HART Foundation Press Conference at Hanover Fair Cancelled -- here's what would have happened...#pauto

Thanks to the Icelandic volcano with the incredibly difficult to pronounce name (Eyjafjallajokull, pronounced like this), the normal HART Communication Foundation press conference at Hanover Fair has been cancelled.

The HART folks, however, have decided to release all the press releases, case studies, and the statements of the members of the HART Board of Directors anyway.

The only problem is that they have released them as Adobe Acrobat .PDF files, which is a painus in the drainus if you want to put them in a blog, or in the magazine, or something like that.

So, I'll have to give you the high points.

ABB's Sean Keeping noted, "ABB supports WirelessHART as industry standard for wireless networking at the instrument level. This support includes active product development and the associated
resource allocation.

"ABB is about to release WirelessHART products which will support the huge installed
base of 4-20mA HART instruments. The addition of WirelessHART capability across a
broad range of ABB instruments and systems is part of our product development

"ABB continues to actively support a single wireless standard at the instrument level
which fully addresses the requirements of our customers and the needs of the industry.
In order to achieve and accelerate this, ABB provides the resources to further evolve
WirelessHART and increase the awareness in the end user community of its benefits

Frank Hils of Endress+Hauser made this statement: "Endress+Hauser has been an early adopter of the HART technology since the
introduction as an open standard in the early 90s. The entire field instrumentation
product range from level over pressure, temperature, flow to analysis is fully equipped
with HART technology. In addition HART enabled system components, asset
management tools and mobile devices complement the HART field instrumentation

"Initially customers considered HART an optional technology which was specified - albeit
rarely used in the day to day practice. This has considerably changed over the last
years. HART functionality has become a true functional requirement. Customers
recognized HART technology’s ease of use and compatibility with existing 4-20mA
engineering practices. More and more application fields were opened up by HART.
From the beginning the HART benefits in plant commissioning are proven in thousands
of installations. Then HART users became more outspoken and required better HART
support from their system vendors. They recognized that additional information from the
field devices should be accessible by the systems. When the HART support by system
suppliers materialized another wave of HART acceptance rolled into the market. Now
users had access to the entire HART instrumentation functionality. DDL, then FDT and
ultimately FDI are milestones on the path to full HART system support.

"With the release of IEC 62591 it is also obvious that the industry will adopt
WirelessHART as the required single standard for wireless communication in the
process industry field level. This sets another milestone in the success story of HART.
Just recently we see another user group showing interest in HART integration.
Maintenance management demands integration of predictive condition monitoring
information in their computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS). Hence,
Endress+Hauser launched an initiative with SAP to integrate devices into both, the plant
asset management systems at the customer’s site, e.g. SAP PM (plant maintenance),
and the SAP Customer Service application SMP at Endress+Hauser. This integration
solution will help the maintenance crews in process plants reduce plant downtime and
reduce operating costs.

"Intelligent measuring instruments will become fully enabled as smart devices which are
able to create error tickets, notifications or alerts and to transfer processing data to the
Service Management Application for installed base configuration and management as
well for service related processes. Vice versa the Service Management Application is
able to access remotely the device for problem diagnosis and resolution or operator
support and to perform software updates. This initiative will considerably reduce the
instrumentation maintenance management bill in the process industry

Mark Schumacher, of Emerson Process Management, said, "Users have long recognized the many opportunities HART provides to make the most of their operations, as demonstrated by their investment in millions of HART devices. Given the proven capabilities of HART in wired devices, it's no surprise that WirelessHART – now IEC 62591 -- is users' first choice for wireless applications. Their
enthusiastic adoption of this technology is due in no small part to the way HART
Communication Foundation members have put aside their commercial differences and
worked together to do what's right for the industry.

"The result is a truly open, interoperable wireless standard that not only addresses
process monitoring and control but is also flexible enough to encompass applications
such as vibration monitoring or leak detection. Emerson's customers are using the
technology for a wide range of wireless applications in more than 1200 installations.
With IEC 62591-WirelessHART products available from more and more suppliers, we
believe the industry must continue working together -- both to protect users' investment
in this technology and to address their demands for a single wireless standard for
process automation. We also believe that ISA100.11a could be improved by making it
interoperable through application profiles. All these goals can be achieved by
incorporating the IEC 62591 international standard as the ISA100.11a application profile
for process automation.

"Of course, wireless is only part of the story. Our customers also continue to invest in
wired HART technology – and so do we. We will soon introduce products that take
advantage of new capabilities in HART 7. Our DeltaV digital automation system already
provides most HART 7 functions through the new S-series platform featuring “I/O on
Demand” and Electronic Marshalling.

"We support uniform application of EDDL and HART in process hosts, as well as
compliance testing and registration of HART devices. This includes participating in the
FDI Cooperation's work to enable uniform device integration across all host systems,
devices, and field-device protocols. This will provide customers a common way to work
with any field device, regardless of communication protocol.

"HART has been successful because it enables users to be successful, and because it
has evolved over the years to meet those users' changing needs. With its newest
capabilities – and with the continued industry-wide support this technology has earned –
we expect this success to continue for many years to come

Hans Georg Kumpfmueller of Siemens concurred, "Users in process industry have made HART a success story in the recent years by installing more than 30 million HART devices world wide. New upcoming requests by users have always resulted in the right answers by the HART Communication
Foundation (HCF) and have been realized in products.

