Last week I was invited by John Kowal, director of business development at B&R Industrial Automation and an OMAC board member, to sit in during a portion of the OMAC Packaging Working Group’s PackML and PackSpec committee meetings at B&R Industrial Automation’s U.S. headquarters in Roswell, Ga. The meetings were largely focused on reviewing specific sections of the OMAC standard to better clarify the language in the standard to help make it more immediately beneficial to industry. As a result, much of what I saw focused on the specifics of ISA-TR88.00.02, the standard concerned with machine and unit states for batch manufacturing plants and batch control. Attention was also paid to the most used PackTags, to help better convey information about these tags to industry to improve implementation of the standard.
Following last week’s meeting to foster agreement on updates and clarifications to the standard, the proposed tag revisions will be submitted to ISA and a minimum tag list will be published in an OMAC implementation guide. The Packaging Working Group plans to present the changes arrived at in this meeting for ratification at the annual OMAC meeting, held in conjunction with the ARC Automation Forum, February 11-14, 2013, in Orlando, Fla.
The role of the PackSpec group during these meetings is to “harmonize its specification document with the PackML revisions,” says Kowal. In addition to the recommended TR88 changes to be presented at the next meeting, the PackSpec group plans to present its specification template to beta test the specification with an end user and OEM, and to develop a test protocol.
Further discussions at the meeting last week involved the teams’ goal to outline a five year plan to present to OMAC Packaging Workgroup leadership. This plan is expected to address TR88 revisions, education activities, a modular programming template, and harmonization with the Weihenstephan protocol. The PackSpec team also cited the development of a software compliance tool for PackML as a specific future goal for the group.