Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Excellent Post From Emerson Process Experts on Fieldbus Cable

Cable requirements for FOUNDATION fieldbus are different from 4-20mA networks. That's why we have many kinds of cable that have been tested and registered by the Fieldbus Foundation.  Jim Cahill over at Emerson Process Experts blog actually has a great post regarding a conversation that was going on in the Fieldbus Foundation LinkedIn group, where users were discussing cable requirements.

This goes into interesting territory because there is always the ongoing debate among solution providers and end users as to whether or not existing cable can be used in a retrofit fieldbus project.  Existing cable can be used in some circumstances, but you have to watch out for inductance, capacitance, and resistance.

Read Jim Cahill's Blog Post Here

Read the LinkedIn Discussion Here

Thursday, August 16, 2012

ISA 108 Standard is Launched

You may have noticed that ISA has launched a new standards committee, of which I have the privilege of being a member. The ISA108 Intelligent Device Management standards committee "will define standard templates of best practices and work processes for design, development, installation and use of diagnostic and other information provided by intelligent field devices in the process industries."

Let me be clear that this is not a FOUNDATION fieldbus-centric standard. This standard applies to anyone who is using intelligent field devices on any network. In many cases, the promise of intelligent field devices in process plants remains unrealized.  This is not so much a technology issue as a people or work process issue.  Too many users are employing old maintenance work processes with new technology. The new devices and applications are installed, but the operators and technicians stick to their old way of doing things, their old preventative or routine maintenance practices, and never really take advantage of the huge amount of information that is available to them. It seems clear that the process industries would benefit from a standard set of work processes and best practices for intelligent device management. This would give end users an effective blueprint for achieving the significant economic lifecycle benefits associated with intelligent devices.

ISA Charters New Standards Committee on Intelligent Device Management

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

New Wiring Best Practices/How-to Video

We've posted a new YouTube video on our YouTube channel as a continuation to our first wiring how-to video addressing some expanded elements of the physical layer. We are planning a few more videos to release in the near future as well. This particular video addresses wiring practices on the coupler side of H1 wire and also explores the use of torque screwdrivers. A big thanks goes out to Cobalt Process for donating the torque screwdriver shown in the video!

Don't forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel so you're alerted to the latest content by the Fieldbus Foundation.

Also, for more best practices, be sure to get a copy of our System Engineering Guidelines from our Technical Guides on our website. You can also attend one of our free traveling road show seminars to see live systems in action. Each seminar is sponsored by major host/device manufacturers that will be in attendance as well! The next seminar will be in Houston, TX at the Hilton Americas - Houston. More information, including registration, can be found on our Events page.

Fieldbus Inc. Becomes Latest Member of Development Services Provider Program

The Fieldbus Foundation today announced that Fieldbus Inc. has qualified under its FOUNDATION Development Services Provider (DSP) program. A solutions provider for fieldbus technology applications, product development, standard and custom function blocks, consulting, training and many other products and services,. Fieldbus Inc. joins other qualified service providers in the program, which helps automation vendors get started with FOUNDATION product development by making it faster and easier to bring fieldbus equipment to market.

The Fieldbus Foundation launched the FOUNDATION DSP program to assist automation equipment suppliers preparing to design and manufacture products employing FOUNDATION fieldbus technology. The DSP program is intended to provide access to qualified development services providers with the know-how to make fieldbus solutions a reality. Qualified DSP participants have been evaluated to ensure they have the tools, training and experience necessary to support a wide range of FOUNDATION fieldbus development projects. Services that can be qualified in the FOUNDATION DSP program include H1 and High Speed Ethernet (HSE) fieldbus device development services, as well as host system services.

Fieldbus Foundation Manager-Fieldbus Products, Stephen Mitschke, commented, "The FOUNDATION fieldbus technology market continues to grow, and Fieldbus Foundation members look to participate in it. Sometimes, organizations can be intimidated by fieldbus device development when they are faced with little experience or knowledge of digital bus technology. Add in limited resources and they may prefer to outsource a portion of the development process. The FOUNDATION DSP solution can help by streamlining product R&D and ensuring a strong ROI."

Tom Boyd, vice president, engineering, Fieldbus Inc., said, "As a recognized expert in field communication technologies for the process automation industry, a key participant in the development of fieldbus product solutions and an active member of the Fieldbus Foundation, Fieldbus Inc. sought the DSP qualification to continue our support of the technology and the manufacturers wanting to use it. The Development Services Provider program is an excellent way to expand our role as a high-quality FOUNDATION technology provider."

FOUNDATION DSP program participants and their development tools/services are featured in a special section of the Fieldbus Foundation's website ( Go to the Development Services Provider page for information on Fieldbus Inc. as well as our other DSP participants. Participants are also authorized to display the official FOUNDATION DSP logo in their marketing materials.

To learn more about the FOUNDATION DSP program, please contact the Fieldbus Foundation at 512.794.8890 or e-mail

Monday, August 13, 2012

Upcoming End User Seminar in Houston

Fieldbus Foundation will be hosting another free-of-charge end user seminar at the Hilton Americas Hotel in Houston on September 12th. Our first end user seminar in May of this year received great reviews, and we believe this is our most interactive and instructive series of end user seminars we have ever done. We do hands on demonstrations of FOUNDATION technology throughout the phases of the plant lifecycle, from engineering and design to operations and maintenance. Our speakers include end users and leading fieldbus trainers and educators, as well as some very knowledgeable representatives from leading suppliers such as Emerson, Invensys, and Yokogawa. You can get more details and register electronically here.

