Impact of ISA106 on Process Automation

One of the side discussions at the SC65E WG7 meeting in Meisdorf, Germany, May, 2012 was the work by ISA106 and its potential impact on process automation. The formation of the ISA106 committee was first announced by ISA in May, 2010. Since that time this committee has been very active. The purpose of this committe is to develop standards, recommended practices, and technical reports on the design and implementation of procedures for automating continuous process operations. As documented on the ISA106 web site, the standard developed by this committee will apply to continuous processing applications, addressing topics including:

  • Models and terminology
  • Modularization of procedural steps to foster re-use and lower TCO
  • Exception handling for abnormal situations
  • Physical, procedural, and application models
  • Process unit orientation with operational perspective
  • Recommended best practices
  • Implementation of start up, shutdown, abnormal situations, hold states, and transition logic
  • Recommended target platform (i.e. control system vs. safety system) for different types of procedures
  • Lifecycle management best practices
  • Training and certification best practices

Many of the major companies in the process industry have one or more representatives on this committee. Dow Chemical is one of the major contributors to this committee. Dow Chemical has extensive experience in automating startup, shutdown, and transition logic within continuous process in Dow plants. Dr. Yahya Nazer , Dow Chemical, is to co-chair of this committee. Also, many of the major control system manufactures such as Emerson have one or more representatives on this committee.  Dr. Maurice J. Wilkins of Yokogawa, is the managing director of ISA106.

Many of the tools that are useful in batch processing, such as modules that allow procedures to be defined using sequential function charts, can be applied directly in the implementation of transitional logic e.g. automation of continuous process grade change. However, the manner in which a continuous process is instrumented can be a barrier in automating startup and shutdown procedures in existing plants. Also, the implementation of mode and propagation of measurement quality within the control system can make a big difference in how easy it is to automate startup and shutdown procedures. In a series of blogs later this month I will drill into the different approaches that manufacturers have taken in the implementation of mode and look at how this can influence the automation of continuous processes.

If you are interested in learning more about ISA106, then I would encourage you to visit the ISA106 committee web site. Also, information is provided at that web site on how to join this committee.