Thursday, November 21, 2013

FOUNDATION Fieldbus H1 Interoperability Test Kit 6.1.1 Now Available

The Fieldbus Foundation today is pleased to announce the release of the Foundation fieldbus H1 Interoperability Test Kit (ITK) 6.1.1. The H1 ITK is an advanced testing solution benefitting both developers and end users of Foundation fieldbus H1 devices.

The latest version of the Interoperability test kit reflects the increased focus of the Fieldbus Foundation on usability. The Fieldbus Foundation has already made enhancements to its Interoperability Test Kit (ITK) that make it easier for end users to replace “Like for Like” devices. In other words, the procedure for replacing a device with a newer revision level of the same make and model of device is automated to allow the configuration in an existing field instrument to be restored in a newer version of that instrument without manual intervention.

ITK Version 6.1.1, a maintenance release, is yet another example of the Fieldbus Foundation’s commitment to this usability-focused continuous improvement process. This latest release includes 64-bit Microsoft® Windows support. The full H1 suite of testing tools, including the Automation Toolkit, is now compatible with modern 64-bit testing systems. Utilizing the Automation Toolkit alongside the H1 ITK allows device suppliers to develop and enhance their products easily and rapidly. Updated test cases for various function blocks and transducer blocks are available to maintain compatibility and fix bugs.

The H1 ITK consists of a test engine, communication stack and function block interface card. An excellent tool for troubleshooting and debugging Foundation fieldbus instruments, it includes all hardware and software required to ensure complete device interoperability. By using the H1 ITK, instrument manufacturers can thoroughly test their devices prior to submitting their product for official registration with the Fieldbus Foundation. By ensuring conformance with the Foundation fieldbus specification, developers are able to deliver robust products and enhancements to their users.

The H1 ITK 6.1.1 is available immediately to Fieldbus Foundation members holding active maintenance agreements and for new purchases. For more information, please call the foundation at 512-794-8890 or e-mail To obtain pricing information or download an FAQ, please visit the Tools page on the foundation website at

1 comment:

  1. The second paragraph is great news for end-users.

    The Fieldbus Foundation’s emphasis on usability to make FOUNDATION fieldbus easier to run & maintain is really spot on. Device replacement with a newer revision is one of those tasks which in the past weren’t as easy as it could have been. Over the life cycle of the system older version devices will inevitably be replaced by newer version devices. By now enabling it to be done automatically by software without manual intervention (without touching a computer) is fantastic. It is a great step towards making fieldbus devices as easy, if not easier than, 4-20 mA and on/off devices – yet retaining all the benefits of real-time digital communication over analog:
    I personally believe fieldbus can become easier than 4-20 mA because you don’t have to verify/change device configuration settings like range etc. one by one, but can download the whole device configuration in one go, and the download is error free (another enhancement recently to fieldbus with the “no download list”).

    I can’t help but draw parallels with the developments that have taken place in the world of smart phones. The first generation smart phones came onto the market in 1996, first with web browsing, and soon after with apps, and music etc. but were too hard to use so the acceptance was not great. Then, in 2007, iPhone came along, and perhaps even more importantly, the iTunes and App Store came about. The rest is history...

    FOUNDATION fieldbus is since many years already used in some of the largest refineries, petrochemical complexes, chemical plants, and LNG processing plants around the world, and now also onboard FLNG vessels by energy majors like Reliance, Aramco, Shell, BP, and Chevron etc. With the new usability enhancements I see just about any plant being able to adopt this technology, supported by their run & maintain organization.

    When we introduced FOUNDATION Fieldbus device replacement and commissioning feature without touching the computer in DeltaV v10.3 a few years ago it was extremely well received. No longer was interaction with a computer screen required to replace a FOUNDATION fieldbus device. Device commissioning is faster, and fewer resources are required. DeltaV Process History automatically records the automated commissioning steps for automatic documentation:

    NAMUR NE107 status signals (icons) are another relatively recent development for device diagnostics alarm classification that makes interpretation of device diagnostics and decision making easier. Device diagnostics alarms get routed to the right person; be it the operator to tend the process in case of failure of a critical device, or the maintenance technicians for less severe problems in less critical devices. This enables better scheduling of daily maintenance and turnarounds.

    NE107 was introduced in DeltaV version 12 in parallel with PlantWeb Alerts

    For those plants which already use FOUNDATION fieldbus, it makes sense to upgrade to the latest version software to take advantage of as many of these features as possible.

    I’m looking forward to see more such announcements in the future