The concept of collaborative process automation systems (CPAS) was developed by the ARC Advisory Group. CPAS offer a single, unified environment for the presentation of information to the operator as well as the ability to present information in context "to the right people at the right time" from any point within the system. Distributed control systems (DCSs) evolved into process automation systems (PAS) by the inclusion of additional functionality beyond basic control. The evolution of PAS into CPAS is thought to add more capability. Process automation systems (PAS) will be considered the sentinel of plant performance in the next phase of their evolution. They will continue to facilitate process control but are expected to become the primary source of manufacturing data and information for collaborative manufacturing management (CMM) applications all within a robust environment.
CPAS are designed according to the CPAS Guiding Principles as defined by ARC: