Imagine a world without electrical standards, such as 110 V at 60 Hz, or 220 V at 50 Hz, or a world where every phone had a different type of connection and required a different type of switchboard. Just as these standards are critical to the basic functioning of electrical equipment, there are also IT standards used daily to ensure optimal functioning of production systems in the process industries.
There are four production-related IT standards of special interest to the processing industries:
- The ANSI/ISA 88 standard on batch control;
- The ANSI/ISA 95 standard for MES and ERP-to-MES communication;
- The ANSI/ISA 99 technical reports in industrial cyber security; and
- The new ANSI/ISA 106 technical report on procedure automation.
These standards and technical reports define the best practices for implementing automated and manual control on the systems that reside above the PLC (programmable logic controller) and DCS (distributed control system) level, and which perform the basic control that keep production running. These four standards all share a common view of a production facility, providing a consistent terminology that makes it easier to compare plants within a company and across companies.
The ANSI/ISA 88 standard defines the most common and effective method for defining control systems for batch operations or for continuous and discrete startups and shutdowns.
The ANSI/ISA 95 standard defines the most commonly used method for exchanging information between ERP systems, such as SAP or Oracle, and the multitude of shop floor systems. It has also become the de facto standard for defining MES (manufacturing execution system) and MOM (manufacturing operations management) specifications.
The ANSI/ISA 99 reports define structures and policies for designing effective and secure networked production facilities.
The new ISA 106 reports define the procedural control strategy for continuous production during upsets, switchovers, and other types of process changes.
Because these standards establish a commonly accepted terminology, functions and process models by which technical professionals are trained, and upon which solution providers develop applications used in batch and process production operations (as well as discrete manufacturing), they should be of particular interest to those who are new to the field and those seeking a refresher on the fundamentals of industrial processes.