An Open Letter from the Leadership of WBF, the organization for performance in manufacturing

I have been involved with WBF, which was formerly known as the World Batch Forum, for many years. I continue to be as involved as my time constraints will allow. There is no question of the value of the organization, and the continuing value it can and will provide our profession and the industries we serve. So I urge you to get involved, get your companies involved, and especially, support WBF financially.

 Dear Automation Professionals,


As many of  you may be aware, WBF was set up in 1994 to support the then emerging ISA-88 standard from a user and supplier applications perspective  – the do’s & don’ts and the people “in the know”. ISA88 is still ISA’s most successful ever standard and WBF has now become a key part of the establishment with annual conferences being held since that first one in 1994 and most of the industry’s leading figures involved in one way or another.

WBF has impacted the industry in other important ways too. The idea for ISA95 was started at a WBF North American “Meeting of the Minds” conference and it has now also become one of ISA’s most important standards. The WBF was instrumental in publishing the B2MML and BatchML schemas and also started the work on Make2Pack – which has now become ISA-88 Part 5.

Now WBF has started to become involved with the ISA106 standard for procedural automation in the continuous process industries, and in the ISA99 standard for Security for industrial automation and control systems. In addition WBF has recently published a book series based on groupings of papers over the years – initial sales are very encouraging.


WBF went through some VERY hard times during the economic downturn – to the point of almost going under (it was that close). The board had to take the tough decision to cancel our 2009 North American conference and regroup. Due to some changes in strategy over the past year or so, WBF is now back to a viable state. We will be running our 2011 conference at the end of May at the University of Delaware (see and we are hoping to get back to running our European conferences again.

However, if we all see value in WBF, it needs support. Many of the people in senior roles have been involved since that first meeting and some of the committees have one or two members. We realize that everyone is busy but WBF needs more support in several areas and would welcome new membership at all levels, no matter what your skill level. We are sending this to the ISA88, 95, 99, 101 & 106 committees as I believe that these are the ones most closely related to WBF’s goals.

 Please volunteer and contact either Bill Wray, Maurice Wilkins or Katie Elsberry (e-mails below) if you would like to help WBF to continue to provide value to the automation industry.


 Bill Wray, Chairman (

Maurice Wilkins, Past Chair (

Katie Elsberry, Executive Director WBF (