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OMAC and WBF To Coordinate Activities

The OMAC (Open Modular Architecture Control) Users Group (www.omac.org) and the World Batch Forum (WBF, www.wbf.org) announced plans recently to explore cooperative activities that will lead to higher manufacturing productivity for their member companies.

By leveraging the commonality between the organizations’ existing bodies of work, both groups see potential to streamline manufacturing systems integration, training and manpower productivity “by an order of magnitude.”

WBF, through the Instrumentation, Systems and Automation Society (ISA), and the OMAC Users Group, through its Guidelines, have been working in parallel to define standardized models and naming conventions for batch and discrete processes. The next step is for these user groups to leverage what they have in common and increase the commonality of language, content and structure across the total process value chain.

The initiative will kick off at the WBF’s May 16-19 meeting in Chicago with a working session to coordinate development and implementation of ISA’s SP88 and SP95 standards with OMAC’s SP88-derived PackML state model across continuous, batch and discrete processes.

Convergence

Representing WBF, David Chappell, technology leader for Procter & Gamble, cites a convergence of automation technologies and standards. “We believe that a consistent use of standards will allow different people within different operations at the same company to apply automation technologies in the same ways. This will result in lower costs, common skills levels and reduced manpower requirements,” Chappell said.

Thinus van Schoor, automation manager for SAB Miller, and executive committee member of the OMAC Packaging Workgroup, notes that most process companies also have a discrete side, such as packaging. “In today’s manufacturing environment, the fundamentals of process, batch and discrete automation technologies have more in common than ever,” van Schoor says. “The increasing need for manufacturing agility demands that we cut across the different silos and departments, speak the same language and model processes in the same way. If we can merge our process and discrete manufacturing operations, we will generate great efficiencies for our corporations.”

The two organizations invite manufacturing, automation and business leaders to participate in the groups’ first joint working session at the WBF meeting May 16-19 in Chicago. For information, interested individuals can contact WBF Executive Director Dan Cain at 314-576-1116 or cain@wbf.org, or OMAC Executive Director Keith Campbell at 717-832-0115 or ks.campbell@verizon.net.

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