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OMAC gets the urge to merge with the ISA

01 February, 2005

OMAC gets the urge to merge with the ISA

OMAC - the Open Modular Architecture Controls users` group - will soon merge with the ISA - the Instrumentation, Systems and Automation society. OMAC members and the ISA board have both approved the merger.

OMAC was formed in 1997 to bring together automation end-users and suppliers to work on "open" control architectures. Its formation was originally driven by Chrysler, Ford and General Motors, who wanted to end their dependence on proprietary controls protocols which forced them to buy from particular suppliers, and hindered links with equipment from other suppliers.

In recent years, OMAC`s focus has shifted to the machine tool and packaging sectors with large end-users driving the move towards open architectures in these sectors. It currently has about 600 members, drawn from more than 100 companies around the world.

Until now, OMAC has been run by volunteers and has not been a legal entity, limiting its activities and posing the risk of potential legal actions. Under the proposed merger, OMAC will keep its identity and independence as a subsidiary of ISA. It will gain financial and other resources form the ISA, which will, in turn, extend its reach from its traditional base in the process and batch sectors, into discrete manufacturing.

One possible development could be to absorb OMAC`s PackML guidelines into the ISA SP88 standard for batch control systems, thus strengthening these guidelines. OMAC`s activities could also expand into areas such as materials handling

"OMAC has been blessed with the active participation of a dedicated group of volunteers from numerous end user companies, automation suppliers, and OEMs over its past eight years or so of informal existence," says Andy McDonald of Unilever, who chairs OMAC`s board. "We are delighted that we are now affiliating with such a respected and established organization as ISA. It should help OMAC to achieve even more success in establishing guidelines in areas such as packaging, computerized numerical control, and manufacturing architecture."

"ISA is excited about the opportunity to work more closely with the members of OMAC to establish consensus industry standards for the manufacturing community," says ISA president Donald Zee. "The guidelines that OMAC has established have greatly facilitated more efficient and effective manufacturing. They serve as an excellent complement to ISA`s legacy of useful industry standards, and we look forward to working together in the future."

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