In a significant development for HART technology, FieldComm Group has registered the first ever host system conforming to the HART Communication Protocol Specification. Honeywell’s Field Device Manager (FDM) passed the comprehensive Device Description (DD) Host Test and Registration Procedure, which assures industrial automation devices and systems conform to the same standard, and operate within the same environment, without loss of functionality.
FieldComm Group is one of the only automation industry organizations with a registration program requiring mandatory testing of critical elements of its technology. This effort encompasses Field Device Integration (FDI), FOUNDATION Fieldbus, and HART host systems and field devices, as well as physical layer components such as power supplies, cables, and device couplers.
Wally Pratt, director of HART technology, FieldComm Group, termed the inaugural HART DD host registration “a major milestone” in the continued progress of HART technology. “Open interoperability continues to be a clear directive for the automation industry, and is always part of our practice,” Pratt said. “The availability of registration for hosts employing the HART Communication Protocol, and the facilities and resources to carry it out will support further growth of HART-based automation solutions. The registration program addresses host applications to provide consistent presentation of real-time, diagnostic, and asset management information as supported by all registered HART products.”
Pratt added, “Host registration is an important step forward in the growth of HART technology in the process industries. We expect registration of Honeywell’s FDM to be a driving force for other major automation suppliers to submit their host systems for testing and registration.”
Mike Cushing, product marketing manager, Honeywell Process Solutions, commented, “Honeywell is pleased to have successfully completed the industry’s first HART host registration. Our company has a strong commitment to supporting FieldComm Group and promoting its technologies by demonstrating compliance to the latest HART specifications. Rigorous criteria for customer usability and interoperability had to be met as part of testing and registration. The big benefit is that end users can purchase any registered HART product from any vendor and know it will fully operate with the registered HART system, independent of its supplier.”
Honeywell’s FDM is a centralized asset management system for remote configuration and maintenance of smart field devices based on the HART, PROFIBUS and FOUNDATION Fieldbus protocols. It is designed to simplify maintenance tasks, save time, eliminate errors, and provide the flexibility and scalability to perform complete device configuration and management tasks through smart plant instrumentation.
Shell’s Scotford Upgrader, a prominent FDM user located near Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, Canada, won the 2011 HART Plant of the Year award. Shell commissioned a 100,000-barrel per day (bpd) expansion to the facility, and a safe and successful start-up meant the Scotford instrumentation team had to work quickly and efficiently with a minimum of mistakes. The team found that HART technology provided a way to streamline testing and pre-configuration of devices so when they were installed, everything was ready to run for a smooth start-up. Having HART devices from 26 different vendors, they still did not have to do any special testing for interoperability. All of the HART devices were plug-and-play and connected properly to their FDM asset management system. They used the ability to open a virtual window and unlock all the power of HART Communication for any type of measurement device supplied by all of their suppliers.
The HART DD Host Test and Registration Procedure benefits both automation suppliers and end users by enabling a high level of consistency in a multi-vendor environment. It verifies that DD hosts registered with FieldComm Group meet the requirements outlined in its Device Description Language (DDL) specifications. DD-enabled host systems must support all the capabilities of all HART-enabled field devices. Registration of a DD host confirms that the product has been tested and validated against the current HART specifications.
To gain registration, automation suppliers must comply with standardized test cases for all DD hosts. The registration process advances robust interoperability and integration between different manufacturers’ hosts and devices. In addition, it provides an extra measure of confidence that hosts properly employ HART technology features and can function within an open control architecture. The host has been of particular concern in the past because it is the crucial element at the system level.
Under the HART registration process, hosts that successfully complete the test requirements are authorized to bear the official “HART Registered” mark. Hosts may include configuration tools, recording devices, alarm display panels, Human-Machines Interfaces (HMIs), or systems with a combination of functionality.
The HART DD Host Test and Registration Procedure was driven by end users to bring about consistent interoperability between hosts and devices regardless of the host supplier. The HART specifications include profiles for functionally between different hosts and the appropriate features that apply to each host profile.
To learn more about host registration, please visit the Product Testing & Registration Page on the FieldComm Group website.