Foundation Fieldbus SIS on Display

On May 20, at Shell’s Global Engineering Center in Amsterdam, the culmination of some five years of work by TÜV Rheinland Industrie Service, GmbH, Automation, Software and Information Technology, the Fieldbus Foundation and several vendors, was on display at an end-user demonstration.

A Little History

The Foundation SIF project was initiated by end users and approved by the Fieldbus Foundation’s board of directors in October 2002. Companies participating in the SIF demonstration working group project include ABB, BIFFI, BP, Chevron, Dresser-Masonelian, Emerson Process Management, Endress+Hauser, Fieldbus Diagnostics, HIMA, Honeywell, Invensys, Magnetrol, Metso Automation, Moore Industries, MTL, Pepperl+Fuchs, Risknowlogy B.V., RuggedCom, Saudi Aramco, Siemens, Shell Global Solutions, Smar, Softing, TopWorx, TÜV Rheinland, TÜV SÜD, Westlock Controls, Yamatake and Yokogawa.

According to the Fieldbus Foundation’s director of technology development, David Glanzer, extensive laboratory testing and application analysis has verified that the foundation’s SIS protocol meets the needs of industrial end users, who regard these systems as critical to their overall plant operating strategy.

In 2005, TÜV Rheinland  granted Type Approval for the Fieldbus Foundation’s Safety Instrumented Systems (SIS) protocol specifications. The foundation’s SIS protocol specification is suitable to fulfill safety integrity level (SIL) requirements of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 61508 standard (functional safety of electrical/electronic/programmable electronic safety-related systems) up to and including SIL 3.
“TÜV Type Approval will help meet the growing worldwide demand for commercial, standards-based, safety instrumented system products incorporating Foundation fieldbus technology,” said Glanzer. “End users can now adopt the powerful diagnostics available with Foundation fieldbus, and at the same time, maintain the protection in a SIL3 environment.”

TÜV Type Approval made it possible for Foundation fieldbus technology to provide a comprehensive solution for safety-instrumented functions (SIFs) in a wide range of industrial plant applications. Demonstrations in Houston, Saudi Arabia and now Amsterdam have shown this solution works.

The specifications enable manufacturers to build Foundation fieldbus devices in compliance with IEC 61508. Third-party test agencies, such as TÜV, will certify that these devices are suitable for use in safety-instrumented systems. End users will be able to choose devices meeting the requirements of IEC 61511 (Functional Safety: Safety Instrumented Systems for the Process Industry Sector) from multiple suppliers, instead of being restricted to devices designed specifically for a proprietary safety system platform. IEC 61511 is also available as an ANSI/ISA Standard: ANSI/ISA-84.00.01-2004.

Process industry leaders have voiced their support for Foundation fieldbus SIF technology. Many end users are anxious to move away from proprietary safety system platforms in favor of open, interoperable, fieldbus-based safety solutions.

Saudi Aramco, a key global oil-and-gas producer, has been at the forefront of efforts to spur development of Foundation fieldbus safety products. Patrick Flanders, engineering specialist for Saudi Aramco’s Process Instrumentation Division, said, “The Foundation SIF solution offers the potential to provide close integration of the complete emergency shutdown loop. This close integration reduces the installation cost. In addition, integration improves the capabilities of field devices in providing self-diagnostic information, which is communicated directly to the safety logic solver. At Saudi Aramco, we see this as a breakthrough in the advancement of SIS design.”

What’s Next?

The end-user demonstration was conducted at the Shell Global Solutions facility in Amsterdam to promote adoption of the foundation’s SIF technology in the worldwide process industries. Next, the project will go on to include development of SIF best practices and guidelines, training, test tools and a field demonstration of compliant safety instruments, logic solvers and other equipment.

According to Heinz Gall, of TÜV-Rheinland, it will be sometime in 2011 before vendors will have gone through the approval cycles necessary and have complete product lines.

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