At the first night dinner at the WBF 2011 North American Conference, I presented the award of induction into the Process Automation Hall of Fame to two of the three inductees: John Berra, retired CEO of Emerson Process Management and Dr Maurice Wilkins, vice president of global marketing services for Yokogawa Electric Corp. The third inductee, Dr Sigurd Skogestad, from Norway, was unable to be present. He sent his thanks, and a nomination for the Class of 2012.
As I said in my introduction, the thread that is common to both Berra and Wilkins is significant involvement in standards development, both for ISA and others. Berra is responsible for donating the HART intellectual property to an independent foundation, and then he did the same thing for fieldbus, Our industry would be radically different if he hadn't done those things. He took a huge risk, as he talked about in his keynote speech for WBF, in convincing former Emerson Electric CEO Chuck Knight to give him the money to develop what became deltaV.
Wilkins has been a plant engineer (more than once), an industry analyst, and a vendor employee for several companies including Honeywell before ending up at Yokogawa as vice president for global marketing services. Wilkins has been working on, and developing, modular procedural automation and batch systems. He also served as Chair of WBF for five years.
WBF is no longer "World Batch Forum." This shows in the tagline on the logo, "the organization for production technology" AND in the types of presentations that have been made at the last two conferences. WBF is no longer talking about how to do batch. Now they are talking about adapting the learnings of the past dozen years with ISA88 and ISA95 into non-traditional applications. They are talking about ISA106--the procedure-based-automation standard. This is a real seachange...
So we have had presentations on procedural automation in packaging and filling, as told by Dennis Brandl; User Interface Design for batch applications-- widely applicable to non-batch procedural applications-- by Bruce Kane and Wayne Gaafar of Honeywell. David Goodman of Avid Solutions talked about a plantwide MES implementation in a parenteral pharma plant that used the benefits of batch and procedure controlled automation. Marcus Tennant of Yokogawa presented a group of application case studies that showed that the nascent ISA106 standard will have a huge effect on the way we operate plants, our work practices and workflow, and how it is possible to increase throughput, speed of response, MOC and safety.
And that was all before lunch.