RobotStudio event

Passing Strings Over ENIP


I am having a bit of an issue. Allen Bradley HMI's used to be able to add an OPC DA Client to the project, and I could point tags to Rapid variables from the OPC Server running on the Windows desktop of the HMI. It worked great, no issues. We're porting over the "old" way of doing things to use their new HMI series. 

Now, the new 5500 series HMI's work quite a bit differently. I asked Rockwell if I still had the ability to do this (add an OPC DA server to the project and run the server off the HMI hardware), and they basically told me that no, all communications are done in FT Linx with no additional servers available. 

Fanuc has an option called "Enhanced Data Access", where I assign the data I want to send/receive (Int,Float,Structures,Strings, etc) and then it uses explicit messaging to pass that data back and forth as a single block which updates it on either end. Is there anything like this for ABB? 

I really only need to send a couple strings from the robot to the PLC, but sending floats would be nice too without too much data conversion. 

What are my options to do this? Can I explicitly message the IRC5 controller and pull/set memory addresses directly, or do I need to use socket messaging? If socket messaging is my only option, does anyone have any example Allen Bradley code I could look at? This form of communication is new to me, so any help would be appreciated.