Friday, April 29, 2011

Fieldbus Foundation Announces End User and Sales Force Training Seminars

The Fieldbus Foundation yesterday announced a new series of complimentary end user and sales force training seminars to be held at different locations around the world throughout 2011.  Our first series of seminars in North America will occur in Carson, California from May 24th to 25tth at the Doubletree Hotel in Carson

The End User Seminar will be held on the 24th and are designed for process industry end users and engineering firms, the one day seminar will cover all aspects of Foundation technology business value, successful project execution, and successful system design. Leading industry end users, systems integrators, and trainers will also discuss successful installation and commissioning practices, control strategies, and operational and maintenance strategies. Each topic is discussed in detail for 45 minutes to one hour, followed immediately by a hands-on live demonstration of 15-20 minutes to reinforce the subject matter. The seminars conclude with a panel where questions will be taken from the audience. 

The Sales Force Training Seminar will be held on May 25th and will last from 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM.  With the growing adoption of Foundation fieldbus by process industry end users, there is a corresponding need to train salespeople in this advanced enabling technology.  Sales force seminar attendees will receive a sales “playbook” containing electronic copies of presentations and educational material given throughout the day, as well as hard copies of much of the material. These resources will arm salespeople with indepth information and locations to find direct answers to questions relating to Foundation fieldbus.

You can register by filling out this online PDF form and emailing it to us at

Electronic registration for the End User Seminar can be found here.

Electronic registration for the Sales Force Training Seminar can be found here.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

FOUNDATION Fieldbus, Careers, and Projects

More and more employers in the process automation business are looking for people with experience in FOUNDATION technology. is a Canadian job search engine.  When you type Foundation Fieldbus into their search bar, you uncover a significant number of positons, most of them available in Calgary or Fort McMurray.  Positions range from instrumentation technicians and engineers to project engineers, account managers, and many others.  All are looking for people with experience in FOUNDATION Fieldbus.  This is also an indicator of the revived fieldbus projects business, which went into recession along with the entire process automation business in 2009. 

Even more encouraging is the fact that the recovery is spurring modernization efforts that were delayed by many of the major end users in North America and Western Europe.  We are starting to see large end users including a significant amount of FOUNDATION Fieldbus content in their migration project, such as this recent success story by Maverick Technologies and their work with a major US refiner.

Fieldbus Foundation Brings More Info Through HSE With Wireless & Remote I/O Solutions For Developers

Fieldbus Foundation released the WIO specifications yesterday. You can read the news release here. Basically what this means is that the Foundation has made tools and resources available for the development of wiress and remote I/O gateways to FOUNDATION Fieldbus HSE. With WIO, we now have the ability to bring in the valuable diagnostic information from wireless devices, regardless of whether they are WirelessHART® or ISA 100.11a, into the open and standardized infrastructure of FOUNDATION fieldbus.

Combined with the ability to handle remote I/O, this greatly extends the range and capabilities of FOUNDATION technology to encompass many more devices throughout the entire plant or facility, regardless of their communications technology.The business value lies in taking the large amounts data from these devices through HSE and turning it into useful information in an open environment.You will be able to enjoy the benefits of wireless networking and remote I/O along with the powerful infrastructure of FOUNDATION technology.

WIO technology establishes open, non-proprietary specifications for a wired HSE backhaul network, a wireless HSE backhaul integrating various wireless gateways, and an interface to wireless field device networks. Tools and resources now available to support the development of WIO devices include:

High Speed Ethernet Wireless and Remote I/O Specification: Defines a series of interoperable gateways to bring control I/O (both analog and discrete) back to plant automation systems over an international standard, high-speed network.

HSE Interoperability Test Kit (HSE ITK): Tests the functionality of an HSE device and its conformance with the FOUNDATION fieldbus function block and transducer block specifications.The HSE ITK’s test cases have been updated to Device ITK Profile 6.0 and now support the VC++ 2008 (v9) standard.The test kit also employs an all-new, intuitive user interface and updated HSE test function device application.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Indian Institute of Technology Lectures on Fieldbus

Indian end users are on the cutting edge when it comes to FOUNDATION Fieldbus implementation.  The high attendance of close to 500 people at the last Fieldbus Foundation General Assembly in Mumbai is testament to that.  The Indian Institute of Technology has a very good set of lectures on process automation on their YouTube channel.  Several of these lectures are dedicated to the application of fieldbus technology.  Here is a link to the first in the series. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Emerson and General Electric Hosts Pass Tests for New Mandatory Host Profile "61b".

Emerson and General Electric hosts pass tests for support of NAMUR NE107 field diagnostics 
AUSTIN,Texas, April 20, 2011 — The Fieldbus Foundation today announced it has registered the first two F
OUNDATION™ fieldbus hosts incorporating new, mandatory host profile “61b.”  Fieldbus hosts supplied by Emerson Process Management (DeltaV Digital Automation System, with AMS Suite: Intelligent Device Manager) and GE Energy (GE ControlST) passed tests verifying their support for NAMUR NE107 field diagnostics, which is now required as part of the second phase of host testing and registration.

In the F
OUNDATION fieldbus automation infrastructure, hosts can include configuration tools, recording devices, alarm display panels, human-machine interfaces (HMIs), or a combination of functionality.  Host profiles are key to fieldbus system interoperability, defining required features for different classes of tested and registered hosts.  They include: Class 61 – Integrated Host, Class 62 – Visitor Host, Class 63 – Bench Host Non-Commissioned Device, and Class 64 – Bench Host Commissioned Off-Line Device.

