I wrote a couple of times when some press releases noted support for a new PICMG InterEdge interface for open process automation applications. They’ve announced a formal agreement with OPAF to provide an “official” OPAF edge controller connectivity.


  • Partnership seeks to reduce technology integration, maintenance, and upgrade costs in the process automation industry.
  • Work supports the Open Process Automation Standard (O-PAS), a standard of The Open Group, that defines resilient and scalable process automation system architectures.
  • Collaboration establishes a multi-vendor ecosystem for interoperable, interchangeable edge hardware via specifications like InterEdge.

An explanation from the press release explains, “The partnership fills a gap in edge controller hardware that exists in the O-PAS Standard—an open architectural framework for developing industrial process automation systems, currently being defined by OPAF initiatives.”

To complete and standardize work on an edge controller performed by OPAF member Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI), The Open Group Forum evaluated several hardware standards development organizations. The OPAF Members selected PICMG to develop a new open edge hardware technology specification that defines electromechanical interoperability, interchangeability, hot plug capabilities, and compatibility with existing standards such as IEC 61499 and IEC 61131.

The result was the recently ratified InterEdge specification.

I should mention that I saw a similar PICMG computer put forward as a solution for a previous open controller standard. Unfortunately, the vendor selected made a few tweaks in its use of the standard such that its “open” controller actually would not accept cards from competitors. I am certain that OPAF and PICMG will vet suppliers more carefully.

The InterEdge specification introduces a modular open architecture that delivers state-of-the-art I/O abstraction and flexibility and in a common physical form factor. It supports the OPAF and O-PAS goals of reducing integration, maintenance, and upgrade costs in the highly fragmented and largely proprietary process control technology market.

The OPAF and PICMG relationship is ongoing, with work on new versions of the InterEdge specification already underway. Meanwhile, the Open Process Automation Forum has introduced InterEdge to its physical platform subcommittee, who plan to include the specification in an upcoming revision of the O-PAS Standard and devise a set of tests that evaluate conformance to the InterEdge specification.

The InterEdge specification is available now and can be purchased from the PICMG website for $750. 

Share This

Follow this blog

Get a weekly email of all new posts.