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MAY-JUN 2019

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P rocess automation end users and sup- pliers have expressed interest in a stan- dard that will make the industry much more open and modular. In response, the Open Process Automation™ Forum (OPAF) has worked diligently at this task since November 2016 to develop process automation standards. The scope of the initiative is wide-reaching, as it aims to address the issues associated with the process automation systems found in most industrial automation plants and facilities to- day (figure 1). It is easy to see why a variety of end users and suppliers are involved in the project, because the following systems are affected: ● manufacturing execution system (MES) ● distributed control system (DCS) ● human-machine interface (HMI) ● programmable logic controller (PLC) ● input/output (I/O) In June 2018, OPAF released a technical refer- ence model (TRM) snapshot as industry guid- ance of the technical direction being taken for the development of this new standard. The organization followed the TRM snapshot with the release of the OPAS™ Version 1.0 in January 2019. Version 1.0 addresses the interoperability of components in federated process automa- tion systems. This is a first stop along a three- year road map with annual releases targeting the themes listed in table 1. Table 1. The O-PAS Standard three-year release road map addresses progressively more detailed themes. Version Target date Theme 1.0 2019 Interoperability 2.0 2020 Configuration portability 3.0 2021 Application portability By publishing versions of the standard annu- ally, OPAF intends to make its work available to industry expeditiously. This will allow suppliers to start building products and returning feed- back on technical issues, and this feedback— along with end user input—will steer OPAS development. O-PAS Version 1.0 was released as a preliminary standard of The Open Group to allow time for industry feedback. The OPAF interoperability workshop in May 2019 is expected to produce feedback to help fi- nalize the standard. The workshop allows mem- ber organizations to bring hardware and software that support O-PAS Version 1.0, testing it to verify the correctness and clarity of this preliminary standard. The results will not be published but will be used to update and finalize the standard. Some terminology For clarity, a summary of the terminology asso- ciated with the OPAF initiative is: ● The Open Group: The Open Group is a global consortium that helps organizations achieve business objectives through technology stan- dards. The membership of more than 625 organizations includes customers, systems and solutions suppliers, tool vendors, inte- grators, academics, and consultants across multiple industries. ● Open Process Automation Forum: OPAF is an international forum of end users, system integrators, suppliers, academia, and other standards organizations working together to develop a standards-based, open, secure, and interoperable process control architecture. Open Process Automation is a trademark of The Open Group. ● O-PAS Standard, Version 1.0 (O-PAS): OPAF is producing the OPAS Standard under the guid- ance of The Open Group to define a vendor- neutral reference architecture for construc- tion of scalable, reliable, interoperable, and secure process automation systems. COVER STORY INTECH MAY/JUNE 2019 11 Business systems Sensor, actuator, plant Advanced control, manufacturing execution system (MES) Distributed control system (DCS) + human-machine interface (HMI) Distributed control system (DCS) input/output (I/O) Programmable logic control (PLC) + human-machine interface (HMI) Programmable logic control (PLC) input/output (I/O) Safety instrumented system (SIS) Safety instrumented system (SIS) input/output (I/O) Open process automation scope Figure 1. A broad sampling of suppliers and end users are highly interested in the scope of the OPAS under development by OPAF, because it touches on all the key components of industrial automation systems: hardware (I/O), the com- munication network, system software (e.g., run time, namespace), application software, and the data model.

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