Principles of Operation at ISA100 Vancouver Meeting

Sept. 27, 2007
In spite of the WirelessHART standard getting out of the gate first, the ISA100 standards committee is continuing its work.

At a recent meeting in Vancouver, the ISA100.11a Principles of Operation were affirmed by all of the task groups for release to the committee for review and comment. The schedule for the standard also was reaffirmed.

The ISA100.11a Principles of Operation is a brief, non-detailed overview of the draft ISA100.11a standard as it is currently envisioned. This document is not a normative document from ISA100.11a, nor does it define all technical aspects of the final draft standard. The ISA100.11a editorial group wrote this document to provide a cohesive overview and summary of the individual task group resolutions at this point in time. The details of operation are not present in this document; rather these details will be defined in the draft standard document.

“We had tremendous user support at the meeting, which is a very important component of our standards work,” said ISA100 chair Wayne Manges of Oak Ridge National Labs. “This standard is for the end user, so the more end user input we have, the better our standard will be.”

After the meeting, however, a group of nearly 30 committee members, including both vendors and end users signed an open letter repudiating the document.

The ISA100 initial standard (ISA100.11a is the working designation) is currently in development and focuses on wireless monitoring and alerting needs for the process industries. ISA100 for Process Automation is intended to provide reliable and secure operation for non-critical monitoring, alerting, supervisory control, open loop control and “soft” closed loop control applications. The standard defines the OSI stack, system management, gateway and security specifications for low-data rate wireless connectivity with fixed, portable and moving devices with no battery or very limited battery consumption requirements. The standard is scheduled for release in early 2008.

As one of the next steps, the committee will hold an interest meeting in conjunction with ISA EXPO 2007, October 2-4 in Houston, Texas.

The ISA100 Integration Working Group is leading the effort to add additional standards to the ISA100 family. There is considerable controversy over whether this step is advisable. Some possibly acrimonious discussion is expected at the Houston meetings as well as online.

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