OMAC planning to merge with ISA

Research Triangle Park, NC—The Instrumentation, Systems, and Automation Society (ISA) has confirmed that the Open Modular Architecture Controls (OMAC) Users’ Group is expected to vote Feb. 3 to merge with ISA.


Research Triangle Park, NC— The Instrumentation, Systems, and Automation has confirmed that the Open Modular Architecture Controls (OMAC) Users’ Group is expected to vote Feb. 3 to merge with ISA. The vote is expected at OMAC’s upcoming annual membership meeting, which will be held during the upcoming ARC Advisory Group Forum in Orlando, FL. ISA’s executive board is likely approve the merger by the end of February.

Because of its growing activity level, OMAC has been seeking ways to become a more formal, established organization. However, because it aoso didn’t want to incorporate as a standalone entity, OMAC reportedly has been talking since mid-2004 about aligning with another organization. OMAC has been administered by ARC, which is expected to continue to have a role in the group.

ISA adds that the two organizations intend to combine their missions to aid industry in the successful development and application of automation technologies. The merger reportedly will allow both organizations to build on their respective strengths.

OMAC and ISA presently are working through the final stages of organizing the merger, which will likely result in OMAC retaining its name and functioning as a subsidiary of ISA. Remaining steps of the merger should be completed in the first half of 2005.

OMAC reports that its mission, past activities, and future activities are well aligned with ISA. Their similar goals and efforts include:

  • 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 towards the adoption of ANSI or IEC standards through ISA’s accredited process.

  • OMAC’s collaborations with other industry organizations complement similar ISA relationships.

Rockwell Automation adds that it fully supports of OMAC and ISA planned merger, as well as the corresponding adaptation of OMAC’s PackML guidelines into the ISA-SP88 standard for batch control systems. Company officials say the merger will provide benefits to end-users, OEMs and automation suppliers alike. “Merging into ISA gives the standards and guidelines developed by OMAC strength and validity,” says Mike Wagner, business development manager for Rockwell’s Global OEM team. “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.” &?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />&o:p>&/o:p>


Rockwell adds that, while OMAC has, to this point, focused on packaging applications, merging its work into ISA-SP88 will allow OMAC guidelines to broaden and apply to other discrete applications in addition to packaging, such as converting or material handling. This integration and broadening of standards, in turn, will empower manufacturers to optimize entire plants, bridge traditional information gaps in automation and meet emerging requirements, such as tracking and tracing. “For OEMs and suppliers like Rockwell Automation, the merger between OMAC and ISA removes barriers that, in the past, have made it difficult for different parts of a plant to work together,” adds Wagner. “This merger allows OEMs and suppliers to focus on true points of innovation, such as developing control technologies and simplifying machine operation while enhancing machine performance and ability.”


OMAC was formed to create an organization through which companies could work together to: establish a repository of open architecture control requirements and operating experience from users, software developers, hardware builders and OEMs; facilitate accelerated convergence of industry and government developed Application Program Interfaces (APIs) to one set, satisfying common use requirements; collaborate with European and Japanese user groups in pursuit of a common international API standard; promote open architecture control development among control builders; and derive common solutions collectively for both technical and non-technical issues in the development, implementation, and commercialization of open architecture control technologies.

ISA is a global, nonprofit, educational organization connecting people and ideas in automation. The society fosters advancement in the theory, design, manufacture, and use of sensors, instruments, computers, and systems for automation in a wide variety of applications. In addition to hosting the largest conferences and exhibitions for automation in the Western Hemisphere, ISA is a leading technical training organization and a respected publisher of books, magazines, and standards. ISA also serves the professional development and certification needs of industry professionals and practitioners with its Certified Automation Professional (CAP), Certified Control Systems Technician (CCST), and Certified Industrial Maintenance Mechanics (CIMM) programs; and the Control Systems Engineers (CSE) license. Founded in 1945, ISA has expanded its technical and geographical reach to become a resource for 33,000 members and thousands of other professionals and practitioners in more than 110 countries worldwide.

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Jim Montague, news editor

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