Fieldbus interoperability testing – the man (or woman) behind the curtain

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The stated goal of Foundation fieldbus has always been device interoperability, ensured by the use of an open, non-proprietary fieldbus protocol, standard user layer function blocks and device description technology. Device description (DD) files are one of the keys to allowing devices to coexist and communicate on the same H1 fieldbus without special drivers or software. To assure interoperability, device suppliers are required to test  and register devices with the Foundation and make registered files available to the users. Host systems are also tested by the Foundation using the Host Interoperability Support Test (HIST) to further assure interoperability.

So, why are all the system suppliers testing devices? Today, nearly every DCS vendor maintains a fieldbus interoperability test laboratory of some capacity for testing Foundation fieldbus devices with their respective host control system. And what exactly are host suppliers doing that either the Foundation or the device suppliers simply cannot? And finally, what is the end benefit to the customer?

This White Paper explores these questions and takes a close look at what all technology providers, whether of host systems or devices, are doing to make Foundation fieldbus work for everyone.