Q&A with Koji Demachi

Koji Demachi is the Marketing Manager & Technical Coordinator within the Technical Marketing Department at Yokogawa Electric Corporation, a global electrical engineering and software company focusing on measurement, control, and information technologies. Demachi has been active in ISA standards development since the 1990s. He also served as president of ISA’s Japan Section from 2009 to 2018.

At the recent ISA Annual Leadership Conference in Montreal, Quebec, ISA’s Standards & Practices Department presented an award to Demachi (along with Andre Britz at RPMGlobal) for his technical contributions to ISA95, specifically in the development of ISA-95.00.08, Enterprise-Control System Integration – Part 8: Manufacturing Operations Management Information Exchange Profiles.

What initially attracted you to the field of automation (and specifically your selected field)...and when was it? Was there any specific thing that triggered your interest?

Just after my university graduation, I directly joined Yokogawa Electric, which is a leading provider of industrial automation and test and measurement solutions. One of the reasons why I chose Yokogawa was that I wanted to work for professional customers, not just 'normal' consumers. While I began at the company expecting to help develop measurement equipment for laboratories, I actually worked on the design of hardware for distributed control systems, which is called CENTUM series.

I also became involved in international standardization activities in a project of the Fieldbus Foundation, which is the predecessor of the Field Com Group. It was very impressive experience, but at the same time it was challenging for me as a non-English native person. I became in charge of standardization on a full-time basis later, mainly dealing with IEC TC65, which is one of the most important technical committees for industrial automation, specifically in the area of "Industrial-process measurement, control and automation."

Please tell us about your current career responsibilities (specific position, company) and background, and area of specialty in automation.

I am the Marketing Manager & Technical Coordinator in charge of international standardization of Yokogawa Electric Corporation. I am involved in several activities in IEC TC65 and ISO TC184 (automation systems and integration), and I am the convener of IEC TC65/WG20 (the framework to bridge the requirements for safety and security).

How did you become involved in ISA? Also, please provide some insights into your ongoing involvement in ISA standards development.

My first experience with ISA occurred when I joined an ISA50 (Signal Compatibility of Electrical Instruments) meeting in 1990s, which was held in conjunction with an ISA show and when I served as an observer on a fieldbus project. In 2006, I joined ISA100 (Wireless Systems for Automation) as one of its founding members. I am now a member of ISA95 and ISA99, and a co-chair of ISA108 (Intelligent Device Management). I am also a member of the Standards & Practices Board.

From 2009 to 2018, I served as the president of the ISA Japan Section. Although ISA has a lot of useful content, including standards, articles, and education courses, it is not easy to use them in remote countries, especially in countries using a different language. The ISA Japan Section has worked to provide articles and seminars about the latest technical topics relating to ISA standards in Japanese.

Could you explain a bit about the ISA Standards & Practices award you recently received in working on ISA95?

As you may know, ISA95 specifies information models for MOM (Manufacturing Operation Management), which is also called MES (Manufacturing Execution Systems). Although ISA95 is an excellent standard for achieving interoperability among systems in the MOM domain, it has been a challenge to effectively implement ISA95 in different industrial sectors and using different applications. The Part 8 (Manufacturing Operations Management Information Exchange Profiles) defines a method to specify a set of information models dedicated to a specific industrial sector or a specific application.

What ways would you say ISA has benefited you?

As globalization increases, the global supply chain has become essential for success in business. In this context, standardization is vital to ensure interoperability and a prosperous world economy and business environment. ISA is an excellent organization for developing international standards for automation because, in ISA standardization activities, users and vendors of automation systems—together with neutral stakeholders, such as consultants—are all involved in a well-balanced effort. This is unlike some other standard developing organizations that depend primarily on automation vendors.

Do you have any advice or suggestions to young automation professionals entering the profession? Are there things that you have learned that you might pass on…to help them better develop their careers?

ISA standardization committees provide excellent opportunities to learn cutting-edge technologies and gain new ways of thinking from different professionals and cultures. As a result, I strongly encourage young automation professionals to participate in these activities.