Information Management – Implementing ISO 15926

FT-10 Topic Summary
FT 10


Why do we need ISO 15926? The short answer is: So that we can exchange and reuse complex plant and project information more easily and more cheaply. A slightly longer answer is: To mitigate the current high costs of rekeying and reformatting information to move it from one proprietary system to another. For example, take the task of designing, specifying, and purchasing a process instrument for a plant modification. Imagine how many times information has to be rekeyed after the instrument is designed, until it is installed and commissioned in the target plant (E8-2). This study was developed at the request of Fiatech members and in cooperation with the POSC Caesar Association, for the benefit of the capital projects industry.

Traditional ways of exchanging and reusing information all involve some variant of having someone read one document and then decide which parts to transcribe to a different document. This is true whether we are moving a single value from one data sheet to another or mapping entire databases together. Even with modern computer technology, we still rely on highly skilled people to interpret information and to discern which data values are important. For example, when we look at a data sheet we rely on visual cues and our experience to deal with attribute names that are usually inadequate in themselves to make fine distinctions between similar terms. To understand what our data means, we need more information than is contained in the data itself (E8-2).

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) reported claims that 40 percent of engineering time was spent finding and verifying information. Overall, the study showed that the lack of interoperability among computer-aided design (CAD), engineering, and other software systems costs the American capital projects industry more than $15 billion every year.

Current information exchanges, typically in the handover phase of a project, involve a large amount of human intervention making many data exchanges uneconomic. Using ISO 15926, the mechanics of information exchange will fade into the background thus allowing more data exchanges to take place economically. ISO 15926 is all about driving out ambiguity to reduce the risk and cost of information exchange. The most important things an organization can do to implement ISO 15926 are to thoroughly understand the data in terms of reference data, and to understand that representing the data so the context or meaning is part of the payload is fundamentally different.

ISO 15926 focuses on modeling the information to preserve its meaning as it is being exchanged. In summary, it makes exchanging information between applications easier in two ways:

  1. When information exchanges go beyond manually rekeying data or using point-to-point custom mapping, there is a need to create a data dictionary containing definitions of all objects in the facility along with their attributes.
  2. When information is exchanged, people are needed to manage the transactions. Using the full specification of ISO 15926 will make information exchanges easier by essentially building the context of the information into the information itself to capture the precise meaning of each term and embed it with the term.

Key Findings and Implementation Tools

1 : Information Exchange Process Using ISO 15926 Cloud

The individual data exchanges are replaced by an “ISO 15926 cloud” to show that within the cloud information can go anywhere. Project participants can hire “data brokers” to perform ISO 15926 data exchange in much the same way some organizations today hire an outside organization to manage their internet web pages (E8-2). Use of ISO 15926 will make the following information exchange situations much easier to deal with:

  • Designs from an older project will be more easily reused on a new project.
  • Designs from joint venture partners will be more easily integrated.
  • Design from a specialized designer will be more easily used on all projects that use that particular design.
  • Licensed process design will be sold more easily to EPC contractors.

2 : Integration of RFID Information

RFID technology is getting less expensive and in future almost all objects will have an RFID tag. A manufacturer could imbed an “ISO 15926 identifier” in the tag that will automatically link to all of the information about the component that had been publicized with ISO 15926 protocols. This could include:

  • Material certificates and other information from the manufacturer, inspection certificates
  • The purchasing information from the vendor that supplied it, the construction planning information from the constructor that installed it
  • Warehouse information for spare parts along with the GPS location of them and links to operations and maintenance data

3 : Conceptual Data Model

The conceptual model is neutral to the external models and integrates information from the different external models typically by tag numbers. The conceptual data model simply says how the data should be structured; it does not imply any particular method of storage or exchange. It can be implemented as an actual data warehouse or as information exchange files or in any other way the technology allows.

Part 2 of ISO 15926 describes just such a conceptual data model that can be used for the representation of information about objects used in capital projects. This representation is specified by a generic conceptual model designed to be used in conjunction with reference data. The model can support all disciplines and life-cycle stages, and can support information about functional requirements, physical solutions, types of objects, and individual objects and activities (E8-2).

4 : Federation of Reference Data

As the Open Operations and Maintenance (O&M) Initiative has worked to define the basis for an interoperable execution environment for a System of System paradigm, Fiatech and POSC Caesar Association (PCA) have worked to define the basis for a shared reference information environment based on ISO 15926. There is a tremendous opportunity to help instantiate the sustainable interoperability environment for O&M systems through a well targeted digital handover to the owner-operator.

In 2008, Fiatech, PCA, MIMOSA, and Open O&M initiated a collaboration to harmonize the MIMOSA and Open O&M standards with ISO 15926. The established shared reference environment enables the EPC Contractors to provide the required provisioning information using ISO 15926 protocols.

The Joint Operational Reference Data (JORD) project is the result of a 2009 recommendation to build an industry standard Reference Data Service (RDS). An RDS is the user interface for working with and managing reference data for ISO 15926 (E8-2).

5 : Harmonizing Industry Standards to Exchange Equipment Data (HEED)

The objective of this project was to evaluate the use of electronic data exchange to integrate and support the processes and software applications used for performance management and margin management in mechanical systems. The following tasks were performed (E9-8):

  1. Identify, characterize, and analyze the types of margins.
  2. Evaluate the requirements that the use of these margins place on the software applications used.
  3. Identify specific data relevant to margin management with reference to a representative Closed Loop, Heat transfer, Liquid circulating (CHL) mechanical system.
  4. Recommend strategies for mapping equipment performance and margin management data to ISO 15926 data structures and provide examples


Key Performance Indicators

Improved schedule, Reduced cost, Improved data interoperability between systems

Related Resources

An Introduction to ISO 15926 (E8-2)

Publication Date: 11/2011 Resource Type: Fiatech Publication Source: FT-10

Equipment Performance Management and the Use of ISO 15926 (HEED Ph.1) (E9-8)

Publication Date: 10/2015 Resource Type: Fiatech Publication Source: FT-10

Harmonization of Pump Schemas with the ISO 15926 Reference Data Library (E9-11)

Publication Date: 12/2011 Resource Type: Fiatech Publication Source: FT-10

ISO 15926 Conformance Testing - Recommended Approaches (E9-15)

Publication Date: 04/2014 Resource Type: Fiatech Publication Source: FT-10

ISO 15926 Information Models and Proteus Mappings (IIMM) (E9-16)

Publication Date: 03/2017 Resource Type: Fiatech Publication Source: FT-10

ISO 15926 3D Model (E9-14)

Publication Date: 11/2008 Resource Type: Fiatech Publication Source: FT-10

ISO 15926 P&ID Model (E9-18)

Publication Date: 03/2009 Resource Type: Fiatech Publication Source: FT-10

Reference Material: NIST Report on ISO 15926 Conformance Testing, A Study of Candidate Approaches (E9-26)

Publication Date: 04/2014 Resource Type: Fiatech Publication Source: FT-10