Download Your In-Depth Guide to Calibration for the Process Industries

Download Your In-Depth Guide to Calibration for the Process Industries

This post was written by Mike Cable, author of the ISA book Calibration: A Technician’s Guide and manager of operations technology at Argos Therapeutics, and Ned Espy of Beamex. Click this link to download Calibration Essentials, an in-depth eBook for the process industries.


Proper calibration of instruments for the process industries is essential. Yet calibration tends to be one of the most overlooked processes in today’s plants and factories. With industrial technology and tools demanding greater levels of precision, there is an ever-increasing need to calibrate and ensure consistent, reliable measurement with the goal of minimizing downtime, achieving greater production efficiencies, and reducing overall operating costs.

But how do you know that you’re taking the most efficient path towards calibrated, automated production? To help you find that certainty, calibration experts at ISA have teamed with Beamex to publish an in-depth guide to calibration automation, delivering the information you need to ensure a fully calibrated and reliable facility.

The informative new eBook, Calibration Essentials, covers everything you need to know about today’s calibration processes including:

  • A comprehensive big picture guide on how to manage a facility-wide calibration program for industrial automation and control systems.
  • Informative overviews of calibration considerations, such as tolerance errors, and calibration uncertainty, as well as practice scenarios and solutions to manage them.
  • An in-depth look at some of the new smart instrumentation and WirelessHART instruments and how to effectively calibrate them.
  • A technical discussion on the pros and cons of an individual instrument calibration strategy versus a loop calibration strategy.
  • Detailed guidelines to ensure facility and employee safety and security, as well as compliance with standards, when conducting calibration tasks.

The 60-page eBook can serve as a key resource to help you ensure your facility operates safely and efficiently, and that you are getting the most out of your instrumentation. This roadmap to calibration has tools for workers at every level of your facility to standardize your effort and facilitate an advanced, automated production environment.

Click this link to download Calibration Essentials, an in-depth eBook for the process industries


About the Authors

Mike Cable is author of the ISA book Calibration: A Technician’s Guide and validation manager at Argos Therapeutics. He is a Level 3 Certified Control System Technician, and his responsibilities include managing the calibration program. Mike started his career as an electronics technician in the U.S. Navy Nuclear Power Program, serving as a reactor operator and engineering watch supervisor aboard the USS Los Angeles submarine, and then at the AIW prototype in Idaho Falls. After leaving the Navy, he started his civilian career at Performance Solutions performing technical services for the pharmaceutical industry. His 11 years there was highlighted by an assignment to Eli Lilly Corporate Process Automation managing Instrument qualification projects, and then starting a calibration services division within Performance Solutions. His practical expertise in instrumentation and controls led him to his career path in validation.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANed Espy has been promoting calibration management with Beamex for more than 20 years. He has directed field experience in instrumentation measurement application for over 27 years. Today, Ned provides technical & application support to Beamex clients and partners throughout North America.


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IIoT Applications Deliver a Competitive Advantage to Process Industries

IIoT Applications Deliver a Competitive Advantage to Process Industries

This guest blog post was written by Deanna Johnson, global marketing communications manager at Emerson Process Management.

To some, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is just a new buzzword—but to the process industries, the IIoT is becoming a necessity to maintain competitiveness. Oil and gas companies, refineries, and other process industries are trying to cope with various market forces, many of which require improved plant performance.

The 650 major refineries globally are especially affected. Some of these plants are operating at peak performance, but many are not, causing a significant financial impact. Our calculations show the difference in operating costs associated with equipment reliability and energy efficiency between a well-run refinery and an average one is about $12.3 million per year for a typical 250,000 barrel-per-day facility. Assuming about 60 percent of refineries are not operating as well as they could, the overall worldwide financial impact runs to billions of dollars annually.

To increase reliability and efficiency, and to gain other operating benefits such as reduced maintenance and improved safety, many refineries and process plants are turning to the IIoT.

The IIoT essentially involves acquiring data from hundreds—if not thousands—of process and equipment sensors, and transmitting the data to central locations via wireless or hardwired networks. The goal is to sense anything, anywhere in a cost-effective manner.

