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ISA explores new partnership initiatives to help solve process industry challenges

The International Society of Automation (ISA) is exploring new collaborative initiatives designed to help industries throughout the world improve automation technology and workforce proficiency, safety, reliability and efficiency.

ISA’s Executive Director and CEO Patrick Gouhin is working with representatives of German-based NAMUR, a leading international user association of automation technology companies in the chemical process industry, to assess how ISA can support NAMUR’s core objectives, namely:

  • Minimising its member companies’ costs associated with process control technology
  • Increasing access to appropriate process control technology
  • Improving plant safety
  • Encouraging greater collaboration among its company members with other corporations and associations

“At ISA, we’re honored that NAMUR encourages our input and seeks to create a collaborative relationship,” says Gouhin.

Pieter van der Klooster, who manages ISA’s European office, also attended the meeting. “We’re currently working to define the activities that offer the most potential for collaboration, to plan cooperative working groups, and to consider our mutual participation in events.”

NAMUR President Wilhelm Otten highlighted the need to initiate international involvement and secure alliances with other organizations to solve many of the global challenges facing process industry.

In an increasingly linked and interdependent global economy, fostering greater communication and cooperation among industry producers, automation technology companies, industry associations, government officials, and academicians is vital in sharing best practices, promoting innovation, and weighing strategies to invigorate worldwide economic growth.

Already, Gouhin reports, ISA and NAMUR have identified five common working groups that offer immediate collaborative opportunities:

  • Functional Safety
  • Wireless Automation
  • IT Security
  • Selection of Field Flow Devices
  • Alarm Management 

Gouhin’s involvement at NAMUR is the latest example of ISA’s growing participation in international initiatives to leverage the value of automation technology and counteract the worldwide economic slowdown.

In mid-October of this year, Gouhin attended and spoke at the World Manufacturing Forum 2012 in Germany, where he underscored the need for automated manufacturing systems and more skilled workers capable of operating them.

“While the ability to innovate will be an essential factor in determining corporate success in the 21st century, having access to a capable, well-trained automation and control workforce may be even more critical,” Gouhin indicates.

According to a recently published report on the world economy, an estimated 10 million jobs in various industries cannot be filled today due to a growing skills gap.

By establishing automation standards, and developing and certifying the technical knowledge and expertise of automation and control professionals, ISA can play a significant role in closing this skills gap, and improving economic growth throughout the world, Gouhin says.

ISA has developed more than 160 standards, recommended practices and technical reports.

ISA standards support safer and more reliable operating environments, streamline and standardise industry processes, and improve operating performance and profitability. Many ISA standards are being adopted by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) for application overseas.

ISA training programs leverage the expertise of leading subject matter experts across a wide variety of technical fields, including: petro-chemical, energy, utility, pharmaceutical, pulp/paper, food/beverage, military/defense and manufacturing

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