Equipment Manufacturer Case Study #1

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  1. Company Description
  2. Business Case
    1. Step One: Examine the System Landscape
    2. Step Two: Map Internal Terms to ISO 15926
    3. Step Three: Pilot Study
    4. Step Four: Production
  3. Significance of this Project to ISO 15926
  4. Project Execution
    1. Resources

Company Description

This Company (The Company) is one of the world's largest suppliers of industrial instruments. It owns several international brands of industrial measurement and control equipment. In addition it provides software and services to optimize the return from plant assets by improving the level of control.

In 2008, The Company launched an internal project to implement ISO 15926. When the project is finished, The Company will be able to communicate directly with the engineering and asset management systems of any customer who uses ISO 15926-enabled tools.

Business Case

Summary To make trivial the exchange of information about complex plant instrumentation and services.

At the beginning of a project, a large effort is required to simply agree on terms. The first task of a sales engineer is to read the customer's data sheets and specifications and recommend a model number. But despite many years of experience in the industry, it seems that there is always ambiguity somewhere. This is true regardless of how sophisticated the customer is, or whether the customer is an EPC or an Owner.

One would think that experienced instrumentation engineers would have solved this long ago. For instance, in North America we have the Instrument Society of America which publishes recommended data sheets for almost every kind of instrument that exists. Other countries have similar standards. But most engineers and owners customize the standards for their particular situations. The result is that even for simple instruments, the names of attributes are different, or a property or two is missing. So there still has to be a discussion. No one wants to deliver a product and find out that certain terms have been understood differently.

What ISO 15926 brings to the table, then, is a common language for describing the properties of plant equipment. It also brings with it a critical mass of instrument users. Of the organizations world-wide that are sharing the development of ISO 15926, several are large, international EPCs, and several are large, international Owner/Operators. If The Company joined the loose consortium and implemented ISO 15926, there would be a large group of organizations to share information with.

By implementing ISO 15926 the information exchange about instruments would no longer be a major task, but would move to the background.

Step One: Examine the System Landscape

The Company has already come up with its own list of terms that were associated with each item in its product line. Each term has its own ID number. Using this ID number, information exchanges within the company are much more reliable. But external business partners do not use this terminology and are not likely to adopt it.

One attempt at interoperability was to build software to communicate directly with commercial 3D design systems. ("Build a Decoder Ring" in the words of the project manager.) But several years and a great deal of money later, they had import/export with exactly one such commercial system. The Company did not want to have build that kind of a "Decoder Ring" for every software vendor. But if they used ISO 15926, they would only have to build one "Decoder Ring."

Step Two: Map Internal Terms to ISO 15926

A large effort is mapping internal terminology to ISO 15926 part 4, the pubic face of which is the RDS/WIP.

Typical Task: Choose a class for Ambient Temperature

  • how do I find it?
  • do I agree with how it's been classified?
  • if not, how can I extend what's there?

This part has taken longer than initially thought. The RDS/WIP is open to many organizations world wide. Choosing the correct class requires careful consideration.

Step Three: Pilot Study

The Company is just now starting to think about setting up a pilot. It has a number of volunteers, namely the other EPCs and Owner/Operators that are involved with the development of ISO 15926.

The Company will implement the full specification of ISO 15926, to what is called the "Red" Compliance level.

  • WIP endpoint URIs certified by and ISO 15926 Part 4 authority
  • Full Part 7 Templates
  • Part 8 RDF/OWL schema
  • Part 9 Façades

At this level any interface supporting these representations and web services will automatically interpret exactly the same unambiguous semantic content.

Step Four: Production

This project is quite a ways from production. When it is complete it will be able to exchange instrument information directly with its customer's ISO 15926-enabled engineering software.

Significance of this Project to ISO 15926

The Company is the first major equipment manufacturer to attempt to adopt the full specification of ISO 15926. Given that a number of the other early adopters are large EPCs and large Owner/Operators, we could realistically see the first project where information was seamlessly transmitted between EPC, Owner, and (some) equipment vendors.

Project Execution


The project team is spread around the world:

  • United States
  • UK
  • India

The skill sets are primarily experienced instrumentation sales engineers and computer science graduates.

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