange and continuous exchanges allowing applications to send updates to one another as new data becomes available.

  • OLE Automation

OLE was designed by Microsoft to allow components which were written C and C++ to be used by a custom program which is written in Visual Basic. It is essential in the process control industry since hardware developers write software components in C and C++ to handle data access from a device.

  • Active X

Active X is a set of programming technologies developed by Microsoft. It allows the interaction of different software components coming from a variety of programming languages. It is an open platform for developers and Web producers to produce portable and interactive content for the World Wide Web. Currently supported in different operating systems.

Industrial Application of OPC

OPC enables seamless communication between third-party applications by offering an open, neutral platform for communication. It has proven security mechanisms like authentication, authorization, and encryption offering a safe network for companies which require convergent, end-to-end secure network connection.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account