The retirement of experienced engineers has long been of concern across the industrial sectors as companies have tried to find effective ways to capture and transmit vital knowledge to new generations of automation professionals.

The work of the ISA106 standards committee, Procedure Automation for Continuous Process Operations, 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, product grade change and the like – as studies have shown that plants are particularly vulnerable to safety incidents caused by inexperienced operators performing unfamiliar manual functions during such key operations.

ISA106 has completed a new 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 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 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.

“The report reflects the combined knowledge and foresight of engineers from many different end users, automation suppliers, and consultants,” Emerson adds. “That knowledge 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.”

To date, ISA106 has focused on the current state of the continuous process industries. The committee will now begin work on a requirements-based standard that will draw on the information developed it its earlier work.

Visit www.isa.org/findstandards for information on viewing or obtaining the ISA106 technical report. For information about ISA106, contact Charley Robinson, ISA Standards, crobinson@isa.org.

About ISA
The International Society of Automation (www.isa.org) is a nonprofit professional association that sets the standard for those who apply engineering and technology to improve the management, safety, and cybersecurity of modern automation and control systems used across industry and critical infrastructure. Founded in 1945, ISA develops widely used global standards; certifies industry professionals; provides education and training; publishes books and technical articles; hosts conferences and exhibits; and provides networking and career development programs for its 40,000 members and 400,000 customers around the world.

ISA owns Automation.com, a leading online publisher of automation-related content, and is the founding sponsor of The Automation Federation (www.automationfederation.org), an association of non-profit organizations serving as “The Voice of Automation.” Through a wholly owned subsidiary, ISA bridges the gap between standards and their implementation with the ISA Security Compliance Institute (www.isasecure.org) and the ISA Wireless Compliance Institute (www.isa100wci.org).