ISA Interchange

Welcome to the official blog of the International Society of Automation (ISA).

This blog covers numerous topics on industrial automation such as operations & management, continuous & batch processing, connectivity, manufacturing & machine control, and Industry 4.0.

The material and information contained on this website is for general information purposes only. ISA blog posts may be authored by ISA staff and guest authors from the automation community. Views and opinions expressed by a guest author are solely their own, and do not necessarily represent those of ISA. Posts made by guest authors have been subject to peer review.

All Posts

Is Your PM Program Passive, Preventative, Predictive or Proactive?


This article was written by Ian Verhappen, PE, CAP, managing director of the ISA108 committee, and Herman Storey, co-chair of the ISA108 and ISA100 committees.


There are so many acronyms and so little understanding of what they mean. Not only do we have to interpret acronyms that are specific to our industry, the automation discipline, our companies, and what is perceived to be “common knowledge” across multiple sectors, but the expectation is that we do so consistently. These are tough tasks, for which this article will give you pause for thought and the impetus to contribute to the discussion, so we can standardize at least some of these concepts.
Keeping in mind that “project manager” is not the “PM” we are considering, the table (scroll below) shows a number of maintenance-related PM terms that could have the corresponding meanings. We suggest alternate abbreviations to reduce confusion. We encourage comments on these in hopes that we as an automation community can get closer to a common understanding and definition of each of the terms. Only one of the definitions is presently accepted by industry, as reflected in the referenced International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standard.  


Unfortunately, even if we could agree on these definitions and their associated acronyms, the respective term would describe only a small part of the complete set of activities that encompass the full life cycle of configuration and system tools support, parts management, scheduling, maintenance activity, and follow-up, including determining why the maintenance is required. Fortunately, work is being done to help define how to do effective maintenance for intelligent field devices.
The ISA108 standards committee, Intelligent Device Management (IDM) has developed a series of documents to define the full life cycle for intelligent devices. IDM is a much better expression of the asset management requirements for intelligent devices than any of the limited and confusing PM terms. Because IDM addresses the full life cycle, any associated program cannot focus only on the maintenance aspect of the device and associated support infrastructure, but must begin at the onset of the design process and continue through to the retirement or replacement of the device. The intelligent device life cycle is obviously much shorter than that of a facility, yet longer than a typical run between facility maintenance outages.
Consequently, the various life cycles must also be coordinated, as the IDM program must coordinate with other elements of the business and control systems. There are many other standards-related activities within ISA, the IEC, and the International Organization for Standardization that exist or are in development to identify and bridge the “gaps” between not only the various systems, but also between the associated work practices to execute the tasks necessary to support intelligent devices throughout their life cycles. Your PM program may be passive, preventative, predictive, proactive, or something else entirely, but regardless of the name, it represents but one part, although an important one, of the full life cycle of your automation system and facility.  


About the Author
Ian Verhappen, P.Eng., CAP, is a senior project manager at CIMA+ where he specializes in industrial communications networks, including Foundation Fieldbus technology; control system migrations/upgrades; process analyzers; sample systems; and oil sands automation. Ian, an ISA Fellow, has been involved in digital communications since 1994. He helped to install the first multi-vendor Foundation Fieldbus project in 1996. Since then, he has served as both a project engineer/designer and an external review consultant for a number of companies in pulp and paper, mining, food processing, water and wastewater, oil sands processing, petrochemical and refining industries. Ian is an active ISA volunteer leader, serving as Vice-President of ISA Standards and Practices and a former ISA District 10 Vice President. As a leader in automation practices, he has worked closely with the Standards Council of Canada and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). He currently serves as Canadian Chair of IEC TC65, SC65B and SC65E. He is co-author of several ISA books, including A Guide to the Automation Body of Knowledge and Foundation Fieldbus. An inductee into the Process Automation Hall of Fame, Ian earned a bachelor of science degree in environmental science and a bachelor of chemical engineering degree, both from the University of Alberta.


Connect with Ian



About the Author
Herman Storey is co-chair of the ISA108 and ISA100 committees. He is chief technology officer of HE Storey Consulting based in Kingwood, Tex.


Connect with Herman


A version of this article also was published at InTech magazine


Related Posts

ISA: Growing Stronger Together for a Brighter Future

As a part of the International Society of Automation (ISA) community—I see firsthand how our Society need...
Eddie Habibi Feb 29, 2024 9:46:56 AM

Is AI the Key to Unlocking Procurement Cost Savings?

As more people experiment with using artificial intelligence (AI) for real-life use cases, many wonder if...
Emily Newton Feb 27, 2024 10:15:02 AM

My ISA Journey

My ISA journey thus far has been one ripe with growth and knowledge. I’m lucky to say it has been one of ...
Prabhu Soundarrajan Feb 22, 2024 12:12:00 PM