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Configuration and diagnostics of field devices is almost by definition tedious, time-consuming and expensive. Now Endress+Hauser has addressed those issues with its new Field Xpert SFX100, the process industry’s first wireless configuration tool. The Field Xpert is an industrial PDA that enables technicians to configure HART-based instruments in the field, simplifying and speeding up installation and diagnosis of problems.
Robert Bensberg, E+H’s product manager for Field Xpert, calls it “the complete HART communicator for industrial applications.” Field Xpert’s package consists of Field Xpert handheld, whose form factor and GUI are based on industrial PDAs; Device Xpert configuration software for start-up diagnostics and servicing for all registered HART devices; and a HART/Bluetooth modem for device connection.
Device Xpert software supports use of multiple connections. Users can configure a specific serial port and address the scan range appropriate to one scenario, and then configure another connection to address a different requirement. The software shows each device in a group view, so finding the correct parameter is easy. If the location of a specific function is unknown, the integrated Function Finder locates it in all HART devices, an especially useful feature when working with complex devices with many parameters.
Device Xpert also offers the range of diagnoses supported by the Device Description (DD). It interprets DD extensions, allowing access to custom functionality normally not available in handheld terminals. These include envelope curves from Endress+Hauser time-of-flight level transmitters, valve signatures for positioner actuators and custom calibration routines. It also supports automatic distribution of DDs via the Internet or a WLAN to enable quick start-up and diagnostics.
“Device Xpert software is designed for project commissioning and maintenance. It also supports regular daily requirements of field technicians. Customers especially like the intuitive graphical user interface,” says Bensberg. “This makes the device easier to use and the customer is immediately comfortable with it.”
Field Xpert SFX 100 uses the Windows Mobile operating system, making it possible to install additional software applications for plant asset-management activities, such as maintenance, calibration service and documentation.
Users can access devices through a either WiFi or a Blue- tooth connection. “Because of the Bluetooth adapter, Field Xpert doesn’t have to be hooked up with wires,” says Bensberg. “All you have to do is go to a location within range of Bluetooth.”
SFX100 also supports Fieldgate FXA520, allowing Ethernet communication to remote HART field devices. Bensberg says support for other communications protocols is in development.
SFX 100 is a rugged instrument suitable for use in Class 1, Division 2, hazardous areas and is ready to use out of the box. Its dimensions are 7 x 3.3 x 1.5 in. The non-explosion-proof version weighs 1.2 lbs, and the explosion-proof version weighs 1.5 lbs.
The display screen is 3.5-in transreflective TFT color; 64 k, OVGA, 240 x 320 pixels. It has both portrait and landscape modes, and is protected by a Makrolon panel. The housing has IP 65 (immersion for brief periods) protection, is antistatic and non-corroding.
The non-explosion-proof version operates in ranges of 14 °F to 140 °F (-10 to 60 °C). The explosion-proof version works in ranges from 14 °F to 122 °F (-10 to 50 °C).
Available accessories include a leather carrying case, a USB data transmission set, Viator Bluetooth interface for HART, a charger and spare stylus.
SFX costs $3,000-$4,000, and is available in October.
For more information call 888-ENDRESS or go to www.us.endress.com.
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