Technology | Standards

ISA-95 Standards and Innovation

Words by Martin Kelman
ISA-95 Standards and Innovation

What is the ISA-95 Standard?

People, companies, and industry are always looking to standard organisations to define a common language to facilitate communication. Since the turn of the century, the ISA-95 standard has dominated the world of MES/MOM. ISA-95 is made up of a set of MOM activities, underpinned with data structures and interface definitions (B2MML). Despite some shortcomings, adoption of the ISA-95 standard has been widespread, which can’t be said of other standards and/or technologies.

Over the last 2 years, Atlas has been involved in several additive manufacturing innovation projects. These projects rely on design to manufacture, and manufacture to maintain end-to-end processes. To meet the requirements of these projects, we had to convert the traditional horizontal architectures to vertical processes (as suggested by Industry 4.0). This made us question the future of the ISA-95 standard and how standards inhibit innovation.

What has the beloved ISA-95 standard done wrong?

Standards provide a level of comfort by drawing clear lines and boundaries, they do not ask “What if..?”

The “What If..?” question doesn’t always need to be ask, but sometimes the time is right. Industry 4.0 makes us stop and think… what is Industry 4.0 telling us? It is telling us to think differently, don’t be constrained and innovate.

To innovate we need to play, we need to explore, we need to tear up the rule book.

Otherwise, we remain in our comfortable bubble of standards and certainty whilst the rest of the world is passing us by.

This is the danger of standards. We believe standards are a rule book that everyone is following, apart from those that are not. And those that are not are the thought leaders. Atlas embodies this change, change at the pace and scale needed to tackle the grand challenges of our time.

Sorry ISA-95, it’s time to move aside and let innovation occur.