Once the data arrives, it is stored in databases, historians, the cloud, and other locations where it can be accessed by software that analyzes and interprets the sensor information using “big data” techniques to diagnose conditions, detect equipment problems, and alert operations personnel. Such software can reside in the plant’s control system, a dedicated PC, or in a server half a world away.

The “Internet” part of IIoT refers to the fact that the Internet can be used to connect the various systems. In many instances, all the networking is done at the plant itself, with the Internet replaced by an internal intranet, but the basic principles still apply: huge amounts of data are gathered and analyzed to find and solve problems.

Space does not permit an exhaustive analysis of all the applications where the IIoT can save energy, reduce maintenance costs, and improve process efficiency. However, here is a short list of what is possible to monitor and analyze with these types of systems:

  • steam traps
  • pumps and compressors
  • heat exchangers
  • pressure relief valves
  • cooling towers
  • mobile workforces
  • safety showers and eye wash stations

Following are several examples of how the IIoT was used to improve efficiency and find problems at process plants worldwide.

Steam trap monitoring

Steam trap monitoring via wireless acoustic transmitters is a leading IIoT application. When traps fail open, high-pressure steam leaks out, so more steam has to be produced by boilers. Depending on the price of steam at a facility, a single failed-open steam trap can waste $30,000 worth of steam each year.

When traps fail closed, they do not remove water droplets from the steam. Accumulated water, moving through piping and equipment at a high rate of speed, can rupture steam lines and cause turbines to throw blades. Repairs are very expensive, and downtime is often significant.

Most plants monitor their steam traps manually via annual checks. This is very costly in terms of labor, misses many problems, and in the worst case can allow failed traps to operate for years.

Acoustic sensors and specialized software systems detect steam trap problems automatically and alert plant personnel so they can take action. In the past, these sensors were hardwired back to software systems, but the preferred modern method is to use wireless acoustic sensors connected back to software systems via a wireless mesh network, creating an IIoT.

Levaco Chemicals in Leverkusen, Germany, had to save energy to meet the June 2012 Energy Efficiency Directive required by the European Commission and ISO 50001. The plant determined that defective steam traps were causing loss of steam and inefficient heat transfer, and therefore wasting energy.

They installed 300 wireless steam trap monitors and three wireless gateways—one in each of three plant areas—on critical steam traps. The gateways connect to the wireless transmitters through the WirelessHART mesh network, and the gateways connect to the control system via hardwiring.

They also installed specialized data analysis software on a PC. The gateways connect to the PC via an Ethernet cable. This software analyzes real-time data from the steam trap acoustic monitors. These instruments measure the ultrasonic acoustic behavior and temperature of steam traps, and the software uses this data to identify existing and potential problems.

By repairing or replacing failed steam traps, the three plant areas immediately had substantial reductions in energy costs. Failed traps were no longer venting valuable steam, which lowered energy consumption to produce steam, and failed traps were no longer causing process shutdowns. The increased energy efficiency easily met the Energy Efficiency Directive and ISO 50001 requirements, and the plant was awarded a certificate of compliance in 2015.

Levaco calculated a return on investment of fewer than two years, thanks to savings in energy costs. It also reduced the number of process shutdowns because of steam trap failures, and eliminated the need for maintenance technicians to make regular rounds, resulting in further substantial savings.

In a similar application, a corn milling plant was experiencing a 15 percent annual steam trap failure rate, with 12.5 percent of the plant’s steam traps responsible for 38 percent of the steam loss. Steam trap issues were efficiently identified and addressed with the application of wireless steam trap acoustic sensors and accompanying analytics. The payback period was just a few months, and the annual savings were $301,108.

Table 1 illustrates the savings possible in a large plant that has 8,000 steam traps, where 1,200 are considered critical. If the plant previously experienced a 15 percent failure rate per year, by preventing those failures with steam trap monitors the plant will save $3,279,960 per year.

Pump monitoring

It is estimated that pumps account for 7 percent of the total maintenance cost of a plant or refinery, and pump failures are responsible for 0.2 percent of lost production. Many pump failures can be predicted using IIoT, modern condition-based monitoring techniques, predictive technologies, and reliability-centered maintenance best practices.

