Wednesday, June 20, 2012

New FOUNDATION Fieldbus Linking Devices Strengthen Rockwell Automation Communication Portfolio

Two new linking devices from Rockwell Automation provide PlantPAx process automation system users with connectivity to FOUNDATION Fieldbus devices. The Allen-Bradley 1788-EN2FFR and 1788-CN2FFR linking devices provide a direct link from EtherNet/IP or ControlNet networks to the FOUNDATION Fieldbus H1 device-level network, making the integration of FOUNDATION Fieldbus devices intuitive and seamless.

New FOUNDATION Fieldbus Linking Devices Strengthen Rockwell Automation Communication Portfolio

We Have Released the HART Portion of the ROM Specification

At our press conference at Achema yesterday, the Fieldbus Foundation announced the wired and WirelessHART portion of the ROM specification, which allows HART and WirelessHART® devices to be represented in transducer blocks in FOUNDATION fieldbus. This is the second of four major release phases in the ROM specification. The Remote I/O specification (RIO) specification was released last April. The next two phases to be released are the ISA 100.11a specification, which should be released by the end of the summer, and the HSE Wireless Backhaul network specification (release date to be determined).

The Fieldbus Foundation's FOUNDATION for ROM initiative is intended to develop a unified digital infrastructure for asset management in remote applications ranging from tank farms and terminals to pipelines, offshore platforms, and even original equipment manufacturer (OEM) skids. The technology enables fieldbus connectivity to remote I/O and the leading industrial wireless protocols, including WirelessHART® and ISA 100.11a. It provides an interface to these wireless technologies and uses Electronic Device Description Language (EDDL) and function blocks to ensure interoperability with FOUNDATION for ROM devices.

Press Release: Fieldbus Foundation Updates Technical Specifications for Remote Operations Management

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

FOUNDATION for ROM is Online at Achema!

Our FOUNDATION for ROM display is up and running at the Achema show in Hall 11, on the "Via" level between the first and second floor, right near the NAMUR/ARC/ZVEI Automation Dialog forum. We invite you to come over and see what we are doing with FOUNDATION for ROM, including integration with WirelessHART, ISA 100.11a, wired HART, and conventional remote I/O. You can also see some of our supplier partners in the booth, including companies like FINT, APAT, Yokogawa, Emerson, Endress+Hauser, Pepperl+Fuchs, Phoenix Contact, Invensys, Honeywell, and more.

We also have a press release scheduled from 11-12 AM in the GRANAT room.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

New Video from FCTP Partner SAIT

Our FOUNDATION Certified Training Program (FCTP) partner Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) has allowed us to upload a nice video to the FOUNDATION fieldbus YouTube channel that provides a good view into the SAIT fieldbus training center and their training capabilities. We love to show off our FCTP partner training capabilities, because we spend a lot of time auditing and certifying our FCTP partners to make sure their programs consist of a certain level of quality and consistency.  We audit the institution, the instructors, and the curriculum. We take training seriously and so does SAIT!

SAIT Video on Fieldbus Foundation YouTube Channel

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Meet us at Achema Next Week!

Myself, President of Fieldbus Foundation Rich Timoney, and Fieldbus Foundation Director of Technology Dave Glanzer will all be at the Achema trade show next week in Frankfurt, Germany.  Achema is probably the biggest automation trade show in the world focused on the global chemical industry. The Fieldbus Foundation will be at Hall 11, Stand B29. We will once again be participating in the Field Communication Lounge with FDT, HART Communication Foundation, Profibus, and OPC.  

Fieldbus Foundation will also be bringing our FOUNDATION for ROM demo to Achema, so you will be able to see firsthand what we are doing with FOUNDATION for ROM and how it can benefit you.  We will also be holding a press conference related to recent developments in FOUNDATION for ROM on Tuesday June 19th at 11 AM in the GRANAT room of Hall 11 on the ground floor. Hope to see you there!  Many of our supplier members will also have a presence at the Field Communication Lounge, from smaller companies like APAT and FINT to Pepperl+Fuchs, Turck, Stahl, Endress+Hauser, Emerson, Honeywell, Siemens, Yokogawa, and more. 

Fieldbus Foundation is also part of FDI Cooperation LLC, and FDI will be having a press conference in the KORAL room, also on the ground floor of Hall 11, from 10-11 AM.  

ARC Advisory Group is having a series of panel discussion and presentations in conjunction with NAMUR and ZVEI called "Automation Dialog". I will be participating in a panel titled "Operational Excellence" on Wednesday at 2 PM. You can get more info about the Automation Dialog series of talks here.  

