Founded in 1945, ISA develops widely used global standards; certifies industry professionals; provides education and training; publishes books and technical articles; hosts conferences and exhibits; and provides networking and career development programs for its 36,000 members and 350,000 customers around the world. ISA’s members and customers are supported by ISA’s Corporate Partners—industry leading companies providing cutting-edge solutions for automation challenges.
The International Society of Automation (www.isa.org) is a nonprofit professional association that sets the standard for those who apply engineering and technology to improve the management, safety, and cybersecurity of modern automation and control systems used across industry and critical infrastructure. Founded in 1945, ISA develops widely used global standards; certifies industry professionals; provides education and training; publishes books and technical articles; hosts conferences and exhibits; and provides networking and career development programs for its 36,000 members and 350,000 customers around the world.
ISA owns Automation.com, a leading online publisher of automation-related content, and is the founding sponsor of The Automation Federation (www.automationfederation.org), an association of non-profit organizations serving as 'The Voice of Automation.' Through a wholly owned subsidiary, ISA bridges the gap between standards and their implementation with the ISA Security Compliance Institute (www.isasecure.org) and the ISA Wireless Compliance Institute (www.isa100wci.org).
Enable our members, including world-wide subject matter experts, automation suppliers, and end-users, to work together to develop and deliver the highest quality, unbiased automation information, including standards, a access to technical information, professional development resources, and opportunities to network with other automation professionals. Learn more about...
ISA officially was born as the Instrument Society of America on 28 April 1945, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. It was the brainchild of Richard Rimbach of the Instruments Publishing Company and grew out of the desire of 18 local instrument societies to form a national organization. Rimbach is recognized as the founder of ISA. ISA Founders On 28 April 1945 a group of visionary thinkers from local instrumentation societies met to organize ISA.
Industrial instruments, which became widely used during World War II, continued to play an ever-greater role in the expansion of technology after the war. Individuals like Rimbach and others involved in industry saw a need for the sharing of information about instruments on a national basis, as well as for standards and uniformity. The Instrument Society of America addressed that need.
Albert F. Sperry, chairman of Panelit Corporation, became ISA’s first president in 1946. In that same year, the Society held its first conference and exhibit in Pittsburgh. The first standard, RP 5.1 Instrument Flow Plan Symbols, followed in 1949, and the first journal, which eventually became today’s InTech, was published in 1954.
In the years following, ISA continued to expand its products and services, increasing the size and scope of the ISA conference and exhibition, developing symposia, offering professional development and training, adding to technical Divisions, and even producing films about measurement and control.
Membership grew from 900 in 1946 to 6,900 in 1953, and today ISA Members number 28,000 from almost 100 countries.
Recognizing ISA’s international reach and the fact that its technical scope had grown beyond instruments, in the fall of 2000, the ISA Council of Society Delegates approved a legal name change to ISA--The Instrumentation, Systems, and Automation Society.
In October 2008, the Council voted to rename the Society to the International Society of Automation, a name that reflects our global nature and inclusive membership base. With our global growth, we continue to set the standard for automation now more than ever. And our name says it all.
The dictionary defines automation as “the technique of making an apparatus, a process, or a system operate automatically.”
We define automation as 'the creation and application of technology to monitor and control the production and delivery of products and services.”
Using our definition, the automation profession includes “everyone involved in the creation and application of technology to monitor and control the production and delivery of products and services”; and the automation professional is “any individual involved in the creation and application of technology to monitor and control the production and delivery of products and services.”Automation encompasses many vital elements, systems, and job functions.
Automation provides benefits to virtually all of industry. Here are some examples:
- Manufacturing, including food and pharmaceutical, chemical and petroleum, pulp and paper
- Transportation, including automotive, aerospace, and rail
- Utilities, including water and wastewater, oil and gas, electric power, and telecommunications
- Facility operations, including security, environmental control, energy management, safety, and other building automation
- And many others
Automation crosses all functions within industry from installation, integration, and maintenance to design, procurement, and management. Automation even reaches into the marketing and sales functions of these industries.
Automation involves a very broad range of technologies including robotics and expert systems, telemetry and communications, electro-optics, Cybersecurity, process measurement and control, sensors, wireless applications, systems integration, test measurement, and many, many more.Why is the automation professional so important?
Think about the cell phone and computer you use every day to do your job. Think about the car you drive to take to work. Think about the food you eat; water you drink; clothes you wear; and appliances you use to store, prepare, and clean them. Think about the television you watch, video games you play, or music system you listen to. Think about the buildings you visit. Think about any modern convenience or necessity. Just about anything you can think of is the result of complex processes. Without talented individuals to design, build, improve, and maintain these processes, these technological advances would never have occurred and future innovations would be impossible. Without automation professionals, our world and our future would be very different.
Automation professionals are responsible for solving complex problems in many vital aspects of industry and its processes. The work of automation professionals is critically important to the preservation of the health, safety, and welfare of the public and to the sustainability and enhancement of our quality of life.
The U.S. government, among many others, recognizes the unsung value of automation professionals. Support for the importance of automation to industry comes from the United States Senate Committee on Appropriations. On 30 June 2009, the committee submitted report language (including the excerpt shown below) to accompany the bill: H. R. 2847 (Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010) emphasizing the importance of automation to industry:
“Supporting the Nation's manufacturers, especially small businesses, is critical to keeping America innovative in a global marketplace…MEP, NIST, and its partners are directed to consider the importance automation plays in accelerating and integrating manufacturing processes. The topic of automation cuts across all levels of industry, rather than serving as a stand-alone technology, and particularly affects the fields of control systems cyber security, industrial wireless sensors, systems interoperability, and other basic automation technologies necessary for the success of industrial enterprises. NIST is encouraged to consult and collaborate with independent experts in the field of automation to support the agency's efforts in working with industry to increase innovation, trade, security, and jobs.'
Automation professionals do and will continue to play a crucial role in protecting us from cyber-attack; enhancing our quality of life; and ensuring the reliability, efficiency, safety, constant improvement, and competitiveness of our electric power systems, transportation systems, manufacturing operations, and industry as a whole. Without these individuals, we cannot advance into the future.