Historically, the expense of installing a dedicated IIoT online monitoring system has prevented it from being used on anything beyond the most critical pumps. But with the relative ease of adding online pump condition monitoring with today’s wireless sensor technology, online monitoring can be installed quickly and inexpensively.

Today, wireless transmitters make it possible to monitor many pumps cost effectively.

Cavitation monitoring is needed on high-head multistage pumps, as they cannot tolerate this condition, even for a brief time. Although cavitation often happens when pumps operate outside their design ranges, it can also be caused by intermittent pump suction or discharge restrictions. Damage can occur before manual rounds discover the problem, but can be detected sooner by continuously monitoring the pump discharge pressure for fluctuations with a wireless pressure transmitter.

Vibration monitoring detects many common causes of pump failure. Excessive motor and pump vibration can be caused by a failing concrete foundation or metal frame, shaft misalignment, impeller damage, pump or motor bearing wear, or coupling wear and cavitation. Increasing vibration commonly leads to seal failure and can result in expensive repairs, process upsets, reduced throughput, fines if hazardous material is leaked, and fire if the leaked material is flammable.

Online vibration monitoring has been successful in detecting several root causes of pump degradation. A complete IIoT pump health monitoring system can pay for itself in months. At one refinery, for example, pump monitoring systems were installed on 80 pumps throughout the complex. The annual savings was more than $1.2 million after implementing the pump monitoring solution, resulting in a payback period of fewer than six months (table 2). The savings came from decreased maintenance costs of $360,000, and fewer losses from process shutdowns because of failed pumps, which were conservatively valued at $912,000.

Heat exchangers in many plants can be a major source of downtime, often causing considerable maintenance expenses, significant loss of production, and poor plant performance. Existing monitoring may involve manual spot measurements performed periodically. These types of measurements provide an inconsistent view of failures and are time consuming, with accurate assessment based upon technician expertise.

Many refiners are trying to maximize their use of low-cost crudes, but using this type of feedstock often presents significant processing challenges. Typically, crude unit preheat exchangers can foul unpredictably with changes in the crude blend and process conditions. As a result, energy efficiency is lost, and production can be limited. Adding additional wireless temperature measurements to exchanger banks provides increased data to process analytics software that can then alert operations to excessive fouling conditions and rates. Using WirelessHART technology, heat exchanger monitoring can be quickly automated and integrated with the existing automation system in a matter of days.

Wireless temperature transmitters and heat exchanger modeling software can determine when crude unit preheat exchangers need cleaning.

At one refinery, the #2 Crude Unit was subject to preheat train fouling. The refinery was unable to determine when to clean the heat exchanger for the greatest benefit. This lack of information prevented economic analysis planning, such as fouling degradation versus additional fired heater fuel required. An IIoT real-time temperature monitoring system was installed on the unit, which sent data to heat exchanger modeling software. Based on the analysis, the heat exchanger was cleaned on an as-needed basis, resulting in an estimated annual savings of $225,000 in maintenance costs, with further savings of $912,500 realized by preventing downtime (table 3).

More than a buzzword

The IIoT is more than a buzzword. It is here, and plants are using it to realize value from the hundreds of millions of connected sensors currently installed, and the millions more coming online each year. Many of these new sensors are wireless, because they can be installed quicker and at less cost than their wired equivalents, often with no required downtime. These low-cost wireless sensors and accompanying analytics can dramatically improve plant performance, increase safety, and pay for themselves within months.

About the Author
Deanna Johnson, global marketing communications manager at Emerson Process Management, focuses on Rosemount products and pervasive-sensing strategies. Her previous positions included development of integrated marketing communications programs for Emerson’s oil and gas and refining industries, as well as work on WirelessHART marketing. Johnson started her Emerson career in 1996. She has an MBA with a marketing focus.

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A version of this article originally was published at InTech magazine.

