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New ISA technical report on work processes in continuous process automation

  • Standards

The retirement of experienced engineers has been a major concern across the industrial sectors for years, as companies have tried to find effective ways to capture and transmit knowledge before it "leaves the building." This concern was a driving force in the creation of the ISA106 standards committee, Procedure Automation for Continuous Process Operations.

The work of ISA106 is intended to provide a framework for building some of that knowledge into automated procedures. This is especially important for such plant procedures as startup, shutdown, and product grade change-as studies have shown that plants are particularly vulnerable to safety incidents caused by inexperienced operators performing unfamiliar manual functions during such key procedures.

Building on the models and terminology of its first technical report, the ISA106 committee has now completed a second technical report that describes work processes involved with automating procedures that monitor and control continuous processes. ISA-TR106.00.02-2017, Procedure Automation for Continuous Process Operations - Work Processes, applies to new process facilities as well as to control upgrades to existing facilities.

The new technical report is not intended to instruct organizations on how to identify and justify projects or to provide the details of work processes, but rather to set forth a generic set of work processes that provides guidance for procedure automation project execution phases. The primary intended audience is technical managers, project managers, and engineering personnel responsible for the automation of continuous process operations in new and existing plants.

"The work processes used by end users are critical for the successful completion of capital projects and projects funded out of operating expenses," points out Dave Emerson of Yokogawa, who serves as ISA106 editor. "The new technical report provides a guide to how end users' work processes can be designed to account for the automation of continuous process operations. It reflects the combined knowledge and foresight of engineers from many different end users, automation suppliers, and consultants. The knowledge in this technical report can and should be used by owner operators to improve their own work processes, by automation suppliers to improve products and services, and by consultants to help improve end users, and automation suppliers to make the process industries safer and more efficient."

Path forward

In the two ISA-106 technical reports, the committee focused on the current state of the continuous process industries. ISA106 will now begin work on a requirements-based standard. The models and terminology in the first technical report will be reviewed and revised as needed, and the experiences and ideas gained in usage will be factored in. The standard will also reflect the work processes set forth in the new technical report.

ISA106 is currently working on early drafts of the standard, and welcomes new participants to provide their expertise and experiences. For information, contact ISA106 co-chair Yahya Nazer,

Visit for information on viewing or obtaining the two technical reports developed by ISA106: ISA-TR106.00.02-2017, Procedure Automation for Continuous Process Operations - Work Processes and ISA-TR106.00.01-2013, Procedure Automation for Continuous Process Operations - Models and Terminology.

In addition, ISA106 works closely with other standards committees to ensure consistency across published and in-development standards. These include:

  • ANSI/ISA-101.01-2015, Human Machine Interfaces for Process Automation Systems
  • ANSI/ISA-18.2-2016, Management of Alarm Systems for the Process Industries, with accompanying technical reports:
  • ISA-TR18.2.2 - Alarm Identification and Rationalization
  • ISA-TR18.2.3 - Basic Alarm Design
  • ISA-TR18.2.4 - Enhanced and Advanced Alarm Methods
  • ISA-TR18.2.5 - Alarm System Monitoring, Assessment, and Auditing
  • ISA-TR18.2.6 - Alarm Systems for Batch and Discrete Processes
  • ISA-TR18.2.7 - Alarm Management When Utilizing Packaged Systems

ISA-88\, Batch Control Standards, including the following:

  • ANSI/ISA-88.00.01 - Part 1: Models and Terminology
  • ISA-88.00.02 - Part 2: Data Structures and Guidelines for Languages
  • ISA-88.00.03 - Part 3: General and Site Recipe Models and Representation
  • ISA-88.00.04 - Part 4: Batch Production Records
  • ISA-TR88.95.01-2008 - Using ISA-88 and ISA-95 Together
  • ISA-TR88.00.02 - Machine and Unit States: An implementation example of ANSI/ISA-88.00.01

ISA-95, Enterprise-Control System Integration, including the following:

  • ANSI/ISA-95.00.01 - Part 1: Models and Terminology
  • ANSI/ISA-95.00.02 - Part 2: Object Model Attribute
  • ANSI/ISA-95.00.03 - Part 3: Activity Models of Manufacturing Operations Management
  • ANSI/ISA-95.00.04 - Part 4: Objects and Attributes for Manufacturing Operations Management Integration
  • ANSI/ISA-95.00.05 - Part 5: Business-to-Manufacturing Transactions
  • ANSI/ISA-95.00.06 - Part 6: Messaging Service Model

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