Beckhoff Automation is now a member of The Open Group and its well-known Open Process Automation™ Forum (OPAF). OPAF is an international forum of end users, system integrators, suppliers, academia, and standards organizations who are working together to develop the specifications for utilizing open process automation technology in next-generation process control systems. As a longtime proponent of open automation technologies with a presence in oil and gas, petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, wastewater, and other process industry segments, Beckhoff is a natural fit for the organization.
“The missions of OPAF and Beckhoff go hand in hand. We believe that technologies that are inherently interoperable benefit everyone – most importantly system integrators and end users,” said Jesse Hill, Process Industry Manager for Beckhoff Automation LLC. “Beckhoff continues to deliver new solutions for process industry applications, including TwinCAT 3 software tools and hardware such as our intrinsically safe ELX EtherCAT I/O and explosion-proof CPX multi-touch Control Panels. We also offer automation solutions for the HART, NAMUR and FDT/DTM standards. Joining OPAF will enable us to respond even faster and more effectively to the challenges of today’s process engineers with powerful, open innovations.”
OPAF promotes the advantages of open standards
The Open Group, with a diverse membership of more than 800 organizations, is a global consortium that enables the achievement of business objectives through technology standards. OPAF is dedicated to helping industrial manufacturers decrease process control system cost while increasing profitability. The organization aims to simplify integration, upgrades, maintenance and cybersecurity by replacing current “black box” hardware and software with open solutions. This ensures that future automation systems meet standards of true heterogeneity and provide intrinsic security, multi-vendor interoperability and an easy pathway for systems migration.
“We at The Open Group are pleased and honored to have Beckhoff Automation join OPAF. Their collaboration and input will help further develop an interoperable process control architecture that enables access to leading-edge capabilities and integration of best-in-class components,” stated Aneil Ali, The Open Group Open Process Automation Forum Director.
A proven track record and impressive trajectory
Beckhoff has always shown a clear commitment to open automation technologies. In 2003, it released the EtherCAT industrial Ethernet system, the world’s fastest and most flexible fieldbus, and then made its details available to developers through the EtherCAT Technology Group. Beckhoff provides couplers and interfaces to more than 25 prominent field-level protocols and supports IoT communication standards such as OPC UA, MQTT, AMQP and others.
In addition to joining The Open Group, Beckhoff is working to meet growing demand in the process industry by expanding its process-focused engineering teams and facilities in the U.S.
“Our new 8,700-square-foot Process Industry Technical Center will officially open in 2021 in Houston – the global center for oil and gas – and it will include an expansive training space and a state-of-the-art showroom,” Hill said. “We also opened a new Milwaukee office in the Global Water Center, the headquarters of The Water Council, another process-focused organization that we are a proud member of. With these developments, Beckhoff continues to show the process marketplace that we are a serious provider of open and scalable solutions.”