Book Excerpt + Q&A with Author of Mission Critical Operations

Book Excerpt + Q&A with Author of Mission Critical Operations

This ISA author Q&A was edited by Joel Don, ISA’s community manager. ISA’s new book, Mission Critical Operations Primer, focuses on the components of mission critical operations, including technology, standards, risk management, emergency response, cybersecurity, and operational activities and processes. It is a valuable resource to those new to the field and those who are currently in the workforce. In this Q&A feature, author Steve Mustard highlights the value and importance of his first ISA book. Click this link to download a free excerpt from Mission Critical Operations Primer. To get your copy of this informative reference manual, order it today on the ISA website.


Q. How would you briefly describe “mission-critical operations”?

A. Mission-critical is a subjective term. Any organization can claim to have mission-critical systems or operations but we are really looking at those organizations in the 16 critical infrastructure sectors for whom failure can result in serious consequences, such as loss of life, harm to the environment or significant financial loss through production impact or damage to plant. The book attempts to give an introduction to the key aspects across the mission-critical operations space.

Q. What would you say is the core objective of the book? What key messages/points of emphasis are you trying to communicate? What challenge or set of challenges is the book trying to address or solve?

A. The aim is to give an overview of the key aspects of mission-critical operations, such as standards and regulations, safety and risk management factors, operational processes, and the technology involved.

A wide variety of factors can affect mission-critical operations, including:

  • Hardware or software failures
  • Network communications problems
  • Accidental damage or disruption
  • Natural disasters
  • Deliberate damage, such as cyberattacks

Q. Who would you say would be the core audience for the book?

A. This book is aimed at those people who are looking to start a career in mission-critical organizations, such as an operator or technician. The objective is to provide an introduction into all the key areas of mission-critical work, and provide some guidance for further reading for those who want to delve into more detail in certain areas.


Blog Author Q&A Free Bonus! Click this link to download a free excerpt from The Condensed Handbook of Measurement and Control. To get your copy of this informative reference manual, order it today on the ISA website.

Q. What would you say to someone who may be considering reading the book? What would they gain by reading it?

A. The field of mission-critical operations is incredibly broad, and it can be hard to grasp all the terminology and issues that exist. While there are several books that go into depth in certain aspects, there are very few, if any, that cover the breadth of mission-critical operations as this book does. The book is an excellent introduction for those wishing to start a career and it is also an excellent guide for those already in the workforce.

Q. Cybersecurity is getting a lot of attention lately, but it’s important to focus on other mission-critical operations as well, correct?

A. Yes. Cybersecurity is a major driver in today’s mission-critical organizations so naturally it forms a big part of the book. However, there are other fundamentals of mission-critical operations that cannot be ignored, such as safety management and operational procedures. The book aims to provide a solid grounding in all the key aspects of mission-critical operations.

Q. Do you have any other points to make about the book…its importance and relevance today?

A. A whole culture of mission-critical operations specialists is emerging. These specialists understand the threats and risks as well as the consequences of failure. These specialists focus on areas such as robust IT network design, control system security, control room operations and alarm handling. In addition, they need to have a broad understanding of all key aspects of mission critical systems. No other career requires so many different aspects to be brought together in one role. The aim of this book is to provide a good introduction to all these aspects.

Meet the Author

Steve Mustard, author of the new ISA book, Mission Critical Operations Primer, is an independent automation consultant and subject-matter expert of ISA and its umbrella association, the Automation Federation. He also is an ISA Executive Board member. Backed by nearly 30 years of software development experience, Mustard specializes in the development and management of real-time embedded equipment and automation systems, and the integration of real-time processing, decision-support and other disparate systems to improve business processes. He serves as president of National Automation, Inc. Mustard is a recognized authority on industrial cybersecurity, having developed and delivered cybersecurity management systems, procedures, training and guidance to multiple critical infrastructure organizations. He serves as the chair of the Automation Federation’s Cybersecurity Committee. Mustard is a licensed Professional Engineer, UK registered Chartered Engineer, a European registered Eur Ing, an ISA Certified Automation Professional (CAP) and a certified Global Industrial Cybersecurity Professional (GICSP). He also is a Fellow in the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), and a senior member of ISA.

