ISA95 - OperationalLocation versus Equipment

The question of when to use Operational Location and when to use Equipment is one that comes up often, particularly when referring to materials that exist within production lines.

From the ISA95 standard, a material lot or material sublot can reference an operational location OR and equipment as it’s storage location. That leads to the question, When should we use operational location and when should we use equipment?
The follow-on question is “if some locations are equipment and some are operational locations, how should be query the single list of all the places where material is stored?”

In order to make this approach compliant with the standard, and as useable as possible in the application, it is recommended to:

  • If an equipment is specified as a storage location, a matching operational location should also be set.

If we look at the ISA 95 -Part 2 definitions for each:

From the ISA 95 Part 2 specification

Operational Locations

define the logical or physical places in which resources are located or are expected to be located within a plant. OperationalLocations may be made up of smaller operational locations. An operational location may belong to one or more operational location classes

An operational location may specify a spatial definition, which defines the geographical position of the location. A Material lot, Material sublot, equipment, physical asset or person can reference an operational location

A material lot or material sublot may specify an equipment or physical asset as its location instead of an operational location.

Example: A material sublot can be stored in a tank, represented as an element of equipment
Example: A material sublot can be stored in a sample pickup location represented as an operational location.

Role-based Equipment Model

The assets of an enterprise involved in manufacturing are usually organized in a role based
hierarchical fashion as illustrated in Figure 4. Lower-level groupings are combined to form higher
levels in the role based hierarchy. In some cases, a grouping within one level may be
incorporated into another grouping at that same level.

NOTE 1 The term role based is applied to the equipment model to indicate that the hierarchy is defined in terms of the Level 3 and 4 functions and activities that equipment entities may perform. The actual
physical location, composition, and relationships of the equipment entities are defined in a physical asset equipment hierarchy.
This model shows the areas of responsibility for the different function levels defined in the
functional hierarchical model of Figure 3. The role based equipment hierarchy model additionally
describes some of the objects utilized in information exchange between functions.

An enterprise is a collection of sites and areas and represents the top level of a role based
equipment hierarchy. The enterprise is responsible for determining what products will be
manufactured, at which sites they will be manufactured, and in general how they will be

A site is a physical, geographical, or logical grouping determined by the enterprise. It may
contain areas, production lines, process cells, and production units. The Level 4 functions at a
site are involved in local site management and optimization. Site planning and scheduling may
involve work centers or work units within the areas.

An area is a physical, geographical, or logical grouping determined by the site. It may contain
work centers such as process cells, production units, production lines, and storage zones. Most
Level 3 functions occur within the area. The main production capability and geographical location
within a site usually identify areas.

Work centers are elements of the equipment hierarchy under an area. The term work center may
be used when the specific type of the equipment element is not significant for the purpose of the
For manufacturing operations management there are specific terms for work centers and work
units that apply to batch production, continuous production, discrete or repetitive production, and
for storage and movement of materials and equipment.

Guidance for Operational Location and Equipment when using storage locations on material sub lots