Phoenix Contact Declares for WirelessHART

In a presentation at the Krohne Academy, in the U.K. in March, Garrett Schmidt, Wireless Product Manager for Phoenix Contact (normally based at Harrisburg, Pa., USA), expressed the strong view that the industry decision is made, and that WirelessHART is the standard adopted for process monitoring sensor wireless communications. In particular, with the failure of the initial ISA100.11a.2009 standard, with protocol stack problems, and the inability of the ISA to issue a revised standard, WirelessHART technology is now the choice of many major suppliers, such as Emerson, Phoenix Contact, Pepperl+Fuchs, Endress+Hauser, ABB and Siemens, and their customers. In his view ,there could still be a role for the ISA in defining the backhaul standard for the gateway communications to the control system, effectively the ISA100.15.

The Phoenix Contact wireless expertise covers GSM modems over GPRS connections, plus their Trusted Wireless RAD Line range, which has already been demonstrated with their 2.4GHz band modules for Ethernet wireless communications. Using their existing Gateway with WirelessHART communications, Phoenix Contact is to launch a range of WirelessHART adaptors for allowing any transmitter to be integrated into a wireless network, using loop power. Even on non-HART transmitters these adaptors will monitor the loop current to enable the measurement to be obtained. In addition, the adaptors will feature the capability of having a remote antenna (still with intrinsically safe approval) allowing the antenna to be repositioned away from the sensor in possibly a more suitable wireless mounting point. Since the recommendation for any WirelessHART antenna siting is that it should be at least 0.5m away from any obstruction and 0.5m or more away from any surface and ground level, this is a major advantage when monitoring a lot of process instruments and valves installed on a typical plant. Phoenix Contact has patented certain features of this antenna feature.

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