A new ISA standards committee, ISA108, Intelligent Device Management, is currently seeking members. The committee will define standard templates of best practices and work processes for design, development, installation and use of diagnostic and other information provided by intelligent field devices in the process industries.

Intelligent field devices, pervasive in modern process manufacturing, bring the promise of transforming the way information is utilized related to these devices and to the processes they control. Devices with impending maintenance problems, for example, can be identified earlier, and information can be provided directly to process automation systems, plant asset management systems, or any other systems or software in a plant as required.

In many cases, however, the promise remains unrealized, often because users are employing old maintenance work processes with new technology. The new devices and applications are installed, but operators and technicians stick to their traditional approaches to preventive or routine maintenance and do not take advantage of the huge amount of information available to them.

"With more than 80% of smart instrument data not being used or even connected to an online data collection system, the lost revenues to the process industries are tremendous," said ISA108 Managing Director Ian Verhappen of Yokogawa Canada. "Thus, the need is clear for a series of standards on how to integrate this data into control systems and work practices to achieve the benefits of proactive maintenance."

The scope of the committee work products will include recommended work processes and implementation practices for systems that utilize information from intelligent field devices and the people who use them. Work process templates by worker roles (such as maintenance or operations) will be one area of research. Best practices for implementation will be developed. Models will be developed for the flow of information from devices through the various systems that use the information.

ISA108 will hold an initial meeting on 24 September 2012 in Orlando, Florida in conjunction with ISA Automation Week. The bulk of the committee's work will be conducted electronically.

If you are interested in participating in ISA108, please contact Ellen Fussell Policastro of ISA Standards, efussell@isa.org.