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Webinar Recording: Road to Digitalization Leads Through Cybersecurity

Webinar Recording: Road to Digitalization Leads Through Cybersecurity

This ISA webinar on industrial cybersecurity was presented by Steve Mustard, cybsersecurity expert and Automation Federation Cybersecurity Committee chair, Leo Simonovich, global head of industrial cyber and digital security at Siemens Energy Inc. and Eddie Habibi, founder and CEO of PAS.


To watch the webinar in full screen mode, click here.

The promise is real. The age of digitalization, Industrie 4.0, and Industrial IoT-enabled smart factory will usher greater operational intelligence, more efficient production, and safer work environments. Realizing that promise means coming to terms with OT cybersecurity because the enablers of digitalization – smart sensors, ubiquitous connectivity, and remote access – are also enablers for cyberattacks.

A recent Ponemon Institute study revealed that only a third of oil and gas organizations surveyed rated their OT cyber readiness as high. With aging assets, poor security practices, and nearly a decade of bad guys learning how industrial control systems work, industry leaders are concerned about OT security challenges ahead. Now is that time for our operations and security leadership to plan and act more strategically so we can secure our digitalization future.

This ISA co-hosted webinar focuses on how industry must meet the challenge of securing operational environments. Cybersecurity veterans Leo Simonovich, Siemens’ vice president and global head of industrial cyber and digital security; Eddie Habibi, PAS founder and CEO; and Steve Mustard, chair of ISA’s Automation Federation Cybersecurity Committee offer insights on what holds industry back from a secure, digital future and what strategies leading edge companies are employing to mitigate enterprise risk.


About the Presenters

Steve Mustard is an independent automation consultant and the Automation Federation’s Cybersecurity Committee chair. Originally from the UK and now based in Houston, Tex., Steve is a recognized authority on industrial cybersecurity, having developed and delivered cybersecurity management systems, procedures, training and guidance to multiple critical infrastructure organizations.
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Leo Simonovich is vice president and global head, Industrial Cyber and Digital Security of Siemens Energy Inc. He is responsible for setting the company’s strategic direction worldwide in helping Siemens’ energy customers protect their infrastructure from cyber attacks. Leo identifies emerging market trends, works with customers and Siemens businesses to provide best-in-class cyber offers, and contributes to the company’s thought leadership on this topic. Previously, Leo led the cyber risk analytics practice area at the management consulting firm, Booz Allen Hamilton. Leo holds both a master’s degree in global finance and an MBA from the University of Denver.

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Eddie Habibi is founder and CEO of PAS. Eddie is a pioneer and a thought leader in the fields of industrial control systems (ICS) cybersecurity, Industrial IoT, data analytics, and operations management. In 2017, PAS was recognized in CRN’s 15 coolest industrial IoT companies, and Eddie was listed by CRN as one of the 30 Internet Of Things Executives Whose Names You Should Know. He is the co-author of two popular best practices books on operational risk and safety management: Alarm Management: A Comprehensive Guide and The High Performance HMI Handbook. Eddie holds an engineering degree from the University of Houston and an MBA from the University of St. Thomas.

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The Arts Must Be Factored Into the STEM Equation

The Arts Must Be Factored Into the STEM Equation

This guest blog post was written by Stephen R. Huffman, vice president, marketing and business development, Mead O’Brien, Inc.


This blog began as a coy reply to Bill Lydon’s interesting post about Leonardo da Vinci’s accomplishments as an artist applying engineering principles to create engineered works of art. Lydon noted that da Vinci saw science and art as complementary rather than as distinct disciplines. I stated that the word “STEAM,” really STEM + art, was not a new concept. The most recent iteration started sometime within the first decade of the 21st century, gaining traction with the efforts of such influencers as the Rhode Island School of Design beginning in 2010. Lawmakers with whom the Automation Federation met while advocating for our profession on Capitol Hill saw the concept as a way to reach elementary school children who would not otherwise be interested in math, science, and engineering.


My point was why use the word “steam” and create confusion with the engine of the American industrial revolution—and still the most efficient turbine driver and heat transfer media in prominent use to this day? Ironically, I find a declining knowledge base regarding steam systems used in industry, especially in process control, as the baby boomers are now retiring at very high levels. New practitioners, automation or otherwise, who either work on or are charged with engineering or maintaining these utility systems for process are generally not well prepared from a knowledge or educational perspective. This issue really adds to the negative financial impact that poorly designed or poorly maintained steam systems contribute to product quality, throughput, and energy loss.

