OMAC, WBF Aim to Improve Manufacturing Productivity

June 30, 2004
Organizations Begin Cooperative Initiative to Define Common Standards

Leaders of the OMAC Users Group and World Batch Forum (WBF) announced last month they'll explore cooperative activities aimed at developing methods for higher manufacturing productivity for their member companies.

Both groups say by leveraging the commonality between the organizations' existing bodies of work, they see the potential to streamline manufacturing systems integration, training and manpower productivity by "an order of magnitude."

WBF and the OMAC Users Group have been working in parallel to define standardized models and naming conventions for batch and discrete processes. The logical, difference-making next step would be for these groups to leverage what they have in common and increase the commonality of language, content and structure across the total process value chain.

The initiative to that end begins with attempts to coordinate development and implementation of ISA's SP88 and SP95 standards with OMAC's SP88-derived PackML state model and related guidelines across continuous, batch and discrete processes.

Representing WBF, David Chappell, technology leader for Procter & Gamble, sees a convergence of automation technologies and standards. "We believe that a consistent use of standards will allow different people within different operations at the same company to apply automation technologies in the same ways," he says. "This will result in lower costs, common skills levels and reduced manpower requirements."

Thinus van Schoor, automation manager for SAB Miller and member of the OMAC Packaging Workgroup executive committee, reminds the industry that most process companies have a discrete side, as in its packaging operations. "In today's manufacturing environment, the fundamentals of process, batch and discrete automation technologies have more in common than ever," van Schoor explains. "The increasing need for manufacturing agility demands that we cut across the different silos and departments, speak the same language and model processes in the same way. If we can merge our process and discrete manufacturing operations, we will generate great efficiencies for our corporations."