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Field device information anytime and anywhere

27 June 2016

Control Engineering Europe finds out more about the benefits of HART-IP, the HART protocol rendered over Ethernet.

Ethernet is a simple and well understood communication interface. This makes access to the measurement devices simple, convenient and immediate. Users can access HART measurement devices using Windows-based laptop or tablet from anywhere – in the field or from a remote location. The Windows device accesses the HART Multiplexer or WirelessHART Gateway through its web interface or IP address.

The HART Protocol now includes a specification for the transmission of HART data over the Common Internet Protocol using either Transmission Communication Protocol (TCP) or User Datagram Protocol (UDP). HART-IP offers a straightforward way to access all the HART information available in a HART device and allows that information to be brought up to the enterprise level without the need to go through any translation processes and with no loss of information.

Put simply, HART-IP is the HART protocol rendered over Ethernet. Its addition to HART-IP to HART applications provides a quick and easy way to configure, monitor and diagnose HART devices on WirelessHART networks or HART-IP compatible multiplexes from wherever you have Ethernet access.

The industry standard plant Ethernet network supports many protocols to eliminate the need for a dedicated network. Devices can pick out the messages meant for them and disregard all the rest. When different devices communicate the same protocol, they set up seamless communication using this industry standard.

Because the application layer is the same for HART field devices as HART-IP, time consuming and error-prone data mapping (using Modbus RTU or TCP/IP) is eliminated.

Because it is independent of the underlying media, it is able to utilise system designs using redundant Ethernet media as well as mesh or ring topologies. Similarly, HART-IP can run over Power over Ethernet (PoE) for such infrastructure and devices. Various speeds like 10 Mbit/s, 100 Mbit/s, and 1 Gbit/s etc. are supported.

A HART-enabled system can also use standard HART commands to access HART information from devices connected to it using a HART- IP enabled multiplexer, I/O or WirelessHART Gateway. This is done by connecting the system and the HART-IP-enabled device using the installed plant IP infrastructure. Again, mapping of Modbus registers and other tasks are eliminated.

Once connected to the HART enabled gateway, the network topology will be displayed by the HART-IP capable host. The user then selects the device of interest. For Device Descriptor (DD) enabled HART Communicators, the proper DD is then automatically loaded. The user can then view all the HART device parameters, make edits, and get device status information.

This can also be done wirelessly if the plant has a Wi-Fi network in place. HART-IP device access removes the need to go onto the plant floor to view or change the configuration of a device. This provides significant time and cost savings and improved safety.

Another benefit of using HART-IP is that no HART modem is required – just standard Ethernet access from standard switches to the WirelessHART Gateway or HART enabled multiplexer - also saving more money.

The HART-IP enabled DevCom2000 Smart Device Communicator application available from ProComSol, it is possible to perform complete HART device configuration and diagnostics from a PC from anywhere with an Ethernet connection to a gateway or other HART-data concentrator.

ProComSol has been providing HART communication products for over 10 years, and is an active member of the FieldComm Group. It provides full DD based HART Communicators for both Windows and Android devices. HART-IP support is included for the Windows products with Android support coming soon.

Process companies will certainly be using more network-related products, multiplexers and multidrop connections, for on-line interaction with their HART devices in the future. The digital communication capability of HART ensures that device information can be linked remotely to other digital networks to become part of the Industrial Internet of Things.


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