New Product Exclusive: Field Communicator Updates Via Internet

Emerson Process Managements 375 Field Communicator

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Instrument technicians must be chatty types. Theyre always trying to communicate with smart instrumentation in process industry plants. But how do they remember all those names?

Communication was the key in the development of the new 375 Field Communicator from Emerson Process Management. It also has a built-in memory containing the device descriptions and operating parameters of all smart field devices using the HART or Foundation fieldbus digital communication protocols. That means more than 600 current HART and fieldbus devices from more than 100 suppliers are supported.

Users can configure and troubleshoot all smart field instruments and valves with one intrinsically safe, ATEX-compliant, handheld communicator. As new instruments are introduced, regardless of manufacturer, their information can be obtained via the Internet. Previously, it was necessary to send older communicators to a vender to have them upgraded. That included the 275 HART communicator, on which this unit was based.

"It's head and shoulders above the 275 HART communicator, which was the standard means of communicating with smart devices in this mill," says Joe LeClerc, instrument mechanic at the Canadian Forest Products Intercon Pulp Mill in Prince George, British Columbia. He tested a beta version of the 375 Field Communicator for several months before its introduction this past month. "This instrument works with both HART and fieldbus devices. We can update this unit in 10 or 15 minutes by downloading information on new instruments from the Internet. We formerly sent our 275 units to Vancouver to have them reprogrammed and lost their use for several days."

There are other reasons LeClerc likes the new portable communicator. "It's very easy to use in the field," he continues. "The text on the large screen is easy to see, either in a dark part of the mill or outside in bright light. Although slightly larger than the 275, its very portable, molds to your hand really well, and has a nice feel. It's rugged and reliable. The keypad is set up in such a way that you can work your way through a procedure without even looking at the manual. The designers put a lot of thought into this instrument."

The 375 runs on Windows CE, has a processor that is 20 times faster than the one in the 275, and has 32 MB of memory, 64 times that of its predecessor.

It weighs about 2 lbs. with its rechargeable NiMH battery. The ¼ VGA transflective display is monochrome, 3.8-in., with touchscreen.

Its fully compatible with Emersons widely used AMS calibration management software, allowing users to configure, streamline calibration, document, and troubleshoot HART and Foundation fieldbus devices in a predictive maintenance environment. It also supports Emerson's PlantWeb technology.

LeClerc said he uses the tool several times a week, primarily on digital valve positioners but also on transmitters, when some problem has been identified and needs to be resolved. "We frequently go into the mill with a portable communicator to check out certain valves, which are subject to wear or sticking. Once the tool is connected to a smart positioner, I can determine the valve's position and verify whether or not it's operating as required. I can also go through the calibration procedure to make sure the positioner is properly calibrated. The 375 is so easy to use, it takes only minutes to accomplish a task in the field. It's become indispensable in our shop."

For more information call 512/832-3237 or see www.assetweb.com.

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