• By Bill Lydon
  • The Final Say

While new digitalization tools, including cloud computing, big data, and analytics, provide great value, fundamental control application engineering remains the bedrock of industrial and process manufacturing. Sound control has always been the workhorse of production, with application engineers applying appropriate methods as new technologies become available, progressing from the early days of mechanical and pneumatic methods to the electronic and digital methods emerging today. The latest technologies are expanding control and automation implementation options at an incredibly fast rate, so it is important to understand how these new tools can be a benefit in achieving goals.

Automation professionals need to take the lead in guiding management to adopt new technology, or the organization will become noncompetitive. A challenge is balancing your time between addressing today’s problems with evaluating new methods and technology to improve production. As the rate of change continues to increase, taking advantage of ISA offerings is a wonderful way to continually increase knowledge and know-how. Key resources include:

ISAConnect. A continuing stream of information from online communities and resources within communities for each section, student section, division, and Society committee.

Certification Programs. ISA certification programs include Certified Automation Professional (CAP) and Certified Control Systems Technician (CCST). Earning ISA certifications demonstrates your mastery of working with a standardized body of automation knowledge; it showcases your automation proficiency to employers and helps you stand out among your peers.

Certificate Programs. ISA certificate programs increase knowledge and skills across a broad range of topics, including cybersecurity, safety instrumented systems, and automation project management. Certificate programs are based on industry-developed, job-performance criteria and IEC-adopted standards:

  • Automation Project Management Specialist
  • Cybersecurity
  • Safety
  • CAP Associate
  • CST Associate.

Control Systems Engineer (CSE) License Program Support. ISA supports the CSE license, a specialized Professional Engineering (PE) license recognized in the U.S. for engineers working in automation and control. ISA offers training courses and review materials to help engineers prepare for state boards’ exams held each October.

Events. ISA offers virtual events, including webinars, virtual conferences, and ISAConnect Live across a variety of topics. Virtual conferences give attendees insight into key operational and business topics through online sessions, panels with live Q&A, and virtual exhibits, as well as providing networking and chat opportunities.

Smart Manufacturing and IIoT Division

Sixteen topic-focused divisions within ISA enable members to connect on the topics they are most interested in and to grow professionally and technically. The Smart Manufacturing and IIoT Division (also known as SMIIoT) is the newest and fastest growing ISA division. ISA’s understanding and focus on smart manufacturing, Industry 4.0, and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is continually evolving to adapt to the high level of activity and interest being shown in the worldwide industrial automation community. Constant developments of new technologies, new applications, and new concepts from most of the major hardware manufacturers, solution providers, businesses, research institutions, and even governmental agencies are pushing these topics ahead at a rapid pace. ISA and SMIIoT are a forum for networking and collaboration on these topics as automation professionals seek clarity around the newest digitalization tools and better ways to solve critical control problems. 

Explore the possibilities.

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About The Authors

Bill Lydon is an InTech contributing editor with more than 25 years of industry experience. He regularly provides news reports, observations, and insights here and on Automation.com