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Honeywell, Yokogawa Release Wireless Products Based on the ISA100 Standard

Author : Michael Babb, Control Engineering Europe

27 June 2010

The two process automation suppliers maintain their efforts are focused on supplying customers with the products they want. End users, they say, have told them they want one wireless networking standard for industrial instrumentation — and that standard is ISA100.11a.

Yokogawa Wireless Team: Joost van Loon, Director Industrial Automation, Penny Chen, PhD, Vice Chairman WCI, Yokogawa Global Marketing, and Henk A. van der Bent, Marketing Manager, Field Networks
Yokogawa Wireless Team: Joost van Loon, Director Industrial Automation, Penny Chen, PhD, Vice Chairman WCI, Yokogawa Global Marketing, and Henk A. van der Bent, Marketing Manager, Field Networks

Within several days in the middle of June 2010, both Honeywell and Yokogawa announced  at their annual user conferences wireless networking products that are fully compliant with the new ISA100.11a standard.

Yokogawa Europe made the announcement at a gathering of European users at its headquarters in Amersfoort, The Netherlands.

“Yokogawa Electric Corporation has developed the world’s first field wireless devices based on the ISA100.11a industrial wireless communications standard, and will release them to the market in July," announced Joost van Loon, Director Industrial Automation.

He said they were expected to “satisfy a wide variety of requirements in the industrial automation field” and that his company would continue to develop various kinds of field wireless devices for both monitoring and control applications. He said Yokogawa was also “proposing the development of new field digital networks that integrate wireless and wired technologies.”

At Honeywell

At nearly the same time in Phoenix, Arizona, USA, at the Honeywell Users’ Group meeting, Norm Gilsdorf, president of Honeywell Process Solutions rolled out OneWireless R200, which he said is “now fully compliant with the ISA100.11a standard.”

Honeywell has had versions of OneWireless on the market for several years but now that the technical details of the ISA100.11a standard are finalised commercial products can be reliably manufactured for sale.

Mr. Gilsdorf said that, depending upon application requirements, “Plants can now design networks that provide either wireless coverage for field instruments only, or coverage for both field instruments and Wi-Fi devices.”

Yokogawa has been working on wireless

Yokogawa announced at its users’ conference two years ago in Barcelona that it was developing wireless products to the ISA100.11a standard. After the standard was approved in Sept. 2009 its engineers could move ahead with developing the actual products.

These include an EJX-B series pressure and differential pressure transmitter, a YTA series temperature transmitter, and an integrated field wireless gateway which connect wireless field devices with a host system and provides a number of wireless network setting and management functions. The instruments are configured with FDT/DTM software.

Yokogawa said it was working with a third party to make an adapter for HART instruments that would capture HART variables and transmit them on the ISA100.11a network.

According to the ISA100.11a standard, sensors can be configured in “mesh” or “star” topology networks. Star networks are the fastest, with one second updates, since the sensors are connected directly to the gateway and don’t have to “hop” from one node to another. They will also likely conserve the most battery power. Yokogawa will add a redundancy feature it calls DuoCast in the next round of enhancements, to provide a fully redundant architecture for star networks.

Mesh networks, on the other hand, may be more reliable in some locations where objects might interfere with signals from some sensors, such as moving objects that may come between sensors or between the sensor and the gateway.

Along with the wireless products, Yokogawa announced it was going to provide a full range of plant services for the design and commissioning of wireless networks in industrial plants. These would include site survey, network design, security design, commissioning, and training.

Yokogawa says it will provide a trial kit that will allow its customers to experience the advantages of wireless products.

One interesting development from Yokogawa is the use of standard D cell batteries to power the ISA100.11a instruments (see photo). The company has designed a battery pack for this purpose and says it will share the design with other vendors, if they are interested. The demonstration made use of Tadiran lithium/thionyl chloride (LTC) inorganic electrolyte battery, which is widely available.

Honeywell: Reduce the engineering work for wireless

Mr. Gilsdorf said that OneWireless R200 introduces features that will reduce the installation and maintenance costs of wireless field instrument networks by up to 50 percent. The features simplify how industrial facilities install and expand their wireless networks and help to maximise field transmitter battery life.

