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Automation Federation Established

WBF and OMAC are charter members of The Automation Federation, which aims to advance the automation profession.

The Instrumentation, Systems and Automation Society (ISA) announced on March 24 that its Executive Board has approved the establishment of The Automation Federation as an umbrella organization under which associations and societies engaged in manufacturing and process automation activities can work more effectively to fulfill their missions. The Automation Federation will be operational by the end of June, the ISA said.

The two initial charter members of The Automation Federation are the WBF, formerly the World Batch Forum, and OMAC, the Open Modular Architecture Control Users Group. OMAC has had a formal affiliation with ISA since March last year.

The intention to create the Automation Federation was first made public on March 6 at the WBF 2006 North American Conference in Atlanta. During that Conference, the WBF membership approved the concept of joining The Automation Federation, though the new body at the time was referred to as The Automation Alliance.

Operational construct

At the WBF Conference, ISA President Ken Baker described the new body as “an operational construct” where both WBF and OMAC will be positioned outside the ISA structure. The arrangement will enable WBF and OMAC to operate as they have operated in the past, Baker said, while gaining the benefits of society management and access to funding. ISA is expected to provide a staff member to oversee Automation Federation activities, along with other amenities.

During private conversations at the WBF Conference, various WBF members said that the arrangement will be good for WBF as a way to obtain funding to improve marketing, training and other activities—as long at the WBF is able to maintain independence, and not come under “control” of the ISA. The arrangement will allow for that independence, they said.

In its March 24 announcement, the ISA said that The Automation Federation will coordinate the work of member organizations engaged in advancement of the science and engineering of automation technologies and applications. The common objectives of the member organizations are to:

• promote the value and image of the automation profession in contributing to manufacturing effectiveness and efficiency

• facilitate the development and dissemination of educational and informational resources intended to develop new generations of automation professionals, enhance the effectiveness of existing professionals and advance the automation profession

• facilitate the promulgation of industry standards that enhance the efficiency, cost-effectiveness and safety of automation technology and application.

The Automation Federation will provide industry wide strategic analysis and coordination through its member organizations, the ISA said. The Federation will provide technical management, administration and integrated services such as seminars, Web conferences, training and conference services to be shared among participating organizations.

Open to all

“I’m excited about the formation of The Automation Formation,” said Baker. “The membership of The Federation will be open to all organizations interested in promoting the development, implementation and commercialization of automation technologies. I’m delighted that WBF has chosen to join with ISA and OMAC to establish the new umbrella group. Our collaboration is sure to create added value for automation professionals worldwide.”

Maurice Wilkins, WBF Chairman, added, “By joining with other non-profit organizations with similar interests, WBF and the other alliance organizations can better collaborate, interact and leverage the resources of a common support staff to provide better services to all their respective members.”

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