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ISA updates standard

Instrumentation standard ISA 5.1 Part 1 2009 offers some changes, writes Ian H Gibson.

Instrumentation standard ISA 5.1 Part 1 2009 was released last month, which represents an important upgrade to an existing standard by which many of the members of the Institute of Instrumentation Control and Automation (IICA) must abide.

“The instrumentation symbolism and identification techniques described in this standard accommodate advances in technology and reflect the collective industrial experience gained since the original ISA Recommended Practice RP5.1, published in 1949, was revised, affirmed, and subsequently published as ANSI/ISA National Standard ANSI/ISA-S5.1-1984, and then reaffirmed in 1992,” says literature on the Standard.

“This revision attempts to further strengthen this standard in its role as a communication tool in all industries that depend on measurement and control systems to operate and safeguard their manufacturing processes, machines, and other equipment. Communication presupposes and is, at the very least, facilitated by a common language. This revision of the standard continues to build on the foundation for that common language.”

The standard incorporates a large amount of the earlier standard as mandatory clauses, and adds further material. It also presages a series of Technical Reports covering usage in a variety of application areas, such as minerals processing, and pulp and paper, where the original standard’s primary usage in the petroleum and petrochemical industries have been considered a limitation.

The new Standard has taken ten years to appear, and is a consensus after a considerable level of heated discussions among those interested in the subject matter and aware of the Standard’s development. It is anticipated that further discussions within the user community will occur, when severe modifications are required to documentation standards and drawings if compliance with the standard is to be claimed.

As free copies of the standard will be available to ISA members following publication (or available for purchase via the ISA website or from the IHS standards website for subscribers to that system), it is recommended that all instrument engineers and designers obtain a copy and consider updating their documentation and practices. IICA members can join ISA at a 20 per cent reduced fee — contact the Federal Secretariat for further information.

[Ian H Gibson is a past IICA president.]

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