Getting Connected: Why and How

Save Time, Increase Profits and Productivity With HART

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"Because IEC 62591-WirelessHART is completely backward-compatible with any registered installed HART devices, using adapters such as the MACTek Bullet can easily get the diagnostic and secondary process variable information from existing HART transmitters without the cost, expense and time associated with new wiring. And, since the Bullet can support up to eight devices in a HART multidrop application, it makes the case for the adapter even more cost-effective," says Thomas Holmes, CEO of MACTek Corporation.

There has been an explosion of devices and systems that you can use for connectivity with HART devices. Almost all the major DCS vendors have now provided native HART digital data gateways directly into the control system. There are quite a few companies that make HART digital multiplexers that route the data to the control systems. Every tested and registered device is interoperable with any other, right out of the box.

As the chart in Figure 1 shows, there are numerous vendors for every type of HART device, including calibration and configuration devices. "Our company offers products for temporary use like our isHRT USB communication modem as well as solutions for permanent parameter acquisition, " says Tobias Thobaben of ifak system. "The modular isNetH@RT gateway provides parallel access to up to 40 HART lines, thus making it a real enabler for HART based asstet management solutions. Our free HART starter pack  delivers real added value, allowing generic access to HART 5, 6, and 7 devices within FDT based applications," Thobaben continues, "and our isHRT USBeX intrinsically safe communication modem allows users to work on HART devices without shutdown or hot work permits."Thobaben's company is not alone in providing generic access. ProComSol has been a leader in providing PC-based software for commissioning, calibration and troubleshooting HART devices. CEO Jeffrey Dobos says, "our popular DevCom2000 Smart Device Communicator Software is now available for communicating with HART instrumentation from Mobile devices such as PDA's and Smartphones.  Moreover, the name of the software has been updated from DevCom2000 PDA to DevCom2000 Mobile to reflect the manner in which mobile technology is changing the way people live and work.  DevCom2000 Mobile uses the registered DD files from the HART Communication Foundation for complete access to all features of the instrument including Methods."

Like many mobile apps, DevCom2000 can be had on a try before you buy basis. "The enhancements in Rev 1.6 enable potential customers to try the DevCom2000 Mobile software for 10 days before deciding to purchase.  They can experience the power of the DevCom2000 desktop version with the convenience of mobile technology," Dobos says.

Staying connected is simple. All HART devices are designed with both interoperability and interchangeability in mind. "Process industry users have very high expectations when it comes to interoperability," says Ron Helson, executive director of the HART Communication Foundation. "To them, interoperability is much more than devices sharing the same network infrastructure. Devices must integrate with the system in the same way without the need for multiple gateway types, special drivers and different system configuration methods. Similarly, devices should be commissioned, set up and calibrated the same way, and device diagnostics information should be consistent.  HART, including WirelessHART technology, meets all these user requirements."

The standard HART command set and the vendor-specific commands return data values that are easily integrated into the control and asset management systems. In the control system, this additional digital data improves the ability for the operator to optimize the process. In the asset management system, the diagnostic data provides the information to predict maintenance requirements that techs and managers simply cannot get from clipboard-based rounds.

Getting connected is not rocket science. It will improve productivity, reduce maintenance and maintenance costs, and significantly reduce downtime. So what are you waiting for?

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