OPC UA open interface: Joop’S success story continues towards Industry 4.0.


Joop van Zanten has reached an important milestone on the road to digital transformation to become a fully automated component supplier. An OPC UA interface has just been successfully implemented.

In 2020, Joop van Zanten and Messer Cutting Systems began their exciting journey towards Industry 4.0. Since then, a lot has changed at the Dutch steel processor: A completely new automation system, consisting of a fibre laser and a plasma cutting system with bevel technology and drilling unit, as well as a material handling system, now ensures the component manufacturer's extensive range of services. The central element is the OmniFab Software Suite, which connects the various Messer systems and equipment via interfaces and integrates them into the business processes in a process-orientated manner.

In the same period, Joop van Zanten has extended its production technology with machining (5-axis), enlarged its bending capabilities (up to 8m wide and 1250T pressure) and has a highly certified welding department with welding robot (NEN 1090-3 / ISO 3834-2).

With the automation and digitalization of crucial production and business processes, Joop van Zanten has reached an important milestone on the road to digital transformation. And the company remains "on course" to become a fully automated component supplier. An OPC UA interface (Open Platform Communications Unified Architecture) has just been successfully implemented. In the following interview with Bart Kroesbergen, Managing Director at the steel component supplier in Veenendaal, the Netherlands, he explains what this means and the benefits for Joop van Zanten.

Messer Cutting Systems:

Mr. Kroesbergen, thanks to the OmniFab integration, the company already uses Messer machine information in real time. In addition, the OPC UA interface implementation project has just been successfully realized. What was it all about.

Bart Kroesbergen:

Messer Cutting Systems provided us with open and generic interfaces for the machines, which we can access freely and process the information in our own IT system. The integration of the Messer Cutting Systems machines was extremely smooth: all machines were successively equipped with new advanced control software. Within a week, 6 machines were updated to provide machine information.

Messer Cutting Systems:

Why is this necessary?

Bart Kroesbergen:

We use a SCADA system (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) to monitor and control all of our production systems across multiple production technologies and production sites and to collect and record data of all these processes. Data transfer is much easier with the OPC UA standard. It is already deeply integrated, standardised and implemented in many industries. Machines can be easily integrated into the overarching system via the OPC UA standard. This gives us a better overview of the entire production process. It allows us to use all of the production data in the different production steps to fully analyze the production steps, timing, costs and improvement possibilities. In fact, we gain a sort of production “BIG DATA”.

Messer Cutting Systems:

Could you please give a little bit more details?

Bart Kroesbergen:

Production is now largely automated and controlled exclusively from a control room. This means we always have an up-to-date overview of which jobs need to be cut, what is currently happening in the machines, which jobs have been cut and can be cleared away and how the production of individual pieces evolved. Via OPC UA, Messer Cutting Systems has given us e.g., the machine status cutting job and other information is provided, which we then merge and analyze in our SCADA system.

Messer Cutting Systems:

So, what is the advantage of OPC UA for Joop van Zanten?

Bart Kroesbergen:

It enables secure, reliable, and manufacturer-independent communication across different levels of our manufacturing facility. This is a decisive advantage for us, as it allows us to seamlessly integrate our systems from different manufacturers and production processes. It gives us insight into the costs, timing and quality of an individual product and at the end of our production process the data is combined to give full insight into a product assembly which we deliver as component to our customers. We now have all our processes and data collection automated. Thanks to standardized data models, future systems can also be easily integrated into our existing network. In addition, high security standards ensure secure data exchange and protection against unauthorized access.

Messer Cutting Systems:

How did collaboration go?

Bart Kroesbergen:

Messer Cutting Systems and Joop van Zanten have had a trusting partnership since our first joint automation project. The teams on both sides are always highly motivated to make the task a success together. That's how it was this time with the interface integration project. We planned in advance exactly what information from our machine park is needed and adapted it to our needs. For example, all tools had to be supported. Messer Cutting Systems adapted and implemented the requirements excellently. Within a week, all machines were then installed with new software - according to a very precise plan, so that ongoing production was not disrupted.

Messer Cutting Systems:

Bart, your goal is to completely automate production. What are the next steps?

Bart Kroesbergen:

Next, we have to tackle material handling, which is not so easy due to the weight of some parts. On the Messer machines we make products from 2mm up to 300mm thickness and from a size of 5cm x 5cm up to 14m long and 3m wide. Because of this full range of product weights and sizes we still move a lot by hand. We must find a way to handle these products or at least most of these products. Together with Messer and other partners, we want to fully automate production.

Watch the video of the interview with Bart Kroesbergen.

DOWNLOAD Press Release here as PDF file.

“With OPC UA we gain a sort of production “BIG DATA”, Bart Kroesbergen, Managing Director Joop van Zanten.

The Messer machine with the Global Control system will be equipped with an OPC UA server. This provides selected machine data, such as information on whether the machine is currently in operation, which processes are running on it or whether there is an error. Information on the pending job is also available. This information can be queried individually and made available outside the machine. The machine is now located in the company's network.

Digital Information and Process Technologies from MesserSoft

In Industry 4.0, production interlocks with the most modern information and communication technology. Machines and software from a single source ensure maximum utilization of existing resources.

The modular software portfolio from MesserSoft integrates Messer cutting machines into business and production processes in the best possible way and supports key functions throughout the entire workflow. Traditionally, the entry into digitization is made via work preparation with OmniWin and OmniBevel. The solutions are integrated by the OmniFab Suite, the digital support for operators, production managers, process analysts and service technicians. Messer machines and MesserSoft digitalization solutions thus guarantee the perfect introduction to Industry 4.0.

MesserSoft is a wholly owned subsidiary of Messer Cutting Systems and our portfolio combines all the software products of the group under one roof. Our core competence is the integration of Messer machines into the business processes of leading cutting companies world-wide.

As a well-established team of experts with high IT and cutting competence, we are closely networked with the global resources and the competence centers of Messer Cutting Systems. This is why we can react quickly and precisely to your needs. With us, you will always find the best solution for your production. With efficiency advantages in production and operation.

Machine, software and service from a single source as an integrated total solution.