Standard for naming process equipment


Thread Starter

Paul Nelson

I am looking for information about a standard method of naming process equipment. We use the ISA S5 method for instrumentation: this is a beautiful system, it can be used as a basis to develop tags for a control system with both brevity and clarity.

What I need is the same type of approach for process equipment, items which are not covered under the instrumentation oriented approach from ISA S5. I would like to apply a standard alph prefix with numerical suffix to generate a short
but descriptive tag name for items found in a manufacturing plant, such as mixers, pumps, conveyors, ovens, mills, columns, boilers, air handlers, etc.

Can you help?


Paul R Nelson, PE
Dow Corning Auburn Site
Engineering and Process Controls
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (517) 496-7013
Fax: (517) 496-7100
In a private response to me, that I have permission to repost, Bela Liptak, author of the Instrument Engineer's Handbook, says "I have been an advocate for decades of "descriptive tagging" of process equipment on engineering flowsheets. I have even proposed some schemes like:

First digit: Main function (say dryer)
Second digit: Continuous or batch?
3rd: Vacuum, atmospheric or pressurized
4th: Actual design

So, for example a DCVF-2 would designate the second fluidized bed dryer on the project, which is continuous and pressurized.

To develop a standard like that would take some work, but would make life easier later."

I don't know if this will help but I applied a system (not a formal standard) in our plant to the naming of equipment for maintenance and asset
management purposes. You could probably use a variation of this. Basically we used an eight character alpha-numeric code for every item. This comprised a four character code to describe the equipment a number to locate it in a department and another three numbers to identify the particular item.

For example:

Conveyor number 2 in the type 600 manufacturing area = CONV6002 (where the dept # 6 identifies the 600 manf area) or Boiler number 4 in the boiler room = BOIL2004 (where the dept # 2 identifies the main boiler room)

We found this to be an extremely simple, but effective, way of structuring the equipment ID's.


Bryan Weir

Daniel C. Rozok

The ISA S5 standard has provisions for "user defined" symbology. Maybe you could apply these principles from the instrumentation standard to the "equipment" standard you are looking for.

Daniel C. Rozok