For the artistic, it seems someone should have realized that the word, with all its thermodynamic glory, was already taken. So is it right to add “art” to the critical-thinking process of STEM and to the engineering curriculum to add another dimension to the student’s education? A number of artists and engineers disagree, but mainly because they only view their “discipline” as a tool that makes the other “discipline” superior. In short, it does go both ways, and purists on both sides probably resent that art and engineering go together. Because we come from the engineering side of the fence, I feel that art probably does broaden the horizons of engineers, but bringing art into engineering certainly does nothing to diminish art in and of itself. As art teaches us, there are many ways to comprehend the same thing.

In my own experience with the brewing industry in St. Louis over the past 40 years, the process mix includes engineering, science, and the application of the art of brewing, which goes back to the ancient Greeks. Modern brewing evolved over the past 150 years with people from those disciplines working together, some even using the “glue” of automation to turn their processes into highly automated, high production, and sophisticated dynamos with dozens of new products released yearly, all of them starting with four basic ingredients.

I project that art in STEM (STEM+A if I were chief acronym maker) is absolutely necessary for automation professionals to better appreciate process and better visualize what the future holds. It is also essential for thinking more abstractly, and in homage to the next big thing, developing a critical eye to analyze, put to practical use, and translate from “production-speak” to meaningful “management-speak” the massive amount of data coming our way with the Industrial Internet of Things revolution of which we are on the cusp. Dealing with disruptive technologies in process and factory automation will require digital skills far in excess of what we can even see on the horizon today. It seems that steam may be creating some buzz, but in the future the real kinetic energy will be created by digital engineers.

About the Author
Stephen R. Huffman is vice president, marketing and business development, at Mead O’Brien, Inc., and serves as chairman of the Government Relations Committee at the Automation Federation. Stephen has a 40-year history of optimizing process systems, developing new applications, and providing technical education. He served as 2007 president of ISA.


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A version of this article originally was published at InTech magazine.

ISA’s Future Is Quickly Approaching, and Industrial Cybersecurity Will Play a Critical Role

ISA’s Future Is Quickly Approaching, and Industrial Cybersecurity Will Play a Critical Role

This post is authored by Brian Curtis, president of ISA 2018.


We are just getting into 2018 and some of us are already planning our summer vacation. Time passes quickly and the years go by so fast; it reminds me to reflect on the past and plan for the future.

Like so many ISA leaders, I have benefited from ISA membership. I have been able to participate in and give time and effort to ISA locally and internationally. The Society has reciprocated by providing me amazing opportunities to learn and lead. As an added benefit, I’ve enjoyed access to outstanding technical resources, and have been blessed to work with and benefit from so many talented professionals, many of whom have become old friends.

Our understanding of the global automation community is changing. As we begin to look for new opportunities for growth, our view must expand to include all the various industry segments and markets that depend on automation every day. With this new perspective comes the recognition that ISA’s ability to provide products and services for automation (professionals and industries) extends far beyond the process industries, where we have thrived for 73 years. We also enter 2018 with new and emerging technologies that allow us to engage in exciting ways with automation professionals and industries on the global playing field.

Emerging technologies = new opportunities

Emerging technologies have created new opportunities for automation, and have changed the roles, responsibilities, and needs of automation professionals. All of these developments impact ISA, its spectrum of products and services, and its global audience. ISA’s success, now and in the future, depends on its ability to seize these opportunities while remaining relevant to automation professionals and to the industries and entities they serve. How do we remain relevant?  We must continue to deliver value to individual members and to the global automation community – and we must do this with excellence.

In this month’s column, I turn my attention to a key area of continued focus for the Society—industrial cybersecurity. While there is growing awareness among industry leaders of the risks of cyberattack, we need to work harder to foster recognition in the marketplace that ISA offers real solutions to mitigate these risks. We have the standards, training, and technical resources for manufacturers and other industry organizations to improve operational reliability, profitability, safety, and security.

