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What’s new with FOUNDATION Fieldbus―Part 2

12.01.2012  |  O’Brien, L.,  Fieldbus Foundation, 

Keywords: [Feildbus] [process control] [computers] [instrumentation] [standards]

Remote operations management (ROM)—management of automation assets and resources that are geographically dispersed—is one of the fastest growing segments of the process automation business (Fig. 1). At present, the ROM segment is plagued with a high degree of customization, solutions that are not easily configurable, and a “break-and-fix” mentality when it comes to asset management. Beginning in 2007, the Fieldbus Foundation began a new project that would extend the functionality and infrastructure of FOUNDATION fieldbus to remote applications through remote I/O and wired HART technologies. The project was expanded to include leading industrial wireless networks such as ISA 100.11a and WirelessHART. The overall FOUNDATION ROM specification is nearly complete, and ready to extend capabilities to manage data from a limitless range of devices in some of the most unforgiving applications.

  Fig. 1.  Devices and communication systems
  with ROM.

New technology development: FOUNDATION for ROM

FOUNDATION for ROM allows users to implement a true predictive and proactive maintenance strategy for remote assets that could not be previously supported. Data from devices on multiple networks, both wired and wireless, can be brought into the FOUNDATION fieldbus infrastructure. The infrastructure provides a single environment to manage diagnostic data, alarms and alerts, data quality, control in the field capability, and object-oriented block structure.

FOUNDATION for ROM has the potential to address many upstream applications, such as oil fields, offshore-platform automation, oil and gas pipelines, water-treatment centers and distribution networks, and even original equipment manufacturer skid-mounted applications. The upstream oil and gas and water-treatment industries are the two fastest growing industries in process automation, and FOUNDATION for ROM is clearly targeted at these applications.

The Fieldbus Foundation is planning the first round of field demonstrations of ROM technology. The ROM demo team has over 20 sponsors, and the first live demo will be at Petrobras’ CENPES research facility outside of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in April 2013. Several more demos are planned in Europe, the Middle East, India and Japan.


Products incorporating FOUNDATION fieldbus safety instrument were successfully demonstrated in 2008 (Fig. 2). It has taken some time for products to be submitted to the Foundation for testing and registration. However, there are two pilot projects underway at two different end-user sites. TÜV granted protocol type approval for the Fieldbus Foundation Safety Instrumented Systems specifications in 2006. No changes were made to the fundamental H1 protocol for implementation in safety instrumented systems (SISs), but additional device diagnostic functions and fault detection capabilities were required.

  Fig. 2. Probability of failure for safety
  instrumented function (SIF) in the field.

The specifications outlined by the Fieldbus Foundation comply with the IEC 61508 standard for functional safety of electrical/electronic/programmable safety-related systems requirements up to, and including, safety integrity level 3 (SIL 3). TÜV protocol type approval extends FOUNDATION technology to provide a comprehensive solution for SISs in a wide range of industrial plant applications. The specifications enable suppliers to build FOUNDATION devices in compliance with IEC 61508, and these devices can be certified for use in SISs.

What are the benefits of fieldbus at the safety system layer? Over 90% of the causes for a process safety system failure are due to the failure of field devices. A safety system should address total safety needs by checking the health of the I/O, field devices and valves. The system should also incorporate components, such as sensor validation, environmental condition monitoring for conditions that can cause sensor degradation and impulse-line blockage monitoring.

Common-cause failures of electronic components are frequently due to environmental conditions. Many electronic device failures are sourced to elevated humidity and temperature, which should be monitored closely. Sensor calibration is also becoming an integral part of safety systems. FOUNDATION Fieldbus allows for remote monitoring, diagnostics and validation.

Development Services Provider program

The Fieldbus Foundation launched the FOUNDATION Development Services Provider (DSP) program to assist automation equipment suppliers preparing to design and manufacture products incorporating FOUNDATION Fieldbus technology (Fig. 3). The DSP program is intended to provide access to qualified development services providers with the expertise to make fieldbus solutions a reality. Qualified DSP participants must ensure that they have the tools, training and experience necessary to support a wide range of FOUNDATION fieldbus development projects. Services that can be qualified in the FOUNDATION DSP program include H1 and high-speed ethernet (HSE) fieldbus device development services, as well as host system services.

  Fig. 3.  Logo of FOUNDATION
  Development Services Providers.

The DSP program is a resource for all companies wishing to design, develop, manufacture or sell Foundation Fieldbus devices. A Foundation DSP is a company or individual that has met the Fieldbus Foundation’s standards for tools, training and experience to provide services for the development and registration of Foundation products. These individuals or companies provide extraordinary services and solutions to their customers and have earned the distinct honor of being a DSP.

The DSP program was created in response to a need recognized by the Fieldbus Foundation within the global automation industry to provide a list of competent service vendors that can help get Foundation products to market quickly. The foundation, which is directed by its membership, receives many questions regarding qualified third-party services to help with the development of Foundation devices. Because of this demand, the Foundation DSP Program was created.

AG 181 System Engineering Guide

Perhaps the “best kept secret” is the AG 181 System Engineering Guide, revision 3.2. The latest version of the AG 181 guide can be downloaded. It contains the distilled wisdom of many of the world’s leading experts from the engineering and construction world to end users, systems integrators, educators and suppliers. AG 181 offers many good pointers on how to do a fieldbus project right the first time. It is an essential part of the toolbox of any FOUNDATION Fieldbus professional. If you already have an older version, this new version will look more streamlined, and it contains several new sections, along with rewrites of old sections. You can download AG 181 from the website at www.fieldbus.org under End User Resources/Technical References.

Further resources

Aside from the FCTP certified training partner and AG 181, the Foundation also offers free end-user seminars throughout the world every year. You can also check out the LinkedIn Discussion area, Blog and YouTube channel. The Foundation has recently uploaded some new videos on best practices for fieldbus wiring and cable installation. The Foundation’s goal in the coming year is to make things easier for end users and to get the right information in the hands of people that need it.

End of series

Part 1, November 2012. HP

The author

Larry O’brien joined the Fieldbus Foundation as Global Marketing Manager in April 2011. Prior to his job at the Foundation, he was research director for process automation at ARC Advisory Group, where he began work in 1993. As an industry analyst and market researcher, he covered the topics of process fieldbus, distributed-control systems, process safety, automation services business and intelligent field instruments. Mr. O’Brien has authored or co-authored numerous market forecast reports, strategic-level advisory reports and white papers for ARC and its clients, including all the major process automation suppliers. He holds a BA degree from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell.

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do you have any papares or comparision table between DCS & FF and Where we can use FF ?

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