ISA-106: New ISA Standard on Procedure Automation for Continuous Process Operations

  • By Charley Robinson
  • August 31, 2023
  • Standards

ANSI/ISA-106.00.01, Procedure Automation for Continuous Process Operations, has been published by ISA. The standard sets forth mod­els, styles, strategies, philosophies, and life cycle for the automation of procedures in the continuous process industries. Terminology is included that helps explain the relationships between these elements and terms.

Procedures for continuous process opera­tions, as outlined in ANSI/ISA-106.00.01, include startup, shutdown, and abnormal situations, hold step, and transitions of process feed/output. These procedures might exist in manual form, probably written, prior to automation. The goals are to increase uniformity and consistency of procedure automation, and reduce the risk, cost, and er­rors associated with automating procedures.

The standard addresses automated procedures that primarily reside on systems within the supervisory control, monitoring, and automated process control section (per ISA-95 functional levels 1 and 2) of a produc­tion process (ISA-95 functional level 0). This standard does not address procedure execu­tion at the operations management functional level (ISA-95 level 3). The interaction with manual procedures is within the scope, but manual procedures are outside the scope of the standard. Manual procedures include manual operations by the operator using the control systems.

The new standard follows two prior tech­nical reports completed by ISA106:

ISA-TR106.00.01, Procedure Automation for Continuous Process Operations— Models and Terminology, provides an overview of the benefits, best practices, and language, including terms and defini­tions, for applying procedure automation across the continuous process industries.

ISA-TR106.00.02, Procedure Automation for Continuous Process Operations—Work Processes, provides information regard­ing the work processes involved in the lifecycle of automated procedures for continuous process operations, with a primary focus on the work processes that are unique to automating procedures.
The ISA106 committee is now turning its focus to a new technical report on simulation for the purpose of testing automated procedures as well as some level of operator training.  Possible content is still being considered, but ideas include benefits; level of fidelity; justification process; impact on work process, including iterative testing; and operating training involving familiarization with the automated procedures. ISA106 welcomes new participants.

New ISA84 Technical Report

In other ISA Standards news, the ISA84 committee has developed a series of tech­nical reports to provide guidance as well as practical implementation examples on various aspects of the ANSI/ISA-61511-1- 2018, Functional Safety—Safety Instrumented Systems for the Process Industry Sector. That widely used standard gives requirements for specification, design, installation, opera­tion and maintenance, modification, and decommissioning, so that a safety instru­mented system (SIS) can be confidently entrusted to place and/or maintain the process in a safe state.

Three of the supporting technical reports provide guidance related to specific phases of the SIS lifecycle, including a newly published updated version of ISA-TR84.00.03, Automation Asset Integrity of Safety Instrumented Systems.

Control Centers Standards Committee

ISA60, Control Centers, is seeking new mem­bers as it reactivates under the leadership of cochairs Donald Dunn and Ian Nimmo. The committee will work on writing and updating a series of recommended practices on topics that could include terminology; human engi­neering; seismic and other vibrations; modular construction; documentation and division of responsibilities; profiles; fabrication and finish; electrical wiring and sizing; graphic displays; inspection and testing; and more. For more information, contact

ISA Standards Meetings Calendar

Oct. 7:  ISA101, Human Machine Interface, WG4, ISA ALC, Colorado Springs, Colorado
Oct. 9-10:  ISA88, Batch Control Systems, Dallas, Texas​
Oct. 26-27: ISA18, Instrument Signals and Alarms, Dallas, Texas
Oct. 31-Nov. 2: ISA84, Instrumented Systems to Achieve Functional Safety in the Process Industries, Houston, Texas

Participation on ISA standards development committees is open to automation professionals from any country.

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About The Authors

Charley Robinson is director of ISA Standards operations. Contact him with questions or with a TR topic, training class, or standard ISA should consider. ISA standards and technical reports may be viewed or purchased by visiting the website.