Practical Fundamentals of OPC


OPC has come a long way in making the engineers’ dream of plug and play compatibility in automation engineering achievable. OPC is an industry-wide standard that breaks this proprietary lock by allowing open connectivity based on the principles adapted from widely accepted and applied ‘Microsoft Windows’ integration standards. OPC capabilities have been demonstrated in many practical applications and it is now a well-established approach for different competing manufacturers. It is now easily considered to be the standard interface in the Windows environment. If you are serious about reducing your costs of installing and maintaining your automation systems you need to use OPC.

If you have only briefly heard about OPC and want to get to grips with its tremendous power and apply this to your plant and application, then this workshop will give you the necessary tools. You will receive a valuable overview of OPC and understand why it is the standard of choice for data access in automation systems. You will be exposed to and understand the essential components of OPC based on typical applications. You will understand how OPC servers are installed and how they are then accessed by OPC clients (which could be SCADA systems). The exercises that you will work through in the class will allow you to apply the theory you gain in the class in a practical manner.

The OPC specification will be discussed in great detail and you will be exposed to the development of OPC servers and clients. The interaction between OPC and DCOM will be discussed in practical detail. The latest trends and future developments with OPC in the USA and Europe will be detailed.


  • Receive a certificate of attendance in support of your continuing professional commitment
  • All workshops include the associated hardcopy technical manual
  • Printed workshop handouts
  • Lunch and refreshments
  • Interact and network with workshop attendees and experienced instructors
  • Practical, industry driven content to assist you in your continuing professional development (CPD)
  • Attendees automatically become IDC subscribers and receive exclusive deals and technical content every month


If you are using any form of automation or communication system or are applying PCs/PLCs/SCADA systems, this workshop will give you essential tools in working with OPC. This is not an advanced workshop – but a hands-on practical experience. Among those that will benefit by attending are:

  • Design engineers
  • Electrical engineers
  • Engineering managers
  • Network engineers
  • Network system administrators
  • Process control and instrumentation engineers



  • Classes and objects
  • Clients, servers and client/server interaction
  • OLE
  • DDE and NetDDE
  • ActiveX
  • .NET


  • What is OPC?
  • Problems addressed by OPC
  • The OPC logical object model
  • OPC data (sources, formats, etc)
  • OPC client/server relationships
  • Current OPC specifications


  • What is COM?
  • COM basics
    • Classes
    • Interfaces
    • Components (proxy/stub files, wrappers)
    • Globally Unique IDs (GUIDs)
    • OPC registry entries (ProgID, ClassID, AppID, CatID)
    • OPC client/server interaction (in-process, local, remote)
  • Setting up DCOM (programmatically or declaratively)


  • Functional description
  • Logical object model (OPCServer, OPCGroup, OPCItem)
  • Typical server and client structures
  • Read/write methods (synchronous, asynchronous, refresh, subscription)
  • Data source (cache, device)
  • OPCServer interfaces and methods
  • OPCGroup interfaces and methods
  • Group and item properties
  • Server configuration procedure


  • OPC common information
  • OPC alarms and events
  • OPC batch
  • OPC Data eXchange (DX)
  • OPC historical data access
  • OPC security


  • Networking protocols
  • LANs, WANs
  • OSI model
  • Network infrastructure (Ethernet)
  • ‘Transports’ (TCP/IP)


  • DCOM protocol stack
  • Physical and data link layer problems
  • Network and transport layer problems
  • COM/DCOM-related problems
  • Client/server-related problems
  • Simulation and conformance testing
  • Error codes



  • Setting up network (IP addresses, subnet masks, default gateways)
  • Connecting simple clients to a SCADA system
  • Setting up an OPC server
  • Data export to Excel
  • Generating and importing tag lists in CSV format
  • Graphical (drag and drop) clients
  • AE client/server interaction
  • Validating servers
  • Setting up DCOM to enable OPC clients and servers to interact across a networK
  • Tunnelling (across local network and the Internet)

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