OMAC, originally “open modular architecture control,” is an organization of end users that promotes adoption of commercial and industry standards in order to achieve equipment interoperability.
Lynn Craig, president and senior consultant of Manufacturing Automation Associates inc., head of ISA SP88 committee and an officer of the World Batch Forum reports, “The SP88 committee had started to discuss modeling ways for the control system to communicate with third-party equipment that is not S88 compliant. The discussions with OMAC regarding expanding the model to packaging have had a re-energizing effect. Anytime you have a standardized interface, you have a better chance of buying standardized equipment. I’ve been told by people in the pharmaceutical industries that this would go a long way toward speeding validation.”
Comparing the initial meetings of OMAC/WBF with the start of S88, Craig notes, “S88 started out to define a technology approach to batch and wound up with a generic hierarchy that can be applied to process and discrete manufacturing. Our supposition is that this will be applicable to packaging. Since we will be using stuff that already exists in the S88 standard and PackML, we have a shot at getting done in a reasonable time. When we started working on S88, it took five years to get the standard out. However, vendors had systems on the market before the final standard published. We are hopeful that same thing will happen with this joint work with OMAC.”
Craig notes that this standard development does not necessarily stop with horizontal integration. “Many companies now need to integrate information vertically across the enterprise,” says Craig. “We thought that if this methodology works for batch processing why not use the same approach for integration. It would help if there were a clean mapping from the S88 Batch standard to the S95 Enterprise integration standard. We have a lot of work and understanding to accomplish, but we’ve agreed that the two committees have a lot of synergy.”
See the story that goes with this sidebar: Drive Integration with Standards