Where Are They Now? An Open Process Automation Forum Update

As the group readies version 2.0 of its open process automation standard, there’s an overarching feeling of unity but an underlying concern about what this architecture really means for manufacturers and industrial control suppliers in the future.


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  • In February of 2018 the first deliverable, the Open Process Automation Business Guide, was introduced, explaining the value proposition and business case for the development of an open framework.
  • In February of 2019, the group released a preliminary version of the open process automation standard (O-PAS) v.1.0, which specifically addresses the issue of interoperability.
  • In June of 2019, OPAF held an interoperability workshop with about 15 suppliers. This “plugfest” was done to test out the O-PAS standard with different prototypes, providing feedback to continue development.
  • In July 2019, ExxonMobil announced a parallel effort and signed a collaboration agreement with six other companies, including Aramco Services Company, BASF, ConocoPhillips Company, The Dow Chemical Company, Georgia-Pacific LLC, and Linde PLC to accelerate the development of open process automation (OPA) systems. Separate from the OPAF efforts, the team, which selected Yokogawa as the main automation contractor (MAC), has been working on an OPA test bed, scheduled to go live at the end of 2019.

Emerson joined the group in the beginning but backed away due to concerns about protecting its intellectual property (IP). In an interview last year, Peter Zornio, CTO at Emerson Automation Solutions, told Automation World: “It’s an open group with an unprecedented broad scope for a standard, so the sky’s the limit on what you donate for IP, which makes me concerned.”


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