Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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Survey: Automation standards ‘extremely important’ in future, say engineers


July 20, 2020
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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About two-thirds of automation engineers believe industry standards will be “extremely important” in the future, according to a recent survey by the International Society of Automation (ISA).

The ISA surveyed 290 people in the automation engineering field to evaluate how they view industry standards. Sixty-three per cent of respondents say they believe that standards will be “extremely important” in the future, and 33 per cent believe they will be “important.”

The findings of the ISA survey confirm that automation engineering professionals rely on industry standards. Survey respondents suggested that standards are essential to maintaining excellence in their work. In general, respondents have a positive outlook about standards, and they believe that standards will continue to be just as critical, if not more so, in the future.

“In creating this survey, ISA wanted to demonstrate the value of standards to the automation community,” says Dr. Maurice J. Wilkins, executive advisor at Yokogawa Marketing HQ, ISA Fellow, former vice-president of ISA’s standards and practices department, current co-chair of the ISA101 Human-Machine Interfaces Standard Committee, and member of the ISA Executive Board’s industry reach and awareness work group.

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“We are grateful to the many automation engineering professionals who took the time to tell us how standards are helping them, their employees, and their organizations.”

Most respondents (87 per cent) say they believe that industry standards make processes and facilities safer.

Eighty-one per cent say they believe that industry standards help companies prove compliance to regulations. Sixty-seven per cent indicated that industry standards make it easier to train and cross-train people in technical jobs. And 63 per cent said that industry standards make processes and facilities more cyber-secure.

The survey also asked questions specific to ISA standards. Survey takers were asked whether they agreed, disagreed, or had a neutral stance on statements regarding characteristics of ISA standards. Among the findings were that 72 per cent of respondents agree with the statement “The importance of standards in general is well-known and understood within my company.” Twenty-one per cent were neutral and seven per cent disagreed.

Conducted in June 2020, the online survey received responses primarily from the United States, Europe and Canada.

Forty-two per cent of respondents described themselves as engineers, 21 per cent as consultants, 15 per cent as managers, and eight per cent as executives. The remaining 14 per cent reported as a mix of technicians, operators, salespeople, marketers, or other roles.

Survey respondents most commonly worked at system integrators (35 per cent), asset owners (30 per cent), or automation providers (22 per cent).

Seventy-seven per cent of survey respondents said they are ISA members. The majority were well experienced in their fields, with 41 per cent of respondents saying they have more than 30 years of experience; 26 per cent with 20 to 30 years of experience; 21 per cent with 10 to 20 years; and 12 per cent with zero to 10 years.

ISA has been a source of automation and control systems industry consensus standards since 1949. ISA’s more than 150 standards reflect the comprehensive knowledge and work of more than 4,000 automation industry experts worldwide.

These individuals, along with more than 140 committees, sub-committees, work groups, and task forces, collaborate on the development and maintenance of ISA standards.

ISA standards cover areas as diverse as the safety of electrical equipment used in hazardous locations to cost-savings measures for interfaces between industrial process control computers and subsystems.