Rockwell Automation Reveals New Open Process Automation Offerings 

By Amit Chowdhry ● Feb 10, 2024

Rockwell Automation (the world’s largest company dedicated to industrial automation and digital transformation) has announced significant new offerings supporting Open Process Automation. And the innovations include PlantPAx’s control platform, Embedded Edge Compute Module, FactoryTalk Optix, and FactoryTalk DataMosaix.

This solidifies the company’s commitment and peer leadership within the Open Process Automation Forum (OPAF), marking a significant stride in reshaping the future of automation. The O-PAS Standard is a standard-of-standards developed by the OPAF and aligns with the OPC Foundation’s Unified Architecture (UA) Standard.

As an automation user-driven standardization initiative, the O-PAS Standard presents a major opportunity for manufacturers to modernize their automation infrastructure, enhancing scalability, flexibility and upgradeability. And this improves capabilities over the system’s lifespan and provides investment protection by expanding system integration capabilities.

Rockwell Automation – with a history of championing open industrial automation standards – has actively invested in leading-edge technology. These investments enable the company to provide an integrated experience for both its products and those from the Rockwell Automation PartnerNetwork.

The PlantPAx Distributed Control System – which is Rockwell’s flagship offering for the process industries – stands out with a 15+ year track record of delivering DCS and information-ready capabilities utilizing an open, modular, and secure architecture. Building on this strong foundation, Rockwell Automation continues to expand its PlantPAx system capabilities.

The recent innovations include:

1.) PlantPAx’s control platform (based on the company’s Logix Controllers) now natively supports OPC-UA, facilitating direct data sharing with edge and cloud applications. Additional connectivity options are available with MQTT and REST.

2.) Embedded Edge Compute Module – which offers a compute surface within the Logix environment – enhances plant-wide connectivity through OPC-UA, MQTT, and REST API communication.

3.) FactoryTalk Optix, which is a scalable platform that can be used in PlantPAx to provide native support for OPC-UA to allow operations, maintenance, and plant personnel to visualize various information originating across the enterprise.

4.) The combination of PlantPAx and FactoryTalk DataMosaix offers a leading industrial Data Ops platform that supports OPC-UA, provides contextualization of data from multiple sources. These data models can be used to support pre-built Energy, Batch and Asset optimization solutions from Rockwell Automation or to accelerate development of custom solutions.

The alignment with open industry standards like the O-PAS standard, OPC-UA, and the Namur Module Type Package (MTP) standard enables Rockwell to address the growing market demand for scalability, modularity, and interoperability. And the company’s focus on open standards positions it to fulfill industry requirements, with ongoing support for use cases and demonstration projects across various industries.

KEY QUOTES:

“The O-PAS Standard provides an open, interoperable, and secure architecture for industrial Process Automation using existing and emerging standards whenever possible. The O-PAS Connectivity Framework (OCF), which leverages OPC-UA, is the enabler for automation users to connect and replace architecture components without needing an entirely new system installed in their facility. We are excited that product suppliers are embracing the opportunity to extend their products to communicate using the OCF.”

– Aneil Ali, Open Process Automation Forum director

“We appreciate and understand our users need for products and systems that integrate well together and allow for collaboration of edge and cloud data sources. Through working with organizations like OPAF and OPC, we will continue to invest in our systems, products and services for market-leading interoperability, longevity and performance.”

– Brian Shepherd, senior vice president, software and control, Rockwell Automation