One of the high-level initiatives ISA leaders have identified for 2018 and beyond is for the Society to be the global authority for industrial control system cybersecurity standards and resources. When we talk about cyber threats, the natural tendency for all of us (including international governments) has been to think of identity theft and other cyberattacks affecting traditional information technology (IT) systems. People tend to forget about cyber threats to operational technology (OT) systems affecting a nation’s critical infrastructure in countries all around the world. Systems that control the operations of our manufacturing plants, chemical plants, water/utilities, power, etc., all face cyber threats with potentially devastating consequences, but the dialogue centers on data protection, privacy, and IT-focused cybersecurity.

Over the past several years, ISA has worked diligently to raise awareness of the control system challenges related to operations technology cybersecurity. Thanks to the Automation Federation and the tireless efforts and commitment of numerous members of ISA staff, volunteer leaders, and subject matter experts, the Society has taken a recognized leadership role in OT industrial control systems cybersecurity—not just in the US, but around the world.

We are off to a great start in this area, but what comes next? Is ISA positioned to fully take advantage of the cybersecurity opportunity? Are we “operationalized” enough to update and expand the current standard or to develop new standards as cybersecurity threats evolve? An important component of the ISA cybersecurity initiative is building a trained workforce in automation and control. What new programs should we develop to stay ahead of the needs in global industries?

ISA has developed an industrial cybersecurity certificate program, the ISA99/IEC 62443 Cybersecurity Fundamentals Specialist Certificate, “to help professionals involved in information technology and control systems security improve their understanding of ISA99/IEC 62443 principles and acquire a command of industrial cybersecurity terminology.” The certificate program has four different certificates that lead to recognition as an IEC 62443 Cybersecurity Expert.

Community college programs

ISA is already engaged with Cleveland Community College to develop industrial operations and cybersecurity training programs in support of workforce readiness initiatives. Can this be replicated at other technical institutions in the US around the globe? The demand from the marketplace for ISA cybersecurity training is increasing each year, and we will continue to evaluate our ability to change the current training programs as cybersecurity threats and opportunities evolve. It’s also important to note that conversations about cybersecurity can serve as the door opener to educate those about other important ISA offerings and capabilities.

On a personal level, we all have a part to play in our daily activities to prevent cyberattacks. We need to be vigilant in how we access social media; consider viewing these items on your cell phone rather than your PC or laptop, as a laptop that is corrupted will attack files on your hard drive, and potentially enter your companies network system, causing wider damage. Do not allow USB sticks to be used on your machine. When you receive emails, check the senders’ name and the content of the subject. If in doubt, don’t open it; send an email to the person to confirm who sent the suspicious email. Clear the cookies in your electronic devices regularly, and back up your hard drive frequently. If all of us apply simple precautions, we will contribute to security in a small way.

I am excited about all the possibilities the future holds for ISA, especially in industrial cybersecurity. We look forward to your contributions and support of these important initiatives. Please contact me at with your thoughts and insights. I look forward to hearing from you and working with you as we move forward in 2018.

About the Author
Brian Curtis, I. Eng., LCGI, is the Operations Manager for Veolia Energy Ireland, providing services to Novartis Ringaskiddy Ltd. in Cork, Ireland. He has more than 35 years of experience in petrochemical, biotech, and bulk pharmaceutical industries, specializing in design, construction management, and commissioning of electrical, instrumentation, and automation control systems. He has managed complex engineering projects in Ireland, England, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, and Germany. A long-time ISA member, Curtis has served on the ISA Executive Board since 2013, the Geographic Assembly Board (2012 – 2015), and the Finance Committee (2013 – 2017.) He was Ireland Section President and Vice President of District 12, which includes Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Curtis has also been active on several Society task forces, including Cybersecurity, Governance, and Globalization-related committees. He received the ISA Distinguished Society Service Award in 2010. He is the Former President of Cobh & Harbor Chamber of Commerce (2013-2015) and Former Chairman of the Ireland Southern Region Chambers (2015-2016) and is an active member of the Ireland National Standards Body, ETCI.

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A version of this article also has been published at ISA Insights.

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