I write a lot about the value of trade shows. Achema is one of the last truly great trade shows for the process automation business. It only comes around every third year and it attracts a wide range of automation suppliers, equipment vendors, engineering firms and solution providers, educational institutions, and, most importantly, end users. We look forward to attending.  

Monday, June 11, 2012

Beamex Fieldbus Communicator Video

Here is a short YouTube video discussing the Beamex Fieldbus communicator.  For those of you that love the gadgets, Beamex makes some interesting stuff!  Part of our ongoing YouTube links to third party supplier videos.

Report from Jakarta Indonesia Seminar

The Fieldbus Foundation conducted an end-user seminar in Jakarta Indonesia May 23rd, from 9 AM to 5 PM at the Kempinski Grand Ballroom D, 11th Floor, West Mall, Grand Indonesia Shopping Town. In this year’s update, users got to see how the latest technology enhancements have made fieldbus much easier to use than it was in the past. For instance the new "compatibility revision" feature has made device replacement much easier, by eliminating the need to touch system software to make device replacement. The new "new download list" feature has made configuration download hassle free as errors and retries of the past are eliminated. Perhaps even more helpful is the "device level access" feature in enhanced EDDL (, which organizes and displays all device information according to tasks, thus making configuration/setup, diagnostics, and calibration of fieldbus devices much easier. The fieldbus experience is also greatly enhanced thanks to the new Host Profile Registration, which is a new and more system test to ensure control system and intelligent device management software complies with the fieldbus standard.

FOUNDATION Fieldbus Seminar in Jakarta, Indonesia

An important external factor brought about by our daily personal life is that most people are now familiar with software, the internet, and smart phones in a whole new way. This was alien to many in the early days of fieldbus. Therefore, using a computer to connect to a smart device, to download music, applications, and synchronizing with the computer through a digital connection is natural. Now that technicians are familiar with computers and smart devices, the environment for digital fieldbus is right. Configuring, troubleshooting, troubleshooting, and commissioning devices from a computer, as well as downloading DD files, and synchronizing (downloading) device configuration is now intuitive and familiar,  and to many the obvious first choice.

Fieldbus Experts Gather in Indonesia!

FOUNDATION fieldbus benefits are now much easier to achieve and sustain than in the past. For instance the drastic reduction in wiring, particularly for complex devices each having multiple control and feedback signals such as electric actuators, control and on/off valves, etc. Or, tighter PID control with lower process variability. As well as diagnostics for predictive maintenance of on/off valves, gas chromatographs, and inventory tank gauging systems along with other instrumentation.

The other good news is that plants which already have fieldbus systems can benefit from the technology enhancements next time the system is upgraded, thus making the system easier to use. These systems can also make use of the new innovative fieldbus products which have become available, such as intelligent two-wire on/off valves, field mounted shelterless gas chromatographs not requiring sample lines, eight input temperature transmitters, and two-wire inventory tank gauging systems.

The 120 registered end-users also had a chance to see fieldbus equipment from thirteen manufacturers including ABB, Azbil, Emerson, Honeywell, MTL, Pepperl+Fuchs, Rockwell Automation, Stahl, Turck, Yokogawa, Leoni-Kerpen, MooreHawke, and Vega. The presentation material from the event is available on

Friday, June 8, 2012

Latest Edition of Spitzer and Boyes E-Zine: FOUNDATION Fieldbus Control

Our friends over at Spitzer and Boyes are continuing their multi-part series on FOUNDATION fieldbus for control.  In the August issue of their e-zine you can read the third installment by Dick Caro, who discusses scheduling in fieldbus control systems, particularly the publish and subscribe mechanisms.  It's worth a read, as are the previous two installments.  

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

John Rezabek's Column in Control: Smart Pipe?

John Rezabek of Ashland Chemical, who also happens to be chairman of our End User Advisory Council, has a monthly column in Control Magazine.  This month he ruminates on the existence of "Smart Pipes", which have built in sensor capabilities.  Could they change the way we use automation technology in a significant way?  

From the article:
"What if the pipe and vessels that contain your physical process were embedded with sensors for flow, pressure, temperature and composition? No more vessel penetrations for thermowells or process taps for DP cells. No more worries about plugging impulse lines or zero shifts. Distillation column temperature profiles would be continuous and automatic."
It seems like an interesting proposition, but what would this mean for all the automation equipment (and networks) that we sell today?

