Origin and Development
WIB is an International Association of end-users of components, systems and IT related items in in the Process Industries mainly located in the Netherlands and Belgium . WIB started off in 1963 as a group of Instrumentation end-users who agreed to share effort and cost to technically evaluate performance of measurement and control equipment entering the market. Initially a group of 6 founding members has now grown to a membership of about 40.
( refer also to the 'Members' logo sheet on this page ) Over the last 20 years , WIB's activities have evolved to include extensive technical knowledge sharing about technology opportunities and applications, as well as discussion party with vendors and authorities on implementation and interpretation of new rules and legislation , on e.g. metering, functional safety, emission monitoring and plant Security aspects.
WIB operates through Working groups which are each focussed on the main partitions of the overal contents of Process Automation in process plants.
There are currently 11 active WG's, in the following areas:
• Field equipment (flow, level, temperature and pressure measurements, metering )
• analytical instruments, environmental instrumentation; quality measurement,
• End elements, valves,
• Data systems and communications;
• process control , control systems , safeguarding and security;
• data management, design and engineering tools;
• standards and practices.
Members can be any organisation or industry worldwide, involved directly or indirectly with industrial automation, measurement and control equipment and systems. Excluded from membership are companies involved with the manufacturing, marketing or sale of any of the above equipment or systems for commercial purposes.
WIB has a sister organisation, Evaluation International (United Kingdom), this Liaison has a common mission statement. All EI and WIB assessment reports are distributed amongst each other's members.
WIB has a close relationship with the German end-users' organisation NAMUR (International User Association of Automation Technology in Process Industries).
A liaison agreement aims to improve the co-operation between NAMUR, WIB, Exera (France) and EI in the areas of common interest. Liaison activities concentrate on effective actions and communications aimed at improving the quality and 'fitness for purpose' of instruments and systems used in the process industry, and on obtaining an international profile on behalf of its members.
FHI Het Instrument; Industrial Automation
WIB has a informal liaison with the Dutch branch organisation for industrial/process automation, FHI. FHI is an association for local and internationally operating suppliers of instruments, products and systems for the automation of production processes.
Working-party on Instrument Behaviour
Werkgroup voor Instrument Beoordeling
How it Started
In 1963, five leading Dutch process industries (BPM now Shell, Algemene Kunstzijde Unie now AKZO, DSM, Hoogovens now TATA Steel and Unilever) got together to explore combining tests and sharing the report results on process instrumentation. Companies were at the time carrying out these activities individually at very high costs.
The five concluded that sharing instrument evaluation reports, even with direct competitors, would be to the benefit of all. Following a meeting held on the in November 1963 resulted in the formation of a cooperation panel under the name "Werkgroup voor Instrument Beoordeling", shortened to WIB. An independent laboratory, the Institute for Applied Physical Research-TNO, was approached and asked to carry out testing on behalf of WIB. TNO was also made responsible for the administration of the association, supervised by a Board of WIB members.
WIB activities attracted high interest from user companies in the Netherlands and abroad wanting to join and a few years later the official language became English. WIB was
translated into "Working-party on Instrument Behaviour". It was officially registered as a non- profit association in 1968.
The Early Years
WIB membership kept growing and by the end of sixties, the opportunity arose to separate the daily management of WIB from TNO and employ a professional instrument engineer as manager. The WIB Office was now formed.
• Sister Organisations
A similar cooperation of process industries had been established in England since 1962 under the name of SIREP, now Evaluation International. Both WIB and SIREP had the same objectives and over
the years several agreements were reached. In 1975 they started to exchange reports, in a standard report format, to each other's members. Towards the end of the seventies WIB and SIREP were
approached by EXERA who had set up themselves as an evaluation group in France. EXERA reporting was in French and it was not until 1982 when they started publishing in both French and English
that they could enter into a report exchange agreement. SWE, the International Instrument User's Association was formed. In 2013 SWE was dismantled, though the close collaboration with EI was
kept in place.
• Working Groups
In the early eighties WIB formed groups called Working Groups. Experts from member companies were asked to address the development of specific projects, formulate test programs and give their opinion on results. These groups were to become the backbone of WIB. Experienced process control specialists and instrument engineers participated in three separate groups dealing with field instruments, process analysers and process control systems according to their area of expertise. The Working Groups would increase and change over time with many new fields added. Today under the umbrella of Working Groups there are numerous expert groups and task forces that deal with specific areas: from diagnostics, level measurements, functional safety and so on. The benefits for members from the input of these experts are obvious. Moreover another kind of benefit emerged, difficult to quantify but of tremendous value: The exchange of information among members. In the working groups sensitive information on direct application experience, problems and solutions is freely discussed in an informal setting.
• Working Development and Changes in the Process Industry
Since the fifties the process industry had grown rapidly in size and complexity and with it the demand for better and more reliable instrumentation. Instrument manufacturers were under pressure to improve and develop new instruments. Many instruments were released too early on the market with disappointing results. Many did not meet their specifications, were unreliable, required high maintenance and often affected the integrity of a plant since they could form part of safeguarding systems. It was out of this situation that WIB was created. The production of new instruments continued to increase during the seventies and, especially during the eighties the emergence of new technologies saw the production of ever more sophisticated instrumentation, This continued during the nineties to today with the appearance of "The Smart Instruments". In the early nineties the economic recession had an impact on process industries that would change the way companies would deal with instrumentation. Economic recession directed attention of management towards the cost of maintaining production facilities and process automation. The cost for instrumentation in relation to the total plant costs had risen considerably over the years. A turn was made towards the purchase of equipment based on the total cost of ownership, taking into consideration all costs from acquisition to installation, operation and maintenance. Also the "back to core business" trend led to cutting down the engineering departments and tasks. The instrument expertise decreased within companies accordingly, yet the complexity of instruments continued to increase. The nineties saw the increase of out-sourced engineering projects to Engineering Contractors who also became more and more responsible for the selection and maintenance of instrumentation or the total cost of ownership. WIB opened its membership to include Engineering Contractors, so that through WIB they are aided in building cost-effective plants with reliable and safe process control instruments. This benefits our members and the process industry at large.
WIB's new role
WIB's web-site has been developed to include a secure members-only area: the WIB Sharepoint environment. All the WIB reports, minutes of meetings, and techincal data etc are located in separate workspaces. Information is up-dated immediately and members are notified automatically when new reports are released or other relevant information is made available.
In line with the changes in the industry and new requirements of members, WIB has shifted from the particular evaluation report of an instrument or system to the production of more comparative reports, selection guidelines, desk studies, and market studies.
The process of change in the industry is continuous. For example, we are now experiencing the fading of clear-cut lines among the different players: the merging of the once separate entities such as Manufacturers/Suppliers/Eng Contractors. As ongoing changes occur in the industry, WIB will be right in there observing, adapting and evolving for the benefit of its members.