Choosing the right Open Platform Communications (OPC) server for data collection and sharing doesn’t have to be difficult. RSLinx Classic and FactoryTalk Linx provide communication connections for software on a Windows-based computer to Rockwell Automation products like CompactLogix controllers and PanelView Plus 7 HMI’s. Licensed versions of these products allow third-party (non-Rockwell) software to communicate with Rockwell PLCs/PACs through OPC, an industry-standard protocol. What are the differences between these products and, more importantly, which should you use? Let’s take a look at the options:
RSLinx Classic is the communication software that Rockwell has been using for many years. It provides connections to devices on networks such as EtherNet/IP, DeviceNet, ControlNet, DH+ and older serial networks like DF1 and DH-485. There are 2 types of RSinx Classic licenses:
Licensed versions provide OPC-DA connections for non-Rockwell software, based on the limits below:
RSLinx Enterprise has been rebranded and updated as FactoryTalk Linx. Rockwell has indicated that it will be replacing RSLinx Classic as the default connection method for Rockwell Software. FactoryTalk Linx is free software included with many Rockwell Software products and is required for FactoryTalk View SE & ME.
FactoryTalk Linx Gateway is a licensed product that provide both OPC DA and newer OPC UA connectivity to third-party applications. OPC UA has many advantages over OPC DA, including improved security and easier integration into IT environments.
These products are licensed based on how many tags are being served, and whether or not the data source that connects to FactoryTalk Live Data is on the same computer, using the FactoryTalk Local Directory, or located on one or more remote computers, using the FactoryTalk Network Directory. An example of using the FT Network Directory would be serving tags from a FactoryTalk View SE Distributed SCADA system.
Note that FT Linx Gateway tag limits are for both OPC DA and OPC UA connections separately, so a 5000-tag FT Linx Gateway license could provide access to 5000 OPC UA tags and 5000 OPC DA tags.
FT Linx Gateway Specifics:
Clearly, there are numerous options and methods for connecting to Rockwell Automation control systems for data collection and sharing. Whether you use RSLinx Classic software for legacy networks and control systems or FactoryTalk Linx Gateway to take advantage of the latest security and communication standards, Rockwell has your OPC application needs covered. If you have any questions, please reach out to your Rumsey account manager or local ASG Team Member.
Rockwell Knowledgebase Articles (May require TechConnect Support Contract):
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