Broadley-James Uses FOUNDATION Fieldbus on their Bioreactor Control Systems

There is an excellent post by Emerson Process Experts blogger Jim Cahill on the use of FOUNDATION fieldbus in life sciences applications.  In this case an end user applied the technology to Broadley-James Bionet bioreactor control systems. It's not something we discuss enough in the fieldbus community, but we have a huge installed base in the life sciences industry. Many aspects of FOUNDATION fieldbus make the technology a great fit for batch and hybrid applications in the regulated industries.

From the post:
"Automation is not something within the normal realm of biochemists in the lab environment. The palettes of tools within the DeltaV system around control and information is something that streamlined the prior workflow. This was especially the case around trending and historical data reporting.
The Broadley-James Bionet bioreactor control system is based on a DeltaV controller. The vessels are instrumented with sensors and actuators communicating via Foundation Fieldbus and DeviceNet digital communications technology."
 DeltaV on Laboratory Bioreactors

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

FOUNDATION Fieldbus Barriers YouTube Video from MTL

Here'e a nice video featuring Andreas Agostin from MTL talking about their new FOUNDATION fieldbus intrinsic safety barriers!  I will be featuring more of these kinds of supplier videos in the coming weeks, there are dozens out there.

Spring 2012 Fieldbus Report Available for Download!

In the Spring 2012 edition of our twice yearly Fieldbus Report, Fieldbus Foundation President, Rich Timoney, reflects on a report offered by Ronaldo Magalhaes from Petrobras, where the company projects $224 billion in new capital spending to develop new reserves. “Just as Foundation Fieldbus is going to be a big part of Petrobras’ future automation strategy, it has gained strong acceptance throughout Latin America, India, and other developing regions,” Timoney says. This dovetails with market analysis from ARC Advisory Group that reckons Foundation Fieldbus technology accounted for nearly 75% of the total digital process fieldbus market in 2011.

Here are some additional items you’ll find in this edition:

The 2012 Fieldbus Foundation General Assembly drew nearly 250 suppliers and end users to São Paulo, Brazil, last March for three days of reports, case studies, exhibits, and a demonstration of the new Foundation for Remote Operations Management (ROM) technology. Users and suppliers are encouraged by an uptick in capital spending in critical markets.

Last December, editors from a variety of industry publications gathered at Lee College in Baytown, Texas, for a technology demonstration of the Foundation for ROM initiative, incorporating multiple wired and wireless networking protocols. Larry O’Brien, FF global marketing manager, contends this technology will be critical to the rapidly growing remote operations management market segment.

The Foundation Development Services Provider (DSP) Program has qualified its first member company, Softing Industrial Automation. This program evaluates vendors to ensure that they have the capabilities, experience, and general know-how to support FF development projects. Qualified providers can streamline the certification process and ensure a better outcome.

The list of Foundation Fieldbus events is growing and covering the earth through the rest of 2012. From Romania, to Texas, to Indonesia, the offerings of seminars, road shows, forums, and training sessions have something for everyone, and just about everywhere. Check out the schedule.

Industrial research firms ARC Advisory Group and Frost & Sullivan, have both published studies related to fieldbus markets and market shares. The two studies, taken together, point to the large share that FF holds in the process fieldbus market, and to ongoing growth in related markets. The bottom line is that FF deployments will grow in number and importance for many years to come.

If you’ve ever fallen into a communication gap between your control system and field devices, you will appreciate that development of the Field Device Integration (FDI) specification is moving ahead thanks to support from a group of critical stakeholders. Beginning with comprehensive and rigorous use case requirements, the organization has laid out an approach that support communication going ahead with backward compatibility for existing installations.

From all parts of the world and a growing list of industries, take a look at the roll call of new and truly massive FF deployments. With 68% of all new industrial automation projects in process industries using FF to some extent, the list of projects is long and impressive.

The number and variety of Fieldbus Foundation registered devices is continuing to grow with new additions from all segments of the automation market. The registration process includes rigorous testing of critical elements of the technology, including host systems, field devices, and physical layer components. Here are some of the latest additions, plus some highlights of new product releases.
Click here to access the Spring 2012 Fieldbus Report.

Spring 2012 Fieldbus report on Control Engineering Web Site

Monday, June 4, 2012

Emerson Wins Big FOUNDATION Fieldbus Contract with BP

Emerson Process Management was recently awarded a $23 million contract by BP "to supply integrated control and safety systems for two new bridge-linked platforms for the Clair Ridge project." Located in the North Sea, Clair Ridge is being developed by BP and co-venturers ConocoPhillips, Chevron and Shell. Emerson will serve as both automation supplier and Main Automation Contractor (MAC) for the project.  The installation will combine FOUNDATION fieldbus with Emerson's wireless technologies, and is part of BP's Field of the Future® program that will enhance recoverable reserves and boost operational efficiency.

