EIF 2023 Review - Open Process Automation (OPA)

Author photo: Valentijn de Leeuw and Constanze Schmitz
ByValentijn de Leeuw and Constanze Schmitz
Industry Trends

ARC’s European Industry Forum, part of the successful series of worldwide conferences in Europe, America and Asia, has been held in Sitges (Barcelona), Spain on May 15 - 17, 2023. The event offered exclusive presentations and workshops on strategies and case studies in line with this year’s topic “Managing Industry Evolution in Times of Global Disruption” to its 160 international participants from 20 countries

Open Process Automation (OPA) Workshop

The Open Process Automation Forum (OPAF) held a workshop on May 17th at ARC’s  European Industry Forum in Sitges, Spain, was well attended, and demonstrated the emergence of a healthy  OPA ecosystem with end users, system integrators  and suppliers starting to offer OPA aligned products. The workshop was kicked off by ExxonMobil's Mohan Kalyanaraman and Valentijn de Leeuw from ARC.

Key elements of the workshop included an introduction to OPA presented by Jac Opmeer from Shell, co-chair of the OPAF, and presentations by suppliers in the OPA ecosystem who discussed and displayed products aligned to the OPA standard, and a live demo of the ExxonMobil test bed from Texas.

Suppliers and System Integrators representing parts of the OPA ecosystem discussed their product offerings. Presenters were:

•             Marilyn Basanta from VMware, who discussed the VMware Edge, containers, and virtual machine offerings for bringing IT innovations to the OT environment.

•             Luciano Botto from SMAR, who discussed the development of OPA Distributed Control Nodes (DCNs) assembled into a working prototype, and plans for a 30-city roadshow on OPA in Brazil and the rest of the world to get companies aware of the offerings and excite students in universities about OPA and its potential for fulfilling careers.

•             Luis Duran from ABB, who discussed offers from ABB that decoupled control software from purpose built hardware, orchestration and other modular architecture components and features offered by ABB aligned with OPA standards and NAMUR’s Module Type Package (MTP).

•             Ravindra Jagasia from R. Stahl, presented Stahl’s components currently available for deployment in an O-PAS architecture for harsh and hazardous areas of the process plant. The IS1+ Extended I/O variants, certified to ATEX, IEC Ex and NEC standards, are DCN I/O with OCF interface and DCN Compute + I/O with embedded IEC 61131-3 or IEC 61499 runtime, also ready for MTP.

•             Bob Hagenau from CPlane, discussed how the Coalition for Open Process Automation’s (COPA) members, who built experience in setting up and testing and production systems, found out that proposed systems can be offered much cheaper using standard interfaces and off-the-shelf hardware (COTS hardware) - in some cases by up to 60 percent cheaper than traditional systems. Wood plc, an EPC with engineering and project expertise, would act as systems integrator and take the responsibility for the maintenance and support functions.

•             Intel's Peter Hall presented a reference DCN, that can be designed and manufactured in short time using a modular board architecture to reduce the development time.

Live Demonstration of ExxonMobil OPA Test Bed

The supplier presentations were followed by a live demonstration of the ExxonMobil OPA test bed at The Woodlands presented by Jacob Thate and Hide Sawahara from Yokogawa. The demonstration showcased the capability of OPA to enable interoperability, portability, and security approaches through the OPA standard. The OPA test bed had an operator control panel to create a single pane of glass view of the proces