Unlocking seamless integration and operational excellence through global standards in the process industry
The digital age has ushered in countless opportunities for industries to innovate, optimize, and evolve. This is particularly evident in the process industry, where the flow of data across various stages can be a make-or-break factor in efficiency and productivity. The myriad of platforms, software, and digital tools available to industry professionals can either streamline operations or create chaos due to a lack of standardization. To fully leverage the opportunities of digital transformation, the industry needs a cohesive and standardized framework for data exchange and management. This article explores how global and industry-specific standards like STEP AP 239, STEP AP 242, ISO 15926, DEXPI, CFIHOS, IEC ISO 81346, and IFC are setting the stage for seamless interoperability, risk mitigation, and operational efficiency in the process industry.
The pillars: STEP AP 239 and STEP AP 242
STEP AP 239, specifically designed for Product Lifecycle Support, provides an infrastructure that facilitates efficient Integrated Logistic Support. With its next edition, STEP AP 239 aims for easier implementation methods, including web-based options, harmonizing its capabilities with other STEP Application Protocols such as STEP AP 242.
STEP AP 242 merges Aerospace’s STEP AP203 and Automotive’s STEP AP214 to provide a unified approach to 3D engineering data management. These STEP standards serve as the bedrock upon which enterprises can build robust PLM systems, ensuring data is ‘created once and used many times’, across various industry domains.
IEC ISO 81346: The language of interoperability
IEC ISO 81346 deals with creating a common technical language for industrial systems. This standard allows for the establishment of clear and unambiguous tags, ensuring consistency and mutual understanding among all stakeholders. When integrated with STEP standards, it creates a robust framework for ensuring quality and predictability across processes.
The complementary standards: DEXPI, CFIHOS, and ISO 15926
While STEP and IEC ISO 81346 provide a foundational framework, standards like DEXPI, CFIHOS, and ISO 15926 offer specialized functionalities. DEXPI focuses on common data exchange for piping and instrumentation diagrams (P&IDs). CFIHOS aims for a practical standardization of information handover, and ISO 15926 integrates life-cycle data for process plants. Their objectives align well with global semantic interoperability, data archiving, and life-cycle information management—core goals of the STEP standards.
The interoperability between these standards can be a game-changer. For instance, CFIHOS can improve the quality of data being exchanged via STEP protocols, while DEXPI can ensure that the data is relevant and precise for P&IDs. IEC ISO 81346 can work as a bridge that tags this information effectively, making it easier for systems to recognize and process it.
Embracing standards for a digitally transformed future
In conclusion, the road to digital transformation in the process industry is significantly smoother when built upon a foundation of global standards. These standards, from STEP APs to ISO 15926 and IEC ISO 81346, offer a blueprint for semantic interoperability, data integration, and long-term information management. Industry-specific initiatives like DEXPI and CFIHOS provide the specialized guidelines required for seamless data and document management in the process industry.
Digital transformation isn’t merely an option; it’s a necessity for industries seeking to maintain competitiveness in an increasingly complex ecosystem. By harnessing these standards, companies can facilitate faster and more accurate data exchange, improve operational efficiency, and mitigate risks, setting the stage for innovations like Digital Twins and Industry 4.0.
Whether you’re an operator, a contractor, or an equipment manufacturer, understanding and implementing these standards can play a pivotal role in your digital transformation journey. It’s time to move beyond proprietary solutions and fragmented data pools to a future where information is accessible, understandable, and actionable, no matter where it originates from.
By embracing these standards collectively, we can look forward to a future of increased interoperability, reduced operational risks, and a more streamlined process industry.