The two organizations said in a recent announcement that they are working through the final stages of a merger that would result in OMAC functioning as a subsidiary of ISA. All of the three OMAC working groups—packaging, manufacturing infrastructure and machine tools—will be included in the merger, said ISA sources. The merger is expected to be completed during this year’s first half.
Comprised of volunteer members from end-user companies, technology providers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), OMAC has in recent years made various contributions toward more open, interoperable automation control architectures. The OMAC packaging workgroup, for example, has developed common guidelines aimed at packaging equipment interoperability that have already been adopted by some suppliers.
Some automation vendors applauded the planned OMAC merger into ISA—a 33,000-member, non-profit professional organization whose activities include the publication of process industry standards.
The merger will provide benefits to end users, OEMs and automation suppliers alike, according to a statement released by Milwaukee-based Rockwell Automation Inc. (www.rockwellautomation.com). “By merging into ISA, the standards and guidelines developed by OMAC are given strength and validity,” said Mike Wagner, business development manager for the Global OEM team at Rockwell Automation. “As packaging guidelines—such as PackML—are transformed into ISA standards, they will reach further into the plant and allow manufacturers to achieve true integration between discrete and process applications.”
Likewise, at packaging automation controls vendor Elau Inc. (www.elau.com), in Schaumburg, Ill., Global Marketing Manager John Kowal called the merger “a good idea whose time has come. OMAC, as a pure play users group, will benefit from the infrastructure that an international standards organization provides,” Kowal said. “And for ISA, with its strengths in process control, it’s only logical to expand its focus to include OMAC’s discrete control guidelines for packaging and manufacturing.”
In their joint announcement of the merger plan, OMAC and ISA noted that OMAC’s mission, past activities and future activities align well with those of ISA:
OMAC’s work with representatives from discrete manufacturing companies complements ISA’s traditional strengths in the process and batch sectors
OMAC’s focus on satisfying the technical needs of end-users enhances ISA’s mission to serve the information needs of automation professionals
OMAC’s rapid development of guidelines can serve as a valuable first step toward the adoption of ANSI or IEC standards through ISA’s accredited process
OMAC’s collaborations with other industry organizations complement similar ISA relationships.