“Many process manufacturers are looking for smaller, tactical wireless networks for specific field instruments, but they also want something that will expand to support more comprehensive, plant-wide wireless solutions,” he said.

“The latest version of OneWireless gives plants freedom to design a network that meets their site requirements both now and in the future. It decreases setup time, as well as the lifecycle costs of their wireless solutions.”

He spoke about the new Field Device Access Point and Wireless Device Manager features that route data from the field, and how plants can take advantage of field instrument routing options that allow creation of “mesh” networks that include ISA100.11a devices from other vendors. 

The Wireless Device Manager, he said, “Gives users a sleek, intuitive, web-based interface that allows process and field instrument engineers with basic IT knowledge to quickly set up their ISA100.11a networks. It reduces time required to commission, monitor and troubleshoot a wireless field instrument network.”

Yokogawa Wireless Panel Answers ISA100.11a Questions

At the launch of Yokogawa’s ISA100.11a products, several members of the team were available to provide answers to questions about the new products and technology.

These were Joost van Loon, Director Industrial Automation, and Henk A. van der Bent, Marketing Manager, Field Networks, both based in The Netherlands, and Penny Chen, PhD, Vice Chairman WCI, Yokogawa Global Marketing, based in the U.S.A.

IN WIRELESS TECHNOLOGY, HOW DOES YOKOGAWA COMPARE TO ITS COMPETITORS?

Joost van Loon: Yokogawa is one of the first companies to launch products to the market based on the ISA100.11a standard. This standard is future-proof and has clear end-user lifecycle benefits.

Yokogawa's wireless gateway and YTA series temperature transmitter,
Yokogawa's wireless gateway and YTA series temperature transmitter,

Interoperability and openness to other solutions are key principles for Yokogawa as the company does not fear competition on a level playing field; Yokogawa can compete on the features and benefits of the products and not on the protocol used.

Foundation Fieldbus and FDT are two good recent examples that demonstrate Yokogawa’s vision and commitment to the industrial automation industry.

WHY IS ONE AND ONLY ONE WIRELESS STANDARD SO IMPORTANT TO YOKOGAWA?

Joost van Loon: A single standard is the preference of users. And Yokogawa has always taken the position that the requirements of users are key to developments and eventually standardisation.

Standardisation in general has many benefits, both to users and vendors. The benefits for users include choices for best-in-class solutions and interoperability between multi-vendor solutions. Benefits for vendors include more effective and focused product developments and reduced production costs.

DO YOU HAVE SOME WIRELESS APPLICATIONS ALREADY IN THE FIELD?

Joost van Loon: There are a variety of applications including rotating equipment, process monitoring, maintenance and operations, now operating and controlling remote sites.

Yokogawa has completed trials in Japan and in the U.S. Wireless operations and asset management have been implemented in large refineries and petrochemical plants.

HOW BIG DO YOU THINK THE MARKET IS FOR WIRELESS APPLICATIONS?

Joost van Loon: We believe that the market volume as a percentage of the current total products business volume may be somewhere between 7–15 percent.

However, there is likely a much larger potential for the ISA100.11a standard as it will provide a future-proof platform for many new applications and solutions, products and services that can start using the new communications standard. Any communication standard that has received full user acceptance so far has created new markets and opportunities. The markets for such new services and solutions may be much larger.

WHAT IS YOKOGAWA’S POSITION ON THE WIRELESS MARKET?

Joost van Loon: We are among the first to launch ISA100.11a based products to the market.

The company has focused in recent years on the sound development of wireless solutions with a key focus on sensor to boardroom, interoperability and a future-proof platform. ISA100.11a is driven by end users, whereas other wireless approaches are vendor driven.

A good example is the development of a battery pack that can be exchanged in the field using COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) batteries.

TELL US ABOUT WCI. WHAT IS IT?

Dr. Penny Chen: The ISA100.11a Wireless Compliance Institute (WCI) is a non-profit industry consortium providing users and developers with market awareness, technical support, and compliance for the ISA100.11a family of universal industrial wireless standards.

