Rockwell Expands Open Process Automation Capabilities

Rockwell Automation, Inc. has announced significant new offerings supporting Open Process Automation™. Particularly, innovations include PlantPAx’s control platform, Embedded Edge Compute Module, FactoryTalk Optix, and FactoryTalk DataMosaix.

This move solidifies the company’s commitment and peer leadership within the Open Process Automation™ Forum (OPAF). Thus, 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.  

“The O-PAS™ Standard provides an open, interoperable, and secure architecture for industrial Process Automation using existing and emerging standards whenever possible,” said Aneil Ali, Open Process Automation™ Forum director.

In addition, Ali said the O-PAS™ Connectivity Framework (OCF), which leverages OPC-UA, is the enabler for automation users to connect and replace architecture components. This is without needing an entirely new system installed in their facility.

Image Credit: Rockwell Automation

Modernize Automation Infrastructure

As an automation user-driven standardization initiative, the O-PAS Standard presents a golden opportunity for manufacturers to modernize their automation infrastructure, enhancing scalability, flexibility, and upgradeability. 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. Accordingly, these investments enable the company to provide an integrated experience for both its products and those from the Rockwell Automation PartnerNetwork™.  

“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,” said Brian Shepherd, senior vice president, software and control, Rockwell Automation.

Flagship Offering  

The PlantPAx® Distributed Control System, Rockwell’s flagship offering for the process industries, stands out with a 15+ year track record. Particularly, leveraging an open, modular, and secure architecture. Building on this strong foundation, Rockwell Automation continues to expand its PlantPAx system capabilities. Recent innovations include:

  • 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. 
  • Embedded Edge Compute Module, which provides a compute surface within the Logix environment, enhances plant-wide connectivity through OPC-UA, MQTT, and REST API communication. 
  • FactoryTalk® Optix™, 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.
  • The combination of PlantPAx and FactoryTalk® DataMosaix™ provides a leading industrial Data Ops platform that supports OPC-UA, provides contextualization of data from multiple sources. The 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 allows Rockwell to address the growing market demand for scalability, modularity, and interoperability. Moreover, 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.