"With WirelessHART a new level in industrial communication has been entered. Three
years after the first discussions in the HCF first running devices from main suppliers
were presented on ISA Expo 2007. The feedbacks from hundreds of users found their
way as features in WirelessHART. This was made possible by the member companies
in the HCF by working close together among each other and with users in a HCF
working group to define an interoperable, simple, reliable, secure and interoperable
standard. Therefore it's not surprising that many users invest in the WirelessHART -
which is now IEC 62591 - to participate in the advantages of the new technology.
We supported the activities in HCF from the very beginning and have currently released
several WirelessHART products: a Maintenance and Diagnostic software tool, a
Function Block Library to integrate WirelessHART into Simatic PCS 7, a gateway, a
pressure and a temperature transmitter and a WirelessHART adapter.

"We believe that the cooperation of the suppliers and users must continue to stay in a
continuous improvement process to protect the investment of users in wired and
wireless HART products and enable them for even better solutions. The successful
multi-vendor fieldtest of NAMUR against defined user requirements - documented in
NE124 - is a good example of this process. Valuable feedback results in improvements
to the mutual benefit of both sides.

"One major aspect is to have ONE single standard for wireless communication at field
level in the process industry. The PROFIBUS organization, Fieldbus Foundation, and
the HCF signed an agreement in 2007 to work together in a Wireless Cooperative Team
(WCT) for specifying Proxies between WirelessHART, PROFIBUS, PROFINET, and
Foundation Fieldbus. That should avoid continuing the bad situation for end users and
vendors to support more than one wireless communication interface. Siemens is also
open for improving WirelessHART so that we will have a single converged wireless
communication interface and the proxy concept for connecting this single standard to
the fieldbusses.

"As wired and wireless communications co-exist, we will continue to support wired HART
- like our brand new positioner Sitrans VP300.

"Electronic Device Description (EDD) technology is our preferred way to integrate
devices in host applications. SIMATIC PDM is based on this technology and provides a
uniform user interface to enable customers for ease-of-use device management in the
complete life cycle of their automation solutions. We are supporting and driving the FDI
initiative. We think that FDI will the highest benfit for the customers and users, as it the
first device integration technology which works within all DCS platforms. The success of
FDI will also be crucial for the success of WirelessHART

Bravely dissenting from the unanimity over WirelessHART that the first four Board members showed, David Eisner of Honeywell said that although Honeywell supports wired HART, HON continues to support ISA100 instead for wireless. He noted that the four major automation companies still supporting ISA100 were Honeywell, Yamatake, Yokogawa and GE.

Both GE and Yokogawa are apparently straddling the fence, and are also providing WirelessHART products.

Here's David Eisner's statement: "HART technology is a key part of Honeywell’s DCS, instrumentation and asset management strategies, leveraging rich HART diagnostic features and the open integration of multi-vendor devices through EDDL. We have proudly contributed to the HART reference host SDC 625, important to the Foundation’s drive towards improved host and device interoperability and we look forward to making similar contributions in the future.

"Our product roadmap integrates HART 7 adoption and we support the initiative to
improve host and device interoperability through the registration process. The FDI
project harmonizes multiple standards efforts. Honeywell sees benefit in both EDDL and
FDT technologies in a single integrated solution. Our Field Device Manager product
already demonstrates the value of seamless integration between these two
complementary technologies.

"While Honeywell fully supports the HART protocol for wired applications, it supports
ISA100.11a as the foundation for an industrial wireless standard. Honeywell was first to
the industrial wireless market in 2004 and since then our installations have logged over
500,000,000 operating hours.

"We believe the ISA100.11a standard more closely reflects end-user requirements and
offers them the interoperability, scalability and investment protection they require in a
system designed for industrial performance.

"End-users have asked for a single wireless standard that will meet many application
scenarios. We believe that the best process to achieve a standard is to:
1. Establish convergence based on end-user requirements
2. Ensure a willingness among all suppliers to compromise
3. Create an open consensus-based discussion among all stakeholders, end-users
and suppliers, and
4. Apply a sense of urgency so we can all quickly realize benefits
ISA100.11a was the first industrial wireless standard supported by end users and
approved by a standards organization in an ANSI-accredited, open, balanced,
consensus process. Industry leading suppliers have made strong commitments to
develop ISA100.11a products including; Honeywell, Yokogawa, Yamatake, General

"We encourage our fellow HART Communication Foundation members to work towards
a compromise that makes the efficient ISA100.11a network the framework of a
converged solution. This will best meet the end-user requirements being developed by
the ISA100.12 user working group and will provide us all with a solution that is
interoperable, scalable and future-proof.

"We look forward to continued partnership with the HART Communication Foundation
and HART users to enable them to continue benefiting from this technology."

Fact is, this convergence will take at least another year. I have to scratch my head and ask something here. By January, there will be thousands of WirelessHART devices installed. Field devices have a 10 to 20 year lifecycle, or more. My question is who is going to pull out WirelessHART devices that are installed and working and replace them with ISA100.11 devices?

In the interest of fairness and applying a journalistic truth-test, it should be noted that end-users have enthusiastically supported WirelessHART ever since it came out, and that although ISA is an ANSI accredited standards organization, ANSI has so far steadfastly refused to approve ISA100.11a, in part over concerns about the "consensus" part of the process.


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  • <p>Ah. Another Standards war. On a shaky platform no less.</p> <p>A bad standard is worse than no standard at all. I'm sitting this one out for now. Glossy Brochures notwithstanding, I'm not going to be the first kid on my block with this technology.</p> <p>Jake Brodsky</p>


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