Fieldbus Foundation releases final diagnostic profiles specification

Oct. 2, 2008

Austin, Texas -- The Fieldbus Foundation today announced the release of the final Foundation fieldbus Diagnostic Profiles Specification. Based on guidelines established by the NAMUR Working Group 2.6, this specification builds upon the robust diagnostic features already provided by Foundation fieldbus devices. At the same time, it allows end users to harness enhanced Electronic Device Description Language (EDDL) technology to achieve true, actionable diagnostics.

Beginning in May 2006, the Fieldbus Foundation and NAMUR, an international user association for automation technology in the process industries, collaborated on enhancements to Foundation technology, which improved its ability.  A key objective of this work was to unify the integration of fieldbus self-monitoring data and ensure the availability of valuable diagnostic information to process plant operators, engineers and technicians.

According to the NAMUR NE107 recommendation, "Self Monitoring and Diagnosis of Field Devices," fieldbus diagnostic results should be reliable and viewed in the context of a given application. The document recommends categorizing internal diagnostics into four standard status signals. It also stipulates configuration should be free, as reactions to a fault in the device may be very different depending on the user's requirements. According to NE107, plant operators should only see status signals, with detailed information viewable by device specialists.

Using the power of Foundation fieldbus, and considering the NAMUR NE107 recommendations for diagnostic profiles support, the Fieldbus Foundation developed a profiles specification enhancing organization and integration of device diagnostics within Foundation fieldbus systems. The specification will also help ensure future fieldbus devices are consistent with NAMUR guidelines.

Stephen Mitschke, Fieldbus Foundation manager-fieldbus products, commented, "Cooperation between the Fieldbus Foundation and NAMUR enabled all parties to develop a greater understanding of end user requirements during this period of rapid fieldbus adoption. Users will benefit from our collaboration thanks to easier diagnostic configuration, greater application flexibility, and fewer spurious alarms."

The Foundation fieldbus Diagnostic Profiles Specification identifies "role-based diagnostics" for fieldbus equipment and defines a consistent set of parameters for diagnostic alarming. This approach supports categorization of diagnostics according to NE107, thus ensuring the right diagnostic information is available to the right person at the right time. In addition, it allows diagnostics to be applied, as most appropriate, for a particular plant application (such as process control engineering or asset management maintenance).

A copy of the Foundation fieldbus Diagnostic Profiles Specification is available to Fieldbus Foundation members on Fieldbus Forums ( under "Member Forums - New Specification Forum."