ISA, The Open Group cooperate on development of control architecture

Aug. 7, 2018
Interoperability and cybersecurity goals drive partnership

The International Society of Automation and The Open Group have agreed to a liaison Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to facilitate cooperation in advancing and harmonizing the development of a multivendor, interoperable, secure control architecture for application across the process industries. Activities will include sharing of best practices, document review and joint forums.

The Open Group is an industry consortium of more than 625 companies and organizations that develops open, vendor-neutral technology standards and certifications. The new liaison agreement specifically pertains to The Open Group Open Process Automation Forum (OPAF), which is focused on developing a standards-based, open, secure, interoperable process control architecture.

ISA, a member association of approximately 40,000 automation professionals worldwide, is best known for developing American National Standards in an open consensus process accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The Geneva-based International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) has adopted many of ISA’s American National Standards as international standards.

Key ISA/IEC standards on cybersecurity and enterprise-control integration are primary motivating factors in the agreement, says Dennis Brandl, co-chair of the OPAF Standards Working Group and chair of the OPAF Technology Architecture Subcommittee.

“This MOU shows the commitment from ISA and The Open Group to develop open standards that implement the best practices in the industry,” Brandl says. “The widely used ISA/IEC enterprise-control system integration standards (ISA-95) and ISA/IEC 62443 standards (ISA-99) for the security of automation and control systems are key elements of the OPAF specifications.

In addition, elements from ISA/IEC standards on alarm management (ISA-18), process safety (ISA-84), and batch process control (ISA-88) are being considered for inclusion as part of the OPAF specifications. We look forward to both groups working together to provide the best solutions and best practices that the industrial community needs in the new world of smart manufacturing.”

Brandl is a long-time leader and primary editor in the development of the ISA-95 series of standards on enterprise-control system integration, which are adopted internationally as the IEC 62264 series. He also serves on ISA’s Standards & Practices Board, as does Don Bartusiak, Chief Engineer, Process Control with ExxonMobil Research & Engineering, who is the co-chair of OPAF.

Ed Harrington, Forum Director of The Open Process Automation Forum, adds: “This is another tremendous milestone for the development of process automation globally. We are honored to be working directly with ISA to grow our collaboration and vision of the many industries vested in automation, which are critical to vital sectors of our economy. This is also a key step in our move toward the creation of a framework and a standard for process automation, which aims to deliver tangible benefits to multiple sectors, and we are looking forward to progressing along this journey with ISA as a collaborative partner.”

ISA will host an upcoming meeting of OPAF on Sept. 11-13 in Research Triangle Park, N.C.