Open Process Automation

What is OPA

Open Process Automation (OPA) is an initiative to create a new generation of automation systems with a distinctly different architecture than the Distributed Control Systems (DCS) and Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) used in today’s process and factory automation strategies. To achieve the high availability and real-time performance required by automation applications, these systems have always been highly proprietary, with each system provider creating unique solutions. This is especially true at the process I/O level, controller, and core software level, generally making these systems very difficult to update or replace.  

The Open Process Automation Forum (OPAF) envisions a standards-based, open, secure, and interoperable process control architecture to achieve the following:

  • Enables access to a leading-edge capability
  • Allows integration of best-in-class components
  • Preserves asset owners' application software; Significantly lowers cost of future replacement
  • Promotes innovation and value creation
  • Applies across multiple process industries
  • Encourages innovation and value creation
  • Is commercially available
  • Is an inclusive collaboration between users and suppliers to provide the framework for an open systems architecture innovation and value creation

OPA’s goal is to bring together OT and IT technologies, utilizing standards, to reduce the Capex and Opex costs of automation. The OPA system uses components, technology, and standards to achieve the same level of high availability and performance of the existing automation strategies. The OPA standards cover the physically connected world of Input/Outputs (Distributed Control Nodes – DCN) to the core compute and user interface functions (The Advanced Compute Platform – ACP), focusing on the communications and interfaces for all of these components. These standards allow for selecting, adding, and upgrading critical components based on “best of breed” criteria and not a single supplier. Standard communication interfaces allow the addition of new applications such as machine learning and advanced process control without the high cost of today’s systems integration. The use of smaller, interchangeable I/O devices and local compute capabilities (DCNs) opens up new ways of looking at and implementing complex control strategies.

Yokogawa’s Role in OPA

OPA allows the use of components and technologies from a variety of suppliers. As an experienced system integrator, Yokogawa has spent years working with other technology suppliers to bring together world-class automation solutions. Our clients are looking for best-of-breed components, the process knowledge, and skills to blend these technologies together to achieve their desired outcomes.  

In 2017, Yokogawa established its own OPA testbed to support the development of the OPA standards. In 2019, Yokogawa, together with ExxonMobil, established an OPA testbed to evaluate components, develop and prove the standards, and provide the basis for moving OPA technology from the lab to the field. This successful testbed effort has resulted in the first OPA system designed to operate a complete chemical production facility. Through these investments, Yokogawa has established the skills required to source, integrate, deploy and support OPA technologies.

Interested in learning more about how OPA can help reduce Capex and Opex? Yokogawa has a number of active engagements helping customers learn OPA, exploring the impact on existing business (standards, workflows) and its potential benefits. Contact us for more information.




Industrial process automation has evolved significantly over the years, playing a pivotal role in improving operational efficiency, safety, cost reductions, and ensuring product quality. Traditional automation systems, however, often relied on proprietary, closed architectures, leading to vendor lock-in, interoperability challenges, and limited adaptability to changing business needs often required for enterprises to expand or progress. Industrial process automation has evolved significantly over the years, playing a pivotal role in improving operational efficiency, safety, cost reductions, and ensuring product quality.

In this Whitepaper by Mark Hammer you will learn about:

  • The movement away from proprietary, closed architectures
  • How OPA avoids vendor lock-in and interoperability challenges
  • Changing business needs requiring flexible systems to progress

Chemical Processing Special Report:  Understand  the Process of Open Process Automation

Sponsored by YOKOGAWA.




Open Process Automation Product Overview 

Product Overview

Open up control. Open Process Automation (OPA) opens the door to expanded choices, leverage, and customization.

Create a scalable, sustainable architecture. Remove the restraints of proprietary systems. OPA enables you to leverage all available technologies to open up solutions. Explore the possibilities today.


Watch Video to learn more.


In this webinar, industry-leading experts will describe how OPAF is selecting standards that will achieve the vision of truly open systems, the status of its efforts, and what this exciting change to the process automation world means to you.


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