OPC Router - Apache Kafka Streaming for OPC DA, OPC UA, PLC, DCS & More

Rapidly Integrating Your OT Assets with the Streaming Platform

Apache Kafka is a high-performance, highly scalable, open-source event streaming platform. Its distributed architecture scales through clusters to trillions of messages per day and is used by major global corporations.

For manufacturers that want to publish or subscribe to data in Kafka systems, OPC Router's Kafka-plug-in provides rapid, cost effective integration.  The large number of OPC Router connectors, including OPC, ERP, SAP databases, and web services to name a few, make it the perfect solution. 

  • Publish data from any OPC Router connector to Kafka brokers
  • Consumer of data by subscription from Kafka brokers to access data streams and share data with any supported OPC Router connector
  • Broker topic browsing supported
  • Drag & Drop configuration to get started fast
  • Templatized Connections for Configuration Scalability including import of template instance configurations from Excel
  • Works with commercial Kafka solutions like Confluent
  • Licensed as plug-in on standard perpetual or subscription OPC Router licensing packages - the choice is yours 

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Publishing OT Data to Kafka with OPC Router

Once you setup your Apache Kafka connection object as shown in the configuration part of this page, you can build workflows with any OPC Router connector, in this case OPC DA, though OPC UA and UA Pub/Sub are supported also, and then build the JSON packet with the ETL tools, even combining data from multiple sources. 

The JSON payload is then mapped to the Apache Kafka transfer object at the right along with a key value. 

Keep in mind this is just one set of data, but for large applications, templates support importing configurations from spreadsheets, and even automating creating of connections on the fly based on operating conditions, provided scalability.

Subscribing to Kafka Data with OPC Router

OPC Router can browse Kafka brokers to pick items to subscribe to, or enter them manually or build the connections using templates and import. 

Shown, here, a Kafka Trigger will fire whenever new messages arrive, and then OPC Router's JSON ETL object parses the payload into items, that are then, in this example mapped to a database insert as an example.

The results of the payload could also have been written to a PLC or controller by mapping the outputs to an OPC DA or UA client connection in OPC Router that is connected to your target OPC server. Many other action types are possible, with any connector that OPC Router supports.


In OPC Router, the Transfer Object shown here is a key part of the configuration as it connects you to the Kafka broker. 

  • Topic, Key and Payload fields
  • Messages are marked with topic and key so consumers can subscribe to topics 
  • Any data block can be transferred to the OPC router payload
  • Leverage OPC Routers JSON and XML Object ETL tools for rapid mapping to process points such as OPC Tags

Triggers are used by OPC Router to register as a subscriber with Kafka for consumption of data. When new data arrives, messages are can then be processed using the same OPC Router ETL tools and delivered to other connections such as OPC Servers, databases, ERP systems, and others. 

Creation of large number of connections is possible even with spreadsheet imports, using OPC Router's template capabilities.

Application Example: Distribution of Master Data Across Sites

In many processing, there are master data sets that are used for configuring systems to produce specific products. Rather than have all the systems query a central database, that may be at a different sites, it is beneficial to have a shadow copy at each site that is regularly updated.  This can result in faster setups, but more importantly insulate each site from any remote connection downtime. 

With Kafka, the central dataset can be published to a Kafka broker, and then each site consumes the data. The data moves in JSON packages that OPC Router can easily decode and parameterize and make available for us in production systems without a constant dependence on the central system. 

Production results can be sent back to the central sites with OPC Router building the JSON payload without programming, and publishing it to Kafka brokers. 

Application - Process Data Streaming

Kafka is designed to handle massive amounts of data and be secure and fault tolerant over large distances and a variety of network types. 

OPC Router empowers streaming operational status, runtime, production to Kafka, leveraging it's reliability to insure data gets to central systems. 

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The demo is the full product. When you put an OPC Router project into runtime, it will stop operating after 2 hours and have to be restarted. Purchase of a license will remove the restriction.

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