2016 State of Technology Report: The rise of configurable I/O

Download the latest I/O system coverage from the annals of Control.

The latest critical trends in I/O systems take advantage of the versatility and communications capabilities of intelligent, configurable I/O. Being able to install universal I/O based on approximate point count, then configure or reconfigure it later to match the needed process variables allows construction and installation to proceed independent from engineering, taking I&C off the critical path.

Intelligent I/O transmits more than just the measured and manipulated variables, opening the possibilities for integrating capabilities from condition monitoring and predictive maintenance to all the potential of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

Download “The rise of configurable I/O” State of Technology Report for the latest I/O system coverage from the annals of Control.

Topics include:

  • Programmable I/O can be a multitasking master
  • ExxonMobil commits to thinking differently with electrical 19
  • integration, configurable I/O
  • Benefits of integrating smart I/O in asset management system
  • And more

For more, read our 2015 State of Tech Report on I/O.

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  • Those I/O solutions all have the same problem: they all use 4-20 mA and on-off signals for field instruments. They all need a pair of wires for each SINGAL from a device, a safety barrier for each SIGNAL, and an I/O card channel for each SIGNAL. With bus technology like FOUNDATION fieldbus you only run one pair of wires per DEVICE and only up to the junction box. From there only a single pair of wires per JUNCTION BOX and one safety barrier per JUNCTION BOX and one interface port per JUNCTION BOX handing all devices on that JB and all their signals. This is very economical. Moreover, the interfaces can be located indoors in the safe area because the wiring and footprint is minimal so all the issues of I/O cards outdoor in the hazardous area are avoided. A single type of barrier supports all types of fieldbus devices and all types of signals – eliminating barrier selection. Learn more about FF here: http://www.fieldbus.org/images/stories/technology/aboutthetechology/overview/fieldbus_brochure.pdf Because of the limitations of 4-20 mA and on-off signals those solutions can't use two-wire 8 input temperature transmitters or two wire tank gauging systems or intelligent on off valves. Only fieldbus can use such enchanted devices. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/saving-time-magic-its-method-jonas-berge With fieldbus you just count the approximate number of devices rather than the actual I/O signal count. It doesn’t matter if the device has 1 or 16 I/O signals; it is still just one device. This makes system sizing much easier. Fieldbus provides Virtual Marshalling: easy addition of devices to on existing cable to accommodate changes late in the project at a click of a button. Similarly fieldbus Virtual Marshalling enables easy incorporation of unused real-time signals in devices late in the project or after startup at a click of a button. Lastly, fieldbus Virtual Marshalling enables change to other device type: e.g. on-off valve to control valve or MOV late in the project at a click of a button. Industrial IoT (IIoT) requires many more sensors for condition monitoring and performance monitoring. I personally believe running a pair of wires for each additional sensor signal, providing an I/O channel for each additional signal etc. makes 4-20 mA and on-off signal rather unpractical for IIoT. Fieldbus and wireless are more practical ways to integrate the large number of sensors. With fieldbus the field junction boxes are small and require no power supply – same or smaller than regular junction boxes – not large like in the case of remote-I/O cabinets which also require power With fieldbus all signals are virtual, sharing the same physical wire. Devices on average may have maybe 3 I/O signals. With fieldbus it is still just 1 device. That is, a traditional 6,000 I/O point system simply becomes a 2,000 fieldbus device system. A dramatic reduction in system footprint and weight. A key aspect of IIoT is digital transformation. Digital transformation manifests itself in many ways. It includes digital transformation of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) such as checking the software first, but it starts with digital transformation of the underlying sensors and devices. Using digital networking signals instead of point-to-point 4-20 mA and on-off signals. I personally agree that using Ethernet such as PROFINET instead of 4-20 mA and on-off signals for variable speed drives and motor soft starters etc. is a great way to eliminate I/O cards and reduce wiring in the first place, and to get the full functionality out of these devices – which is not practical with 4-20 mA and on-off signals. Multiple Ethernet application protocols will continue to exist. It is possible to create Ethernet devices that support multiple protocols at the same time, serving multiple hosts simultaneously, providing the same information consistently regardless of which protocol is used for reading and writing. Fieldbus provides easy migration to future APL (“Etherbus”) because the wiring is the same. With fieldbus you can physically test all the interface cards during FAT if you like to, because there aren’t that many, and there are just a few ports each. If you want to use HART to monitor secondary variables, for diagnostics, or for PST etc., make sure the design and installation was done to digital standards, not 4-20 mA standards. Learn more from this essay: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/new-tips-tricks-get-value-out-hart-jonas-berge I’m sure Shell did a great job of verifying the installation


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