Report from the End User Seminar in Calgary

Two weeks ago on May 23rd we held our first of three 2012 North American end user seminars in Calgary at the Telus Convention Center.  In my opinion it was one of our best seminars to date, with around 120 registered attendees.  This was more than we got last year and even better was the fact that just about everybody stayed until the end of the day.  We did a lot of hands on demonstration of FOUNDATION technology that followed the phases of the plant lifecycle, from engineering and design to installation, commissioning, operations, and maintenance.  It seemed clear to those of us that planned the seminar that many may lack a clear understanding of the lifecycle benefits of FOUNDATION fieldbus, and this will be the theme for all of our seminars this year.

Lots of Interest in the Sponsor Booths at the Calgary Seminar

Dave Lancaster of Trine University (one of our Fieldbus Certified Training Program partners) gave an excellent overview of key considerations in the engineering and design phase.  He also covered installation and commissioning and gave a demonstration of our DesignMate segment design tool, which is a free download from the Fieldbus Foundation web site.  John Rezabek of Ashland Chemical and chairman of our End User Advisory Council (EUAC) gave an excellent presentation on installation and commissioning as well, taking some of the complexity and mystery out of what it takes to do a good fieldbus installation from a physical layer perspective.  Amit Ajmeri of Yokogawa then demonstrated installation and commissioning of FOUNDATION fieldbus devices on the Yokogawa host system demonstration unit.

Ray Azizian of Yokogawa Explains the Yokogawa Demo Unit to an End  User
The operational benefits of the seminar consisted of a very good presentation by John Rezabek on the importance of the FOUNDATION fieldbus user layer and block structure, and how you can use control in the field to realize some significant operational benefits such as single loop integrity and avoidance of unplanned shutdowns.  Control in the field capability was effectively demonstrated by Charlie Piper of Invensys Operations Management on that company's host demonstration unit.

Charlie Piper from Invensys Operations Management Answers
Questions about Control in the Field
The last portion of the day included Chuck Carter of Lee College's (also an FCTP partner) presentation on managing diagnostic data from devices, which was also given by John Rezabek.  Al Dewey of Emerson Process Management then provided an in depth presentation on device diagnostics using the Emerson host demonstration system.  Last but not least was Ed Williamson's presentation on the importance of training.  Ed is one of the chief fieldbus instructors at Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, which is another of our Fieldbus Certified Training Program Partners.  We rounded out the day with a very good panel discussion.  I hope the rest of the seminars in North America this year go as well as the Calgary seminar did.  Thanks to all who made it possible.  We would also like to thank our other sponsors, including MooreHawke, Westlock Controls, Cobalt Process, Endress+Hauser, MTL/Cooper, Pepperl+Fuchs, Phoenix Contact, Stahl, and Rockwell Automation.

The Emerson Diagnostic Unit that Simulates Plugged Impulse Lines,
among Other Things

Petrobras and FOUNDATION for ROM

It's been a busy few weeks for us at the Fieldbus Foundation, and I haven't been blogging as often as usual, but you'll see a lot here in the coming weeks.  A few weeks ago the FOUNDATION for ROM demo team sat down with Petrobras at their very large and impressive Cenpes research facility outside of Rio.  Short for Centro de Pesquisas Leopoldo Américo Miguez de Mello, Cenpes serves as the heart of research and development for Petrobras.  It is the largest oil and gas related research center in the southern hemisphere.  Cenpes also houses several pilot plants for Petrobras, and it is on one of these pilot plants that we will be installing the first FOUNDATION for ROM field demo.

Petrobras Cenpes Research Facility
The demo will include the full functionality of ROM, including wireless devices integration, remote I/O integration, and wireless backhaul capability.  Petrobras is quite interested in ROM, which is a good fit for the ambitious projects that the company has scheduled or in progress for the upstream and downstream hydrocarbons industry.  As I have reported here before, Petrobras approved a  record shattering  $224 billion capital spending plan through 2015, and most do this money will be spent in the upstream sector on the highly publicized Pre-Salt area of the Santos Basin.  Evidence of the spending and development is all around, with Rio's harbor filled with offshore oil rigs and a large floating production and Storage Operation (FPSO) and other equipment.  We are fortunate to have a good demo team to work with and I look forward to reporting our progress in the near future.