OPC Foundation launches new Working Group to specify an I/O Device Profile for OPC UA Field eXchange


Nuremberg, Germany – January 24, 2023 – The OPC Foundation, a global consortium that develops and maintains standards for industrial automation, is pleased to announce the formation of a new working group to develop an I/O Device Profile for OPC UA and the extensions for the field level, named OPC UA FX (Field eXchange). The group aims to create a standardized profile for I/O devices used in industrial automation applications, allowing for seamless interoperability between controllers, such as PLC and DCS systems,  and remote I/O devices, including modular I/Os.

More than 50 experts from more than 30 member companies of the OPC Foundation have signed up for the kick-off meeting of this new working group which was held on December 11, 2023 and confirmed Rosh Sreedharan (Rockwell Automation) and Mark Nixon (Emerson) as initial working group chairs.

“The OPC Foundation has always been at the forefront of developing standards that enable interoperability and connectivity in the industrial automation space,” said Stefan Hoppe, President and Executive Director of the OPC Foundation. “With the formation of this new working group, we are taking a major step forward in enabling seamless interoperability between different I/O devices and systems, which will benefit the entire industry.”

To begin this work, a new OPC UA I/O Working Group is being established by the OPC Foundation, under the leadership of the Field Level Communications (FLC) Initiative. Participation in the working group is open to members of the OPC Foundation. Many well-known manufacturers in the process and factory automation industries are represented within this working group to ensure that I/O devices can be easily integrated into different automation systems and environments.

“Extending the OPC UA Framework with an I/O Device Profile is important to ensure cross-vendor interoperability and common semantics for the Controller-to-Device use cases in Factory and Process Automation, while at the same time supporting OPC UA as a fully scalable technology from the sensor across all levels to MES / ERP and also to the cloud,” stated Peter Lutz, Director FLC Initiative at OPC Foundation.

In order to achieve inter-vendor interoperability of I/O devices, the working group will add to the UAFX base specifications the definition of interfaces and behaviors which are typical for I/O devices. The new I/O device profile will use PubSub and can be combined with different underlying communication protocols (e.g. UDP/IP or Raw Ethernet) and physical layers (e.g. Ethernet-APL) to support all relevant use cases in discrete and process manufacturing, including safety I/Os based on OPC UA Safety and deterministic data exchange based on Ethernet Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN), where appropriate. The working group will also strive to manage overlap with other information models already released or under development. Examples include the models for Motion and Instrumentation.

Further information can be downloaded from the OPCF’s website:



About the OPC Foundation:
Since 1996, the OPC Foundation has facilitated the development and adoption of the OPC information exchange standards. As both advocate and custodian of these specifications, the Foundation’s mission is to help industry vendors, end-users, and software developers maintain interoperability in their manufacturing and automation assets. The OPC Foundation is dedicated to providing the best specifications, technology, process, and certification to achieve multivendor, multiplatform, secure, reliable, interoperability for moving data and information from the embedded world to the enterprise cloud. The Foundation serves over 970 members worldwide in the Industrial Automation, IT, IoT, IIoT, M2M, Industrie 4.0, Building Automation, machine tools, pharmaceutical, petrochemical, oil & gas, water treatment, and Smart Energy sectors.

For more information about the OPC Foundation, please visit www.opcfoundation.org

About the Field Level Communications Initiative:
The following companies are members of the Field Level Communications Steering Committee, providing both technical and much appreciated financial support: ABB, Beckhoff, Rexroth, B&R, Emerson, Festo, Hilscher, Hirschmann, Huawei, Intel, Kuka, Lenze, Mitsubishi Electric, Molex, Moxa, Murrelektronik, Omron, Phoenix Contact, Pilz, Rockwell Automation, Schneider Electric, Siemens, Wago, Yokogawa. The technical working groups of the Field Level Communications Initiative are open to all OPC Foundation members.

For more information, contact:

Peter Lutz
Director Field Level Communications, OPC Foundation

Stefan Hoppe
President and Executive Director, OPC Foundation