This post is authored by Paul Gruhn, president of ISA 2019.

So what are these groups, and why should you care? Do you know why they exist, and what they’re doing to help you, your employer, and the automation industry?

First off, let’s get all the acronyms out of the way. AF is the Automation Federation , ASCI is the Automation Standards Compliance Institute, ISCI is the ISA Security Compliance Institute, and WCI is the Wireless Compliance Institute.

How might these groups be helping ISA, you, your employer, and industry? Keep our vision and mission statements in mind. ISA’s vision statement is: Create a better world through automation. Our mission statement is: Advance technical competence by connecting the automation community to achieve operational excellence. These groups all align with our vision and mission statements. They all exist to make you and your employer more safe, secure, and profitable. I think that’s something we can all support.

The Automation Federation (AF – www.automationfederation.org) is an association of associations. There are 19 different member organizations, including ISA. Together they serve as “The Voice of Automation.” The AF enables these associations to more effectively fulfill their missions, advance the science and engineering of automation technologies and applications, and develop the workforce   needed to capitalize on the benefits of automation. Simply put, the AF exists to advance the safety, security, and future of critical infrastructure and manufacturing. I think that’s something we can all support.

The Automation Standards Compliance Institute (ASCI) was established by ISA to facilitate programs that assess automation-related standards compliance, particularly ISA standards. The ISA Security Compliance Institute (ISCI – www.isasecure.org/en-US/) and the ISA100 Wireless Compliance Institute (ISA100 WCI – www.isa100wci.org) function as operational groups within ASCI.

ISCI exists to provide market awareness, technical support, education, and compliance for control system security requirements based on ISA/IEC 62443 and other relevant standards. There are currently more than 18 member companies within ISCI, with names that you’ll all recognize: users such as ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron; vendors such as Honeywell, Yokogawa, and Schneider; and certifiers such as TÜV and exida. Simply put, ISCI exists to make the world more secure and safer. I think that’s something we can all support.

ISA100 WCI is a collaborative industry-based program supported by more than two dozen users, suppliers, and other stakeholders. The institute creates specifications and processes used in the testing and certification of wireless products and systems based on the ISA 100.11a-2011 standard (IEC 62734). Simply put, the WCI exists to decrease the time, costs, and risks of developing and deploying standards-based, industrial wireless devices, and systems. I think that’s something we can all support.

It takes a lot of work by a lot of people to advance the industry, make the world safer and more secure, lower the cost of automation system development, and promote and implement the benefits of standardization and third-party certifications. ISA and our partner organizations are all heavily involved in helping you, your employer, and industry be more successful.

You might not have known about these organizations earlier, or all that they have been accomplishing behind the scenes. But I encourage you to learn more about them. As you do, I’m certain you’ll recognize their goals and initiatives are well worth your support.

About the Author
Paul Gruhn is a global functional safety consultant at AE Solutions and a highly respected and awarded safety expert in the industrial automation and control field. Paul is an ISA Fellow, a member of the ISA84 standards committee (on safety instrumented systems), a developer and instructor of ISA courses on safety systems, and the primary author of the ISA book Safety Instrumented Systems: Design, Analysis, and Justification. He also has contributed to several automation industry book chapters and has written more than two dozen technical articles. He developed the first commercial safety system modeling software. Paul is a licensed Professional Engineer (PE) in Texas, a certified functional safety expert (CFSE), a member of the control system engineer PE exam team, and an ISA84 expert. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology. Paul is the 2018 ISA president-elect/secretary.

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