The Chair of ISO/TC 184/SC 4, Mr. Howard Mason (right), receives the Lawrence D. Eicher Leadership Award on behalf of the subcommittee from ISO President Håkan Murby.

The achievements of an international team of standards developers in facilitating the exchange of industrial data between disparate computer systems were recognized yesterday through the presentation of the Lawrence D. Eicher Leadership Award at the 30th ISO General Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland.

Every year, the award provides recognition for superior performance by one of the ISO standards development groups. The 2007 edition has gone to subcommittee SC 4, Industrial data, of ISO technical committee ISO/TC 184, Industrial automation systems and integration.

Presenting the award, ISO President Håkan Murby said that the rapid development of information technologies had created problems related to the incompatiblity between computer systems used in industrial processes, along with the proliferation of different systems.

"International standards can contribute to avoiding divergent and competitive approaches," he declared. For the last decade, ISO/TC 184/SC 4 has been publishing a range of standards to support the efficient exchange and sharing of industrial information between dissimilar computer systems."

The major development efforts have focused on the STEP series of standards, i.e. Standards for Exchange and Product Data (ISO 10303 – Product data representation and exchange) for different functional areas, covering product design, analysis and manufacture. The STEP standards and data modules represent hundreds of millions of dollars of proven investment, and are available to help in the generation of consistent product information models through the entire range of products covered by ISO.

STEP has been used in industry on such projects as the Boeing 777, Airbus 380 and the Eurofighter. It is also used in the automotive sector, as well as in the shipbuilding industries of leading economies.

As part of this work, SC 4 has pioneered the standardization of reusable information modules that provide common definitions which can be used as "building blocks" in multiple standards to enforce interoperability for the end user, and to simplify implementation for software vendors. One hundred and 91 such modules were published in a single batch at the end of 2006 and more than 60 are foreseen by the end of 2007.

"SC 4 has developed innovative approaches to managing this volume of work and coordinating the large team of over 250 experts from more than 20 countries who participate in the work," said the ISO President.

The Chair of ISO/TC 184/SC 4, Mr. Howard Mason, was presented with the award on behalf of the subcommittee.

The Lawrence D. Eicher Leadership Award is named after the late Secretary-General of ISO from 1986 to 2002.