Automation Standards Compliance Institute launches open membership drive

Feb. 5, 2008

Research Triangle Park, N.C., February 4 - The ISA100 Wireless Compliance Institute, an organization that is part of the Automation Standards Compliance Institute, has begun an open membership program for all interested parties.

Industry leaders from major manufacturing and automation control system users and suppliers have formed the ISA100 Wireless Compliance Institute to establish essential specifications and processes to be used in the testing and certification of wireless products and systems for the ISA100 family of wireless standards. The organization aims to decrease the time, costs and risks of developing and deploying standards-based, industrial wireless devices and systems by establishing a collaborative, industry-based program among users, suppliers and other stakeholders. Current sponsors of the Institute include Airsprite, Honeywell, Invensys, NIVIS, Shell, Shenyang Institute of Automation and Yokogawa.

The ISA100 Wireless Compliance Institute will conduct independent testing and certification of wireless devices and systems for the ISA100 Wireless Systems for Industrial Automation standards. The Institute will provide education and technical support to users and suppliers in the design, certification, deployment and management of wireless devices and systems that utilize the ISA100 family of standards. This effort will accelerate the market adoption of the ISA100 standard by certifying that wireless devices and systems meet a common set of specifications for assured interoperability.

"The ISA100 Wireless Compliance Institute is incredibly important for end users in our industry," said David Kaufman of Honeywell. "A well-designed and managed product certification process will reduce cost, time, and risk for users selecting and deploying wireless products and systems. It's also important for suppliers and integrators, who can improve their time to market and lower their development and integration costs with a single compliance framework and an ISA100 Wireless-Compliant stamp of certification."

A document intended for specifying the test cases and test points for the ISA100.11a standard is currently under development. The ISA100.11a standard will provide an interoperable environment for wireless devices, and the Institute's test specification will assess their performance. Areas to be tested are the standard technology layers including application, transport, network, data link and physical, as well as major system components, including security manager, system manager and gateway, the document's scope, objectives, development process, review process and schedule have been approved by the current members of the Institute.

"Development of the test specification will parallel the development of the ISA100.11a standard," said ISA100 co-chair Wayne Manges of ORNL. "The development work that the standard committee is working on will feed the compliance work, and the work that the Institute is doing will help our working groups to better focus on the standard. As each draft of ISA100.11a is released, the Institute's compliance engineers will provide feedback to improve the overall technology in the standard as well as make sure that we're developing a very testable standard."

The test specification development schedule includes several milestones, with a first review of the draft test specification already completed and a second review scheduled for the end of February. The first full draft of the test specification will be complete in early April, in parallel with the release of the first full draft of the ISA100.11a standard for working group ballot. The second test specification draft will be released in early June, after edits are made based on the ISA100.11a working group ballot responses.

"It's important that companies interested in becoming members of the ISA100 Wireless Compliance Institute join at this stage of development," said Automation Standards Compliance Institute Managing Director Andre Ristaino. "Industry leaders who join the Institute can help define the model for how products and systems will become compliant and contribute to test specifications and wireless test kits. Our supplier members can ensure that their products or systems are going to be compliant the first time they're tested, and users will ensure that their specific needs are met for assured out-of-the-box interoperability in their plants."