OMAC members OK merger; ISA executive board to vote Feb. 24
Orlando, FL—Members of the Open Modular Architecture Controls (OMAC) Users Group have unanimously approved merging with ISA, the Instrumentation, Systems, and Automation Society.
Orlando, FL— Members of the Open Modular Architecture Controls ( OMAC ) Users Group have unanimously approved merging with ISA , the Instrumentation, Systems, and Automation Society. The vote (via email and 3x5-in. index cards) was 20 for, zero against, among the 38 end-user member companies, tallied here on Feb. 3. ISA’s executive board is expected to vote on Feb. 24, for the final stamp of approval.
OMAC will remain an independent, wholly owned subsidiary of ISA, a point emphasized during a question-and-answer session with members before the vote. Vendor members (non-binding) also voted, bringing the total vote count up to 45 for and two against, according to Andrew McDonald, OMAC’s Advisory Board member. Control Engineering spoke to one vendor who said he voted no, favoring OMAC independence and expressing concern with ISA’s process instrumentation origins, compared to OMAC’s discrete control roots.
McDonald reassured members before the final tally that OMAC would retain its identity, bylaws, self-determination, and end-user leadership; plan its strategies and budgets; and gain backing of ISA’s strength and infrastructure, which should help pick up the pace a bit at the all-volunteer OMAC, suggested McDonald. “Hey, we all have day jobs!” he added; his is global automation & control manager for Unilever.
“I thought it was a natural to bring the two organizations together,” added Don Zee, ISA’s president (also a volunteer role, he pointed out). “ISA will provide start-up assistance, and financial support. Our strength has been in instrumentation, process, and batch standards. As I began to hear the functions and activities of OMAC, the parallels are almost identical.”
Robert Renner, ISA’s executive director, told OMAC members that ISA’s executive board would need to approve the subsidiary, then incorporate and register OMAC, and work with the organization to refine and execute an implementation plan, which will include some discussion of future funding. “We feel we can be catalyst to help you achieve what you have started and allow you to maintain the entrepreneurial spirit.” Besides an influx of ISA funds, OMAC might receive U.S. government grants and enjoy other benefits of incorporation, such as logos, trade names, phones, ability to cut checks, and have more regular meetings. If finalized, ISA gets a seat on OMAC’s executive board, and seems likely to benefit from continued diversification beyond instrumentation.
One idea for new OMAC funding is to have member company membership, McDonald suggested, perhaps something like $1,000, $5,000, or $7,000 in annual corporate funding. How ISA membership would affect that hadn’t been thought through, he admitted.
OMAC wrote its first document in 1994, as a joint effort of Chrysler, Ford, and GM. The organization formed in 1997, and it diversified in 2003 to include Machine Tools Workgroup, Packaging Workgroup, and the Manufacturing Infrastructure Workgroup. Workgroup meetings continued through Feb. 4, after ARC Advisory Group’s “Performance Driven Manufacturing Forum,” held here Jan. 31-Feb. 3. ARC noted that it expects to continue to lend support to OMAC through active participation, but would likely turn over things like list administration and maintenance of www.omac.org .
Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Mark T. Hoske, editor-in-chief