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First Standard Approved in ISA Industrial Wireless Series

Following additional steps, including ratification by the American National Standards Institute, ISA100 Committee co-chairs are hopeful that the standard will be published by ISA in August.

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The International Society of Automation ( announced on April 27 that the ISA100 Standards Committee on Wireless Systems for Automation has voted to approve a major new industry standard—ISA100.11a, “Wireless Systems for Industrial Automation: Process Control and Related Applications.”

The approval, by 81 percent of the voting members of the committee, including 23 of the 24 end-user members, follows two rounds of balloting and refinements to the document to reflect the suggestions received from many interested parties, the ISA said.

“We have passed a major milestone with the Committee vote approving the ISA100.11a draft standard,” said ISA100 co-chair Pat Schweitzer of ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Co., Fairfax, Va. “Once the remaining steps in the process are complete, end-users around the world will have an accredited ANSI/ISA wireless standard which has been developed in an open forum that is the hallmark of ISA standards development.”

Next steps

Comments received in the latest voting will be reviewed for applicability by Schweitzer and co-chair Wayne Manges, of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tenn. Other steps remaining in ISA’s consensus-based standards development process include approval by the ISA Standards and Practices Board and ratification by the American National Standards Institute, of which ISA is an accredited member. The co-chairs are hopeful the standard will be published by ISA in August.

With more than 600 members from around the world, ISA100 brings together wireless experts representing diverse industrial and technical interests in an open forum. The committee was established in 2005 by ISA to address wireless manufacturing and control systems in areas including:
• The environment in which the wireless technology is deployed
• Technology and lifecycle for wireless equipment and systems
• The application of wireless technology.

The Committee’s focus is to improve the confidence in, integrity of, and availability of components and systems used for manufacturing or control, and to provide criteria for procuring and implementing wireless technology in the control system environment.

“I thank the leaders and members of the ISA100 working group that led the development of the standard, the editors who worked tirelessly to respond to reviewer comments throughout the process, and the entire committee membership for its contributions,” said Manges.

What it does

The ISA100.11a standard is intended to provide reliable and secure wireless operation for non-critical monitoring, alerting, supervisory control, open-loop control and closed-loop control applications. The standard will define the protocol suite, system management, gateway and security specifications for low-data-rate wireless connectivity with fixed, portable and moving devices supporting very limited power consumption requirements. The application focus is to address the performance needs of applications such as monitoring and process control where latencies on the order of 100 milliseconds can be tolerated, with optional behavior for shorter latency.

To meet the needs of industrial wireless users and operators, the ISA100.11a standard will provide robustness in the presence of interference found in harsh industrial environments and with legacy non-ISA100-compliant wireless systems. This standard addresses coexistence with other wireless devices anticipated in the industrial workspace, such as cell phones and devices based on IEEE 802.11x, IEEE 802.15x, IEEE 802.16x, and other relevant standards. Further, the standard allows for interoperability of ISA100 devices.

This standard does not define or specify plant infrastructure or its security or performance characteristics. However, it is important that the security of the plant infrastructure be assured by the end-user, the ISA concluded.

International Society of Automation

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