• Targeted at Open, Modular Process Control Systems
  • Modular compute, switch, and I/O architecture enables interoperable standard for industrial PCs, PLCs, and distributed control systems.
  • Supports IEC 61499 and IEC 61131 for compatibility with a wide range of automation systems.
  • Hot-swappable modules can be replaced or upgraded while the system is running, minimizing downtime and maintenance costs.

I am trying to understand this one. Reading it for the third time, I guess the Open Process Automation Forum decided that one of its defined components among its “standard of standards” needed to be a standard. Although this “open, modular process control system” sounds eerily familiar. I hope it does help move the industry forward.

­­PICMG, the consortium for open hardware specifications, announced the release of InterEdge, a modular architecture for process control systems (PCS). The IEC 61499 and IEC 61131-compatible InterEdge specification promises to revolutionize the industry with an interoperable, multi-vendor alternative to proprietary Industrial PCs (IPCs), Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs), and Distributed Control Systems (DCSs).

Given that the OPAF initiative was begun by ExxonMobil engineering leaders, this quote is informative:

“Business needs evolve at an ever-increasing rate,” said Francisco Garcia, Americas Regional Instrument Lead at ExxonMobil Technology & Engineering Company and member of the InterEdge technical working group. “InterEdge delivers an interchangeable base hardware standard for industrial manufacturers looking to adapt to changing business needs. As a result, providers can deploy and scale dedicated physical assets and focus on value-added software and services.”

And from the press release:

InterEdge defines a vendor-neutral, open standard for edge computing and I/O module hardware. It segments hardware into Compute Modules, Switch Modules, and I/O Modules. All of these modules are connected via a common backplane, enabling easy customization and expansion of industrial automation functions.

An overview of the specification and an architecture diagram are available here. The full specification is available to purchase. 

And the reason for the standard:

By replacing proprietary edge devices, InterEdge eliminates vendor lock-in, simplifies integration and maintenance, and enables online upgrades, all of which contribute to significant cost savings.

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