NAMUR is an association of automation and manufacturing IT users, service providers and technical or scientific institutions. The organization was founded in 1949 and has been growing steadily, especially in the 2000’s. It currently has 145 members.
NAMUR is unique in several respects, particularly in the way the members are engaged and participate in forty different working groups, and in the organization’s focus on defining common user requirements. The working groups’ tangible outputs are the NAMUR recommendations (NE) and application sheets (NA). The most recent is NE 161, “Remote Operations Basics”. The complete list can be found here. At the annual NAMUR general assembly, the members meet and the workgroups report on their publications and work in progress.
At the NAMUR general assembly in November 2016, Dr. Thomas Tauchnitz (Sanofi) and Christian Klettner (BASF) presented NAMUR’s early views on what they called the NAMUR Open Architecture. This concept does not compete with the ExxonMobil Open Automation initiative. Instead, it provides an intermediate stepping stone, with practical implementation in the middle long term.
NAMUR has defined an automation pyramid, similar to the four levels of automation identified in the ISA-95 standard. In NAMUR’s view, the automation layer is mainly concerned with critical aspects of operations, that is, real-time closed-loop control, and its interplay with instrumentation and actuation on one hand, and operations management and business applications on the other. NAMUR has identified a plethora of potential solutions now being offered, in the cloud or on-premise, in the “monitoring and optimization” domains. Think of equipment and process monitoring, asset analytics, advanced process control, etc. NAMUR proposes to define a standard that both address the content exchanged, as well as a safe and secure protocol handling the communication.
As a result of our conversations with NAMUR, I will propose a path forward in defining this standard in the coming weeks, in collaboration with Marc Blekkink member of the ISA-95 committee and the committee working on a companion standard for OPC-UA for ISA-95.