Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Fieldbus Foundation at Emerson Global Users Exchange

One of the things we are doing at the Foundation is to increase our presence at the major user group meetings. If there is one meeting not to miss in your annual calendar it is the Emerson Global Users Exchange. With close to 3,000 attendees, I think I can safely say that the Exchange is now the largest user group meeting that is totally focused on process automation. Other user group meetings are as big, but not so finely focused on process automation. Attending the Exchange this year was Stephen Mitschke, our director of products, who also heads up our testing and registration efforts. Stephen presented our vision for testing and registration of products and host systems at the foundation.  You can access Stephen's presentation here

For my own part, I delivered a presentation on FOUNDATION for Safety Instrumented Functions. After a successful end user demonstration in 2008, efforts around FOUNDATION for SIF stalled a little in the wake of the recession, but activity is ramping up again and we are looking to test and register the first wave of products within the next 18 months, and there are currently three separate end user pilot projects happening as we speak.  You can access that presentation here

Emerson is a leader in FOUNDATION fieldbus and of course ours were not the only presentations given on the topic of fieldbus. In addition to the many fieldbus-related presentations, the full scope of Emerson fieldbus products and services were on display at the technology exhibits, which ran from Monday through Wednesday. Many Emerson partners were also in attendance, including several FOUNDATION fieldbus technology providers such as Softing, MTL, Pepperl+Fuchs, MooreHawke, and others. A complete list of partners that exhibited is available here.

Emerson also announced that it has sold over 1,200 of its new DeltaV S-series H1 fieldbus interface cards. The new card eliminates marshalling by letting the fieldbus trunk directly on the H1 card without an intermediate marshalling cabinet. The new card measures output voltage and the current drawn on the bus. This can be used as an additional form of diagnostics. Changes in current drawn could indicate short circuit on a spur or other installation problem. Diagnostics modules or testers connected in parallel cannot do this. It is a nice complement to the communication statistics which are already built into the H1 card and seen from DeltaV diagnostics. Together, these diagnostics detect problems on either the field device-side or controller cabinet-side of the safety barriers, without adding any hardware. 


You can download a series of good FOUNDATION fieldbus tutorial presentations from the Emerson Exchange slideshare site here. You can also access chief Emerson blogger Jim Cahill’s many posts regarding the Exchange here.

I attended a very good presentation on the new Softing gateway that will be used by Emerson in place of its Rosemount’s 3420 fieldbus gateway. Like the existing 3420 gateway, the Softing FIM 110 FF gateway is a great way to provide integration between existing legacy control systems and fieldbus devices, as well as asset management applications. The FIM 110 FF is based on Softing’s existing line of fieldbus gateways. The FIM 100 also provides integration of Modbus and other network technologies. Softing also provides a configuration tools to handle configuring blocks and schedules. AMS handles the transducer/resource configurations. Both Softing and Emerson will sell the product.

We hear a lot about Emerson’s flowmeter and transmitter offerings, but did you know that the company has truly availed themselves of the full functionality of FOUNDATION fieldbus with its analytical instruments? Jim gray of Rosemount Analytical gave an excellent presentation on the many things you can do with their products in a FOUNDATION fieldbus infrastructure, including full incorporation of NE-107 field diagnostics and function block capabilities. There is a lot of information regarding Rosemount Analytical’s fieldbus offerings here.

Some users find great success installing fieldbus in existing plants where multiple temperature measurements are required. We saw a good case study from Valero on just that topic, where the end user realized hundreds of thousands of dollars in installed cost with the Rosemount 848 T multiple input temperature transmitter. This case just shows that it is possible to realize significant installed cost savings even on a small fieldbus project.

We also attended a very informative presentation by Al Dewey of Emerson on the 475 handheld communicator, which is ubiquitous in the process industries. Al’s presentation was designed around addressing best practices in using the device, particularly when it comes to management of change. Many field technicians will make changes to a device with the 475, but these are not always picked up by the process automation system. Al gave several good pointers on how to do it right. 

Again we look forward to attending next year and appreciate all those who attended our sessions.

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