New Specification Features Enhanced Usability of FOUNDATION Technology

Foundation Fieldbus Knowledge Center

The Fieldbus Foundation has announced the latest updates to its open, non-proprietary FOUNDATION fieldbus technical specifications. The new features will enhance the usability of FOUNDATION technology, with the ultimate goal of making the digital fieldbus automation experience easier than conventional analog control systems.

The updated version of the FOUNDATION specification includes additional advanced support for fieldbus device replacement and backwards compatibility, Device Description (DD) templates, field diagnostics and alarm/alert integration. The ability to utilize these enhanced features is included in the foundation's new Host Profile C, which will be available for registration in early 2014.

FF1401 FoundTechLogoFieldbus Foundation Director-Fieldbus Products Stephen Mitschke commented, "The usability features in our updated technical specification will make it easier for both automation suppliers and end users to realize the full value of FOUNDATION technology. They are aimed at simplifying fieldbus implementation, operation and maintenance.

"As an end user-driven organization, we are listening to our fieldbus user community, suppliers and engineering partners, and employing their feedback in a continuous improvement process to make FOUNDATION technology easier to use in a wide range of applications," Mitschke said.

The latest features in the FOUNDATION technical specification enable host and device suppliers to offer backwards compatibility to their users in order to further simplify device replacement. The incorporation of DD templates also provides an interoperable way for instrumentation companies to offer a variety of application settings for devices. Suppliers can embed the templates in their DDs from the factory floor. This will make it quicker and easier for end users to access a correct offline configuration. They also gain the freedom to utilize a newer device with an existing device configuration without the need for new DDs.

With the new device diagnostics alarm management feature, hosts tested under Host Profile C must integrate field diagnostics into alarm management systems, rather than just provide access to the information in a device view.

Application time support is also mandatory under Host Profile C. This feature requires a time stamp capability in the host system, which will start on an actual calendar date and time. Additionally, a new standard dictionary update feature requires that fieldbus end users have the ability to install a new dictionary update on their host system to support the latest DDs. This will further improve the simplicity of device replacement.

For more information, please visit the Technical Specifications page of the Fieldbus Foundation's website.

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  • Being able to replace a field device at the proverbial “3 am Sunday morning” now also with a different version device is a capability users have been asking for a long time. A device can be replaced by a newer version without touching the control system – just like 4-20 mA. It is good news for new and existing users of fieldbus that it is now possible. That is, the DD file for the new device is not needed immediately; it can be downloaded and copied onto the system a few days later when the system administrator has time. I personally believe this is a major milestone for fieldbus. It makes fieldbus suitable for every plant, not just the energy majors like Shell, Chevron, and Reliance etc.

    Learn more about device revision management and backwards compatibility in the device revision management guide found here: http://www.eddl.org/DeviceManagement/Pages/DeviceRevisionManagement.aspx

    The NAMUR NE107 compliant device diagnostics alarms are great for putting device diagnostics to good use, integrating device diagnostics into work processes for daily maintenance and turnaround planning etc. while at the same time avoiding alarm flooding. http://www2.emersonprocess.com/siteadmincenter/PM%20DeltaV%20Documents/Whitepapers/WP_Configuring_FF912_Alarms.pdf Guidance for how to incorporate NAMUR NE107 status flags into work process is available here: http://www.eddl.org/DeviceManagement/Pages/DeviceDiagnostics.aspx#Institutionalizing It is great that the Fieldbus Foundation has listened to the experience from existing fieldbus users like BP, Saudi Aramco, Petrobras and other leading energy majors etc. and incorporated their ideas into the technology such that smaller users can also take advantage of modern digital technology all the way from the very “first meter” such that they can fully digital systems from sensor to actuator, to fully benefit from digital technology.

    Existing users of fieldbus systems should upgrade to the latest version of system software to take advantage of the best available usability features to make it easier for the operations as well as run & maintain organization to fully benefit from fieldbus advantages over conventional technology.

    For instance, DeltaV has been continuously improved versions 9, 10, 11, and 12 with many new enhancements that make fieldbus easy to use, and lately also with native integration of WirelessHART:

    DeltaV version 9 (2006) • Function blocks in the H1 card for complex time-synchronized loops • Greater function block and VCR capacity so it doesn’t have to be engineered • Enhanced EDDL (graphical device display) for easier to use devices

    DeltaV version 10 (2008) • Device replacement and commissioning using only a screwdriver without touching software like 4-20 mA for easy commissioning and maintenance/replacement • Express download for faster commissioning • HPR 61a registration

    DeltaV version 11 (2010) • Integrated power in the H1 Card (eliminating the marshalling cabinet) for smaller footprint and cost • EDDL device level access (dashboards) for devices as easy to use as 4-20 mA • HPR61b registration

    DeltaV version 12 (2013) http://www2.emersonprocess.com/siteadmincenter/PM%20DeltaV%20Documents/Brochures/DeltaV_v12_Flyer.pdf • NAMUR NE107 (prioritized device diagnostic alarms) eliminating device diagnostic alarm flooding • DD Update Manager (automatic DD download) to keep the system up to date with new device types and versions without manual DD downloads

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