Transferring OPC UA data to the IBM Internet of Things platform


In order for data to be used in new business models and products, it must first of all be transported from where it is generated to where it can be evaluated. Therefore I recently tried out to get some typical messages used in manufacturing to the IBM Cloud, where they can be processed, if needed.


While modern information technology/IT systems use protocols like http, websockets, MQTT and architectural styles like REST, for operations technology/OT systems in manufacturing and plants a variety of other standards are being used, so a protocol conversion is needed.

Fortunately OPC UA became a de-facto standard protocol and OPC UA servers can be used to collect data from southbound automation systems (like SCADA, PLC) that later can be consumed on the shopfloor/OT or in combined OT/IT use cases.

How it works

The flow of my prototype is as follows :

  • a Prosys OPC UA Simulation server generates data coming from OT systems,
  • the OPC UA Broker grabs the data sends it to the IBM IoT platform via MQTT,
  • the IBM Internet of Things service receives the MQTT events, and
  • applications that subscribed to the events can process them.

On this repo you can find more details.

Note, that in this scenario the data is pulled from the OPC UA server each time you clock on the grey inject node. Also, in real production scenarios IBM App Connect for Manufacturing can be used to meet highest requirements.

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