Pictures from our Calgary Seminar in May

FOUNDATION Fieldbus End User Seminar in Houston, September 12th

Friday, August 10, 2012

Trine University Adds Remote Learning Capabilities to its Certified Fieldbus Training

Trine University in Indianapolis, Indiana was one of our first FOUNDATION Certified Training Program  (FCTP) partners, and we are pleased to announce that they are the first FCTP partner to add remote learning capabilities to the FOUNDATION Certified Professional course using a hybrid delivery method -- classroom and hands-on lab training combined with online lectures and tests.

The FOUNDATION Certified Professional Certificate is geared toward engineers, designers, main instrumentation controls contractors, and startup and commissioning specialists wanting to increase their knowledge base of design, planning and implementation of FOUNDATION systems. Until recently, this vendor-neutral, comprehensive full-week course at Trine University was a hands-on class that covered all areas of Fieldbus instrumentation: design, installation, configuration, maintenance and troubleshooting.

Here's what Trine had to say about the need to add remote learning capabilities to their course offerings:
"In order to meet anticipated growth, make training more accessible and reduce costs for trainees, Trine is continuing to implement significant changes. By decreasing the time students spend on campus from five to four days, the latest change allows double the time for hands-on learning, which affords students a greater experience. They will learn more in the way of installation methods, diagnostic tools and troubleshooting methods. In addition, trainees can remain in the workplace while accessing lectures and tests online. Students have access to “chat rooms” to discuss points or ask questions. This hybrid delivery method is more accommodating to potential foreign and domestic students."
"The FOUNDATION Certified Support Specialist and Technical Specialist courses will also be available in the hybrid format in October 2012. A fourth FOUNDATION certified course (Installation) will be available in 2014."
"“A critical component to the success of fieldbus training at Trine University is our instructor Dave Lancaster. Through his excellence in teaching, curriculum development, and 44 years of experience in the engineering and contractor business, Dave is an invaluable asset,” said Mersiha Alic, program director. “In addition, he secured over $250,000 of donations in lab equipment from a variety of vendors, expanding the size of the new lab at Trine’s Regional Campus in Indianapolis, allowing high-quality, vendor neutral training.”"

Many end users are opting for remote learning options so they can spend more time on their plant site and reduce travel costs. The ongoing labor crunch, combined with advancements in Internet-based remote training technologies, are now making it not only possible but necessary for training institutions to add a remote component to their course offerings. We look forward to more of our FCTP partners adding remote training options to their course offerings in the future.

Trine offers new, flexible FOUNDATION™ certified courses

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Fieldbus Foundation Updates FOUNDATION Fieldbus Device Coupler Test Specification

We at the Fieldbus Foundation have recently made some updates to our device coupler test specification. For the uninitiated, device couplers or isolated device couplers (where applicable) are installed where the fieldbus trunk (i.e., home run cable) is connected to the various device spurs. Isolated device couplers are specifically designed to allow automation end users to connect more devices per coupler while permitting live segment work in hazardous plant areas. These couplers provide isolated, conditioned power to multiple fieldbus devices and protect against short circuits caused by excess current in a spur. By enabling more devices per segment, they also help reduce controller input/output (I/O) points and associated installation costs.

The FOUNDATION fieldbus device coupler test specification includes criteria from the international IEC 61158 standard and additional functional tests such as input impedance, short-circuit reaction time, and bus voltage consumption. The specification is designed for coupler manufacturers to perform a standard set of tests against their implementation. A team of volunteers comprised of current members of the foundation who supply coupler products, as well as end users employing registered couplers, developed the test cases.

The Fieldbus Foundation’s Director-Fieldbus Products, Stephen Mitschke, commented, “The Fieldbus Foundation is committed to rigorous test procedures for all Foundation devices, hosts and components. Our device coupler test specification is intended to provide a high level of robustness in fieldbus systems. The resulting registered products are tested to perform optimally with registered power supplies and conditioners, as well as registered H1 cable.”Mitschke added that the latest enhancements to the Foundation fieldbus physical layer specifications will provide end users with greater confidence that registered fieldbus equipment can be employed in a tightly integrated, interoperable control system architecture that is well suited to the most demanding industrial environments.

To obtain this updated specification, please visit the Technical Specifications page of the Fieldbus Foundation's website at If you have a signed maintenance agreement in place, you can download the latest specifications on the Fieldbus Forums, otherwise please contact


We are at the ISA Water/Wastewater and Automatic Controls Symposium in Orlando this week.  ISA has invited us to this conference to present on FOUNDATION for Remote Operations Management. The water and wastewater business has a significant amount of remote operations and could benefit significantly from FOUNDATION for ROM.  The water and wastewater industry must also make some pretty significant investments in its overall infrastructure over the next decade, including automation. Thanks to ISA for letting us participate and we look forward to a good meeting. I am actually at the conference right now and this is the most water and wastewater industry end users I have seen in one place, about 175 people in all.

ISA WWAC Symposium 2012

FOUNDATION for ROM Article in Control

Nancy Bartels, Managing Editor for Control magazine, has written a nice article about FOUNDATION for ROM and some of the confusion that exists surrounding the numerous wireless standards in process automation, and some of the technologies designed to integrate these various standards, FOUNDATION for ROM being one.

FOUNDATION Fieldbus: Can We All Just Get Along?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

DCS Migration

I ran across this article on the wave of DCS migrations on the horizon. Larry talks a lot about this in his presentations at our seminars. As people begin to look at their migration projects, all digital bus technology like FOUNDATION fieldbus, absolutely should be considered. We're in a digital era already so the migration doesn't have to be difficult, it just requires some training (shameless promotion time here for our FCTP sites... check out your options for Certified Training).

Without any further ado, here is the article Title Wave of DCS Replacement on the Horizon