Version 9 (modified by gordonrachar, 15 years ago)


History of ISO 15926 and The Major Players

Status of this document: Working Draft


  1. Abstract
  2. 1991 - ProcessBASE
  3. Petrochemical Open Software Corporation (POSC)
  4. POSC Caesar Association
  5. STEP
  7. ISO 15926


[Enter abstract]

When your humble author started his career in plant design, computers were not commonly used for anything at all. Drafting was by pencil on paper. Specifications were written with a typewriter. When information was transferred from one document to another the only choice was for a human to read the original document, find the value to be transferred, then write it by hand on the target document. If the target document was something like a specification it was usually given to a secretary to for typing.

Transferring information from one storage location to another was cumbersome, but conceptually simple--you would take all the specifications, sort them into some logical order, perhaps bind them into books, and move them to the new location. Data turnover to the client at the end of a plant design project was similar to the last scene of the moveie Raiders of the Lost Arc. A forklift would carry a wooden box down a aisle of identical wooden boxes and put it in a pile. It sometimes took years for the owner to review all the boxes and catagorize the binders of information.

No one really liked this (as in: "I really liked that piece of chocholate cake, may I have another?"), but that was just the way it was. But when computers started to make their way into the design office and binders of datasheets gave way to databases it didn't take long for people to imagine a better way.

[Feedback requested: Does this help or is it repetative?]

In the early 1990's many organizations started projects to explore the issue. Over the next decade they found out about each other and joined their resources. [Robin Benjamin's abstact for Daratech 2009]

1991 - ProcessBASE

Note to me: looks like a program to simulate processes (plant, computer?). it spawned some thought about transferring information. which lead to ProcessBASE, which lead to ISO 10302-AP221, which lead to STEP (or it already existed?) which lead to 15926

webpages open:

ISO 10302 Precursor to 15926

ProcessBase Plantstep Cooperation


Caeser Research Projects

[Feedback Requested: is there any way to make these pages open in a new window?]

Petrochemical Open Software Corporation (POSC)

POSC started life as a consortium of 100 companies engaged in the production, refinement, and distribution of petrochemical products and of companies that supply hardware for those operations. POSC worked to share information among its members and to promote useful software modeling, data, and application integration standards.

At the 2006 Standards Summit & Reception in Houston on November 8, 2006, POSC Rebranded itself as Energistics

From its new website

Energistics' rebranding supports the new leadership goal of executing a market-focused business strategy. The mission of Energistics is to deliver to the upstream oil and gas industry the means to produce, deploy and maintain common information and data standards.

So it looks like only the name has changed.

POSC Caesar Association

  • Caesar Offshore Project
  • PetroChemical Open Software Corporation

The Caesar Offshore Program started in 1993 as an industry driven research and development project under the name of Caesar Offshore Program. It was sponsored by The Norwegian Research Council, Aker, DNV, Kværner, Norsk Hydro, Saga Petroleum and Statoil. The purpose of the project was to benefit the oil and gas industry by developing a product model for life cycle information. The focus was on standardising the technical data definitions for facilities and equipment associated with onshore and offshore oil and gas production facilities. In the period 1994-96 Caesar Offshore Program was defined as a project of Petrotechnical Open Software Corporation (POSC), Houston, and changed its name to the POSC Caesar Project.

The technical work of POSC Caesar was more and more related to the ISO STEP standard and influenced by similar work in European standardisation organisation such as PISTEP in UK and USPI in the Netherlands through the virtual organisation EPISTLE.

POSC Caesar Association was founded in 1997, as a global, non-profit, member organisation that shall promote the development of openly available specifications to be used as standards for enabling the integration and interoperability of data, software and related matters for e-engineering and e-commerce.

POSC Caesar has a special responsibility for the maintenance and enhancement of ISO 15926 “Integration of life-cycle data for process plants including oil and gas production facilities". However, the organisation shall be flexible and at all times align its activities with the needs of its membership.

POSC Caesar works now as a global standardisation organisation in close collaboration with other standardisation organisations in Europe, USA and Japan.



  • STEP
  • Industrial automation systems and integration - Product data representation and exchange
  • ISO 10303

ISO 10303 is an ISO standard for the computer-interpretable representation and exchange of industrial product data. Its official title is Industrial automation systems and integration - Product data representation and exchange, and it is also known as STEP or the Standard for the Exchange of Product model data. The standard's objective is to provide a mechanism that is capable of describing product data throughout the life cycle of a product, independent from any particular system. The nature of this description makes it suitable not only for neutral file exchange, but also as a basis for implementing and sharing product databases and archiving.

Typically STEP can be used to exchange data between CAD, Computer-aided manufacturing, Computer-aided engineering, Product Data Management/EDM and other CAx systems. STEP is addressing product data from mechanical and electrical design, Geometric dimensioning and tolerancing, analysis and manufacturing, with additional information specific to various industries such as automotive, aerospace, building construction, ship, oil and gas, process plants and others.

STEP is developed and maintained by the ISO technical committee TC 184, Technical Industrial automation systems and integration, sub-committee SC4 Industrial data. Like other ISO and IEC standards STEP is copyright by ISO and is not freely available.


European Process Industries STEP Technical Liaison Executive

EPISTLE is a virtual organisation with no employees, no funding, and no legal status.

The membership of EPISTLE is open to those organisations that are consortia of companies working to develop standards for information management and prepared to commit resources with other members to achieve commonly agreed objectives.

Individual companies and other organisations may attend EPISTLE meetings on an observer basis, but are encouraged to join or form a consortium that is a full member of EPISTLE. Observers may only speak on invitation of the chair of the meeting concerned, and may be asked to leave the meeting at the discretion of the chair.

Membership The founding members under this new constitution are:

  • POSC/Caesar

ISO 15926

ISO 15926 is a standard for data integration, sharing, exchange, and hand-over between computer systems.

In the early 2000s, for modelling-technical reasons POSC/Caesar proposed another standard than ISO 10303, called ISO 15926. EPISTLE (and ISO) supported that proposal, and continued the modelling work, thereby writing Part 2 of ISO 15926. This Part 2 has official ISO IS (International Standard) status since 2003.

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