The following host features have gone from "optional" to "mandatory" with the new host profile 61b:

·         Block Instantiation– Allows full utilization of fieldbus devices supporting instantiable function blocks. Primarily intended for control in the field (CIF).

·         Multiple Capability Levels – For devices where certain blocks/features are optional (licensed), the standard or higher capability level can be set in the tag placeholder during system configuration to prevent unsupported blocks from being used in the control strategy. This prevents surprises during commissioning. It also makes device replacement easier.

·         Enhanced Function Blocks – Allows full utilization of enhanced blocks (standard blocks with additional parameters).

·         Profiled Custom Function Blocks– Allows full utilization of non-standard blocks.

·         Configuration of Scheduled Control Function Blocks – Allows developers to build CIF control strategies.

·         DD V5.1 Device-Level Access (enhanced Electronic Device Description Language with cross-block) – Makes fieldbus devices easier to use by enabling a dashboard with all diagnostics on the same page, and all setup on one page, regardless of which block it is in.

According to Fieldbus Foundation Director, Fieldbus Products, Stephen Mitschke, the registration of hosts supporting host profile 61b will improve the user experience at sites employing FOUNDATION fieldbus-based control systems.  “Support for device-level menus, one of the additional features mandated by host profile 61b, will make it easier for users to configure and maintain fieldbus devices,” said Mitschke.  “In addition, registered hosts must now demonstrate the ability to configure field diagnostics in devices.  An enhanced, structured view of diagnostics according to NE107 contributes to effective asset management.”

Emerson’s chief technology officer, Peter Zornio, commented, “With this registration, Emerson reaffirms its leadership in F
OUNDATION fieldbus technology, and will drive further growth.  A best-in-class FOUNDATION fieldbus solution is a key part of Emerson’s I/O on Demand offering to our customers, allowing them to choose the best I/O solution for each of their applications.  In fact, five out of ten of our largest DeltaV systems on order right now are using FOUNDATION fieldbus technology.”

Using the power of F
OUNDATION fieldbus, and considering the NE107 recommendations for field diagnostics, the Fieldbus Foundation developed a profile specification enhancing the organization, integration and presentation of device diagnostics within fieldbus systems.  The FOUNDATION fieldbus diagnostic profile includes a standard and open interface for reporting all device alarm conditions, and provides a means of categorizing alert conditions by severity.  The technology facilitates routing of alerts to appropriate consoles based on user-selectable severity categories.  In other words, it sends the right information to the right person at the right time without flooding the operator with alarms that are irrelevant to his duties. Furthermore, it provides recommended corrective actions and detailed help, as well as an indication of the overall health of the device.

For more information about registered F
OUNDATION fieldbus hosts, please visit

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

An End User Comparison of FOUNDATION Fieldbus and HART

There is no question that FOUNDATION Fieldbus coexists in a world of multiple communication options.  Most plants have a mixture of networks and technologies, and the end user must evaluate available technologies and how they match to their functional specifications.  The following white paper is an even handed discussion of the differences between FOUNDATION technology and HART that people might find useful. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Presentations from General Assembly in India

The Fieldbus Foundation General Assembly in India was a huge success.  The GA drew a record crowd of close to 500 people, most of them end users.  India continues to be a hotbed of fieldbus activity and has the largest fieldbus installations in the world, most notably the Jamnagar Refinery.  For those interested, here are links to the presentations given at the GA:

Good Presentation on FOUNDATION Technology for Energy Monitoring

From the presentation archives: a very good presentation on using FOUNDATION Technology in energy monitoring applications.  This case is from a 2004 presentation that involves ABB as the supplier, Molson as the end user, and Everest Automation as the ABB channel partner.   You can view the presentation here

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Maverick Technologies Modernizes Major US Refinery with FOUNDATION Fieldbus

Independent systems integrator Maverick Technologies has recently released a case study for a project they did with a major US refiner that involved a significant amount of FOUNDATION Fieldbus content, including approximately 1,000 devices and 500 digital positioners.  This is significant for a several reasons.  There is a huge amount of ageing legacy process automation systems installed around the world that are reaching the end of their useful life.  End users faced with a modernization project are faced with a choice -- do they replace the existing system with a new system that relies on the same conventional approaches and architectures, or do they consider moving their automation strategy forward for the next century?  This also shows that FOUNDATION Technology can be successfully adapted to existing process plants.  Maverick filled the roel of Main Automation Contractor on the project as well, which underscores the importance of picking the right engineering partner for your fieldbus application.

APATechnology is Doing Interesting things with FOUNDATION Fieldbus

My first week of work at the Foundation began at Hanover Fair.  The Fair was the launching point of the first ever Field Communication Lounge, where all the major fieldbus organizations got together in the same booth, including HART, Fieldbus Foundation, Profibus, and the FDT Group.  One of the companies demonstrating in the Foundation booth was APATechnologies (  APAT has a process automation system that heavily incorporates FOUNDATION technology and has a unique concept where the control function resides in the HSE linking device instead of the controller, a concept that the company informally refers to as "control near the field".   APAT is also unique because they are one of the few companies that uses FOUNDATION Fieldbus HSE as its control network instead of an Ethernet-based network running a proprietary protocol.  Some very interesting developments from an up and coming process automation system supplier.