Up next: More open process automation?

Process automation systems need lower lifecycle costs, easier integration with third-party components, better scaling, intrinsic security, flatter architecture, and interoperability. Multiple, broad-based efforts are underway to create cooperative, rather than conflicting, standards.

By Mark T. Hoske March 3, 2019

The deadline for open, interoperable process automation systems is 2021. Those involved in multiple efforts remain confident in the promise of greater efficiency, higher safety, greater ease of use at a lower cost, and without conflicting standards. Experts outlined the vision and progress of Open Process Automation (OPA) standards efforts in the U.S. and Europe at the 2019 ARC Industry Forum conference by ARC Advisory Group in February.

OPA vision and objectives

Knowledge from multiple field trials will help shape the final Open Process Automation standard in 2021, so commercial process control vendors can comply, as explained at the 2019 ARC Industry Forum by David DeBari, process control engineer, ExxonMobil Research and Engineering. Courtesy: Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering, CFE Media[/caption]

After a prototype on a pilot unit, a test bed to support field trials, and field trials with seven companies in 2020, a full standard is expected in 2021 for commercial use. More 80 participants including users, vendors, suppliers, and academics are involved.

More interoperability efforts

Separately, but with many similar goals, European standards body NAMUR is working on its module type package (MTP) program and technology. NAMUR and The Open Process Automation Forum (OPAF) agreed to collaborate to converge initiatives into a consistent overall architecture. Other industry organizations also agreed to help.

Also at the ARC Industry Forum, Ted Masters, president and CEO, FieldComm Group (HART, Foundation fieldbus, and FDI Group) said it’s strengthening support of process automation standards and compliance with OPC Foundation, NAMUR, Profibus/Profinet International and OPAF.

Many in the industry are trying to think again about years of requests from end users for interoperability.

Mark T. Hoske is content manager, Control Engineering, CFE Media, mhoske@cfemedia.com.

ONLINE extra


See related stories below.

Author Bio: Mark Hoske has been Control Engineering editor/content manager since 1994 and in a leadership role since 1999, covering all major areas: control systems, networking and information systems, control equipment and energy, and system integration, everything that comprises or facilitates the control loop. He has been writing about technology since 1987, writing professionally since 1982, and has a Bachelor of Science in Journalism degree from UW-Madison.