A guru always stays up to date on best practices. Are you keeping up with the best practices of the process control industry? In this blog post, we’ll look at some resources to help you stay current.

Let’s face it – “Process Control” is a huge field. You need to keep up with standards for instrumentation, documentation, electrical codes, control theory and application, hardware, networking, security, and dozens of other topics.

So how do you know where to turn? Luckily, there are some excellent resources to keep you pointed in the right direction. Some of these are “official”, and others are more informal. But all are very informative, and will save you a lot of work. Here’s a sampling of some of the best on-line resources for best practices in process control:

Best Practices in Process Control

Reference Link Description
Process Industries Practices for Process Control http://www.pip.org/practices/pc/index.asp A treasure-trove of best practices for the process control professional. Whether you need guidelines for purchase, selection, or application, you’ll find it here. Most are available for purchase at a reasonable fee. Or, your company can get unlimited access by paying the $25K fee. There are less expensive trial memberships available. They even offer a Sample Guideline for Application of Control Valves for free.
ISA ISA Standards Includes many commonly-accepted standards for instrumentation and automation. ISA’s standards are good for topics such as documentation, test procedures, batch control, and security. They have also harmonized with a number of other agencies, such as ANSI. As a “standards organization”, some of these documents can be a bit abstract. Not as concrete as the application guidance docs in the PIP. However, you can’t beat the price: If you are an ISA member, you can download ISA’s 150+ standards, absolutely free.
IEEE IEEE Standards Web Page IEEE standards are widely recognized. Like ISA’s standards, they are not always directly applicable as a best practice. However, there are IEEE standards for most all hardware-related issues, as well as many software issues on process control. Finding what you want is a bit difficult, however.
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ISA, formerly the “Instrument Society of America”, is trying to change its name to “The International Society of Automation”. When I met Kim Miller-Dunn, ISA president, a few weeks ago, the re-naming was at the top of her list. And the new title much better reflects the purpose of ISA.

As a member, you receive a copy of InTech magazine, which is a forward-looking magazine, with attention given to the direction of the automation and process control industries. The ISA website is also a good way to see what sort of things are being emphasized in the industry. Visit ISA’s Web Site

You also gain access to ISA’s standards, such as S88, the batch standard. The standards are available free to members. If you are involved in system design, you should have copies of the relevant standards. No excuses!

Local Section meetings are organized throughout the world. These typically meet once per month. Many offer free seminars, and mini trade-show exhibits. But mostly, they are a great way to meet other people in the industry in your area. The process control community is pretty tight-knit. I have met many people through ISA, and many of them appear years later, in a different job, in a different state, and in unexpected ways.

There is an annual fee of $85 to join. $10 for Students.

Do yourself (and your career) a favor – Join ISA today. Use this link:

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