ISA Expo 2004: OPC, ISA, MIMOSA define vision for manufacturing operations

Houston—To increase efficiency and visibility of manufacturing within organizations, three industry groups have agreed upon one vision for “Condition Based Operations in Manufacturing,” the title of a white paper from the OpenO&M For Manufacturing Working Group, released here Oct. 5, at ISA 2004.

By Control Engineering Staff October 7, 2004

Houston —To increase efficiency and visibility of manufacturing within organizations, three industry groups have agreed upon one vision for “ Condition Based Operations in Manufacturing ,” the title of a white paper from the OpenO&M For Manufacturing Working Group, released here Oct. 5, at ISA 2004.

About 30 major industry firms now express support for a unified framework, including major automation vendors and Microsoft Corp. Because creating a framework for that level of integration is difficult for any company or even a single industry organization to create, the working group continues its efforts. Impact could reach from the device to the enterprise and back again, and incorporate multiple platforms, including Linux. In manufacturing, condition-based operations (CBO) enable operational planning and scheduling with a forecast of actual availability and capability of required assets. “This allows production planners and operations staff to establish economically optimal production plans, empowering them to directly contribute to the economic goals of the enterprise,” the group explains.

The working group was formed a year ago at ISA Expo 2003 by the Instrumentation Systems and Automation Society (ISA), MIMOSA (An Operations and Maintenance Open Systems Alliance) and OPC Foundation (OPC). The group says its mission is to “enable open and interoperable O&M solutions spanning from the factory floor through the enterprise. The OpenO&M For Manufacturing Joint Working Group will harmonize standards from participating organizations, enabling practical interoperability amongst the many required devices, tools, and systems in a vendor, product, and platform-neutral basis.”

In explaining the need for the collaborating on CBO, the working group highlights the need for more effective integration of a broad variety of O&M information. In a statement issued with the announcement, the working group says, “The human analogy is the need to know the health prognosis of specific individuals, not just averages for humans of a similar age. A human that is considered to be in the critical path for many important activities will normally have comprehensive and continuous efforts to monitor health, prognose it, and risk-manage it through a variety of forms of insurance, redundancies, or other compensating strategies that are now taken for granted. CBO enables a similar discipline for critical path assets in all types of asset intensive applications including manufacturing. It requires the near real-time fusion of large amounts of data, information, and knowledge from a wide variety of dissimilar multi-vendor systems.”

Keith Unger, ISA SP95 committee chair said: “I am extremely pleased that this collaborative effort has finished the first deliverable. The SP95 committee is just beginning its work on Part 4 of the ANSI/ISA S95 standard and I expect the SP95 committee will be able to build on the OpenO&M initiative and complete the standard effort much more quickly then we would have by working alone.” In separate comments, Unger says S95 aims to create a framework for integrating business and manufacturing, reducing risk, cost, and errors in doing so. “The holy grail is interoperable control systems,” he says.

Thomas Burke, OPC Foundation president and executive director said: “The OPC Foundation is excited to be part of this joint working group. OPC is the process industry open standard for accessing real-time plant floor information from a wide variety of measurement and control systems. This collaboration is key to delivering seamless integration of operations and asset management information from the plant across the enterprise.” In related comments, Burke said OPC UA (unified architecture) will be the “how for moving what,” helping to make enterprise integration a reality. Prior OPC efforts have enabled information exchange, avoiding a lot of custom software code. New tools, like UA, Burke says, are needed to incorporate Web services and retire DCOM. UA also will allow continued use of DCOM-based servers until they’re retired or upgraded.

Alan Johnston, MIMOSA president said: “I am excited to see this first deliverable expressing a joint vision for CBO in manufacturing, but I am even more pleased to see the associated standards harmonization work that will enable the development of CBO and other O&M solutions based on our open information standards. The collaborative development of reference implementation models leveraging our harmonized standards is a key step in the process of establishing systems that provide more effective enterprise integration spanning from the factory floor to the boardroom.” Johnston told Control Engineering that on the top and bottom of the enterprise other aggregation efforts are underway to aggregate information flow. The working group’s efforts will help ease integration of the “wild west of creativity” in-between, he suggests.

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—Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering editor in chief,