Supporting adaptive flexibility with communications middleware
Faculty of Applied Economics
Engineering sciences. Technology
International journal on advances in internet technology
, p. 12-31
University of Antwerp
Automation systems are continuously growing in scope and size. To keep them maintainable (despite their ever- increasing complexity), structures, methodologies and technolo- gies with the capability of responding to diverse and changing requirements are required a quality we call adaptive flexibil- ity. After presenting highlights from a survey illustrating the variety of requirements, this paper discusses two approaches to supporting adaptive flexibility as well as the relationship between them. The first is OPC Unified Architecture (UA), a communications middleware standard. The second is the Normalized Systems Theory, a formal approach to ensuring systems evolvability. The paper intends to bridge the gap between theory and practice by highlighting several aspects of OPC UA that support adaptive flexibility, with this analysis being based on the concepts of Normalized Systems as far as possible.