Is CPAS Still Relevant in the Emerging Open Process Automation Era?

Industry Trends

 Is ARC’s Collaborative Process Automation Systems (CPAS) still relevant today in light of the current, end user-driven Open Process Automation initiative and other trends such as IIoT, Industrie 4.0, NAMUR Open Automation (NOA), digital transformation, IT-OT convergence, cloud and edge computing, etc.?

Open Process Automation and Collaborative Process Automation Systems (CPAS) are guided by fundamental principles

ARC believes the answer to this question can be found by reviewing the CPAS guiding principles.  These principles for applying highly interactive, collaborative process automation and used these to create the functional requirements, architecture, and technology choices contained in the CPAS report (latest update CPAS 3.0).  ARC views these principles as a layered structure, with each subsequent principle supporting those above it.  All layers are backed by the overarching principle that CPAS must deliver highly secure control and safety functionality.  Here is a list of the principles”

Open Process Automation CPAS Guiding Principles
CPAS Open Process Automation Guiding Principles

Return on Assets (ROA) - Value Definition

ARC believes process automation offers the potential to deliver significant unrealized return on assets (ROA) throughout a process plant.  However, most end users purchase process automation systems to stay technologically current and reduce total cost of ownership (TCO), rather than achieve continuous improvement and associated economic gains. 

Achieving Operational Excellence (OpX)

Operational excellence delivers measurable performance improvements by focusing on doing more with less as well as working more effectively and reducing cost.  OpX is realized when more people make the right decisions more often. 

Effectiveness, Agility, and Visualization

Effectiveness, agility, and performance visualization are keys to operational excellence.  Effectiveness and agility support the principle of flawless operation.  Research shows that, on average, process plants in North America, as well as other many regions around the globe, operate at less than Four Sigma performance levels.

Automate and Empower

By automating everything that should be automated, one ensures that manual tasks will always be executed based on best practices.  Automation also frees up time for worker empowerment, providing these knowledge workers with the opportunity to perform more value-adding activities.

Automation Asset Management

Because CPAS is based on standards, it can support a heterogeneous supplier environment, with each application having its own configuration and system management facility.  Automation systems available today have moved toward the CPAS vision, but most continue to have proprietary system communications and configuration management environments. 

Functionally Transparent and Logically Concise

By removing barriers, applications can operate in tight, but open, configurations.  Tight configuration refers to operation inside of a unified communications environment.  To be efficient, applications also need to be logically concise in the way they perform their functions.

Data Certainty and Traceability

In traditional process control installations, up to 10 percent of the device signals can be inaccurate for one reason or another.  Therefore, it is important for this data to contain associated quality information or tags.  Dependent variable data should also have quality tags.  Today’s edge computing helps to enable this principle.

Lower Lifecycle Costs and Adaptability

Although there has been significant innovation since the first DCSs were introduced over 40 years ago, much of the installed base of DCSs remain largely proprietary in design.  Not only does this hinder interoperability and make it difficult for end users to adapt to new innovations, but it often is costly to make significant upgrades and changes, even using the original supplier’s latest technology.  CPAS recognized this, opening the door for adoption of new capabilities into the operational world that reduce cost and customization, increase interoperability, and extend the useful life of automation assets. 

Although many of today’s technologies did not exist in 2002 when CPAS was first defined, the intent of the CPAS principles remain valid in today’s emerging open process automation world.


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