Convergence Marches ON!

A long awaited and welcome announcement from ISA:

Manufacturing Interoperability Guideline Working Group - A Collaborative Venture of ISA, MIMOSA, OAGi, OPC, and WBF

Research Triangle Park, NC (23 March 2006) - The creation of the Manufacturing Interoperability Guideline Working Group, a collaborative venture of ISA, MIMOSA, OAGi, OPC, and WBF, was announced today. The Working Group is the next step in the previous announcement by the Open Applications Group and ISA-SP95 to converge their standards for manufacturing interoperability by working to support the OpenO&MTM Initiative. This group will develop an industry guideline that defines generic business process models between the operations management and business layers of the manufacturing support system. The guideline will be applicable to process, discrete, and mixed-mode manufacturers. It will reflect a convergence of the manufacturing interoperability standards work underway within ISA SP95, OAGi, WBF, MIMOSA, and OPC. The guideline will facilitate development of reusable integration software components for processes in the form of web services in an open standard XML format. "Many enterprises today are struggling with the myriad of standards available to them and often do not know which standards they should be using," said David Connelly, CEO of the Open Applications Group. "Many of our OAGIS users are using both ISA-95 and OAGIS and we are excited to participate in this initiative that will simplify their efforts and provide our customers with a common solution." "Delivery of the ISA-95 set of standards will be greatly accelerated by the customer driven requirements of this collaboration" said Keith Unger, of Stone Technologies and chair of the ISA-SP95 enterprise -control system integration committee. "We want to leverage our best contributors from all of these relevant efforts and provide a better standard for our customers." "In establishing this working group, we are pledging to collaborate in manufacturing interoperability standards development efforts and apply the resources of our respective organizations toward a common goal," said Maurice Wilkins, Chairman of WBF. In order to assure that the working group addresses issues that reflect market need, a Customer Advisory Council has been created. The council will be composed of representatives from end-user companies in process, discrete, and mixed-mode manufacturing. The council will collaborate and agree upon a recommended, prioritized list of business processes (scenarios) to be addressed by the working group. These business processes will be documented as simple interface data flows and prioritized by the council to provide guidance and support to the working group. The council will identify industry specific needs and business scenarios with areas of overlap across industries. The group will work to classify the underlying technologies to support deployment of standards based software components as Web Services. It will also explore interoperability standards and guidelines and software deployment strategies to ensure a viable and unified market opportunity is available to the software suppliers. "Broad based support is needed among manufacturing customer organizations to support standards development and deployment activities," said Gary Sullivan of BWXT and chair of the customer advisory council. "The success of this effort and future development of standards based software components is dependent upon demonstrating a strong market need and customer commitment." "This end user customer guidance and support is critical, because it can lead to suppliers implementing the guideline in the form of commercial product," said Greg Gorbach of ARC, which has facilitated the creation of the customer council. "It's also important that the working group leverage the customer advisory council to establish appropriate linkages with vertical industry groups so that the initiative reaches broad industry segments." At this time, ISA, MIMOSA, OAGi, OPC, and WBF are the principal member organizations of the working group. The initial guideline will be reflect convergence of the work of ISA, OAGi, and WBF and will be the basis for future alignment with the OPC Unified Architecture model, the MIMOSA open systems architecture, and the PackML work of OMAC. "We look forward to contributing to the work of this group to help enable standards-based interoperability for operations and maintenance related applications including the ultimate alignment with our work on open system architectures for enterprise application integration," said MIMOSA President Alan Johnston. Tom Burke, OPC Foundation President, added, "This working group epitomizes our mission of ensuring interoperability in automation by creating and maintaining open specifications." The Working Group will meet initially in April, and is striving to issue interim schemas in 2006 and the guideline by mid-2007. The completed guideline will be jointly copyrighted by the member organizations, but will be made available for public use royalty free.

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