Voices: Other Voices

Advances Make I/O Easier, But Still Not as Simple as It Could Be

But no interoperability between WirelessHART and ISA100 is holding back more universal adoption.

By Ian Verhappen
Jan 2, 2015

Continuing with our evolution conversation from last month of how control systems continue to change, the same transformation is certainly happening with the Input/Output (I/O) systems used to connect the field sensors to the associated controllers. Wired systems now offer ‘configurable I/O' such as Schneider Electric's "intelligent marshalling" and Honeywell's "Universal I/O" where the type of signal landed on the terminals is configured in software. Emerson is offering CHARMS a solution where you purchase and install the right type of I/O module in their backplane for each type of signal. If you want to be a bit more adventurous you can get ‘similar' functionality with analogous products from other companies with ‘smart terminal blocks' and a backplane that also serve as data concentrators, However, you then need to use a "third-party tool" different from the one you use to configure the rest of your system and perhaps a gateway to convert protocols. The other big change, of course, has been the addition of wireless field sensor networks.

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