The WCI provides real-world feedback from the deployment of ISA100.11a devices and systems to ISA Standards Committees in order to foster rapid refinement and development of open industry standards for wireless applications.

WCI members include end users, technology suppliers, research and development professionals, academia, and other industry consortia and standards bodies. Early members include Apprion, BP, Chevron, Chongqing University of Posts and Telecommunications, ExxonMobil, Fuji Electric, Gastronics, General Electric, Honeywell, Nivis, Proctor and Gamble, R3 Sensors, Shell, Shengyang Institute of Automation, Wilson-Mohr, Yamatake and Yokogawa.

WHAT IS WCI’S VIEW OF ISA100?

Dr. Penny Chen: ISA100 is a family of standards that has thoughtfully been designed by industry experts to meet the growing needs of operators and wireless users in industrial process industries, providing:

1. Uninterrupted communication in the presence of interference in harsh industrial environments;

2. Interoperability with a wide range of communications protocols and devices;

3. Low maintenance with maximised battery life by not requiring field devices to route data between one another;

4. Scalability, supporting a high number of field devices per network gateway;

5. Fast response time from the time data are generated by a field device, to the time the data are viewed; and

6. Coexistence with other wireless networks anticipated in the industrial workspace.

HOW DOES ISA100.11A COMPARE WITH WIRELESSHART?

Dr. Penny Chen: First of all, ISA100.11a is a standard driven by users, not vendors. Many of large end users — BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Proctor and Gamble, and so on — are committee members and have told us what they wanted in the wireless standard. And they voted to approve the standard. So the ISA100.11a instruments we are launching are in response to what they told us they wanted to have.

Secondly, ISA100.11a is a complete and future-proof standard from a technological point of view. It is based on open standards, not proprietary technology. For example, it supports the Internet Engineering Task Force’s (IETF) IPv6 over Low-Power Wireless Personal Area Networks (6LoWPANs). IPv6 device addressing allows thousands of sensors to be included, and it will also make it easier in the future if installations want to migrate towards Internet-based applications. Users have told us they want that in the design.

Yokogawa's solution uses standard D cell size batteries
Yokogawa's solution uses standard D cell size batteries

ISA100.11a is a communications protocol, in the same way as TCP/IP is a communications protocol for the Internet. The beauty of a communications protocol is that it is de-coupled from the physical media below it, and the applications running above it.

ISA100.11a is capable of supporting Fieldbus Foundation, Profibus-PA, and HART running on the application layer. In fact it can support one cluster of instruments running FF, another HART, and so on. It can even support different sensor types (HART, Profibus, etc.) in the same cluster. I’m not saying this is the best way to arrange your application — it may not be — but it’s interesting that ISA100.11a is flexible enough to handle these different situations.

Thirdly, the standard covers the full wireless environment, from sensor level to the boardroom level. At the lower end it uses the IEEE 802.15.4 radio standard for wireless networking. The ISA100.11a standard allows the user to define either a mesh network or star topology for his sensors. A mesh network that does a lot of “hopping” will use up battery life more than the star topology, but it may be more secure. The user has the choice.

And lastly, ISA100.11a current and future functions include monitoring and control, and possibly safety applications. Since it can deal with large systems and multi-protocol networks, it enables efficient management of users’ wireless assets.

WHO IS PUSHING ISA100.11A — THE VENDORS OR THE USERS?

Joost van Loon: ISA100.11a has always been driven by end users. Yokogawa has chosen ISA100.11a — both for this reason and its technological superiority since it is based on proven standards that address the fully wireless solution. It includes sensors, video, personnel tracking, Voice over IP, and RFID tagging.

IS INTEROPERABILITY SECURED ON THE ISA100.11a STANDARD?

Dr. Penny Chen: Interoperability is at the very heart of the ISA100.11a standard because it is driven by end users. WCI has officially launched an interoperability test kit that allows vendors to test the interoperability of their devices.

HOW LONG WILL THE BATTERY LAST IN WIRELESS INSTRUMENTATION?

Henk A. van der Bent: The battery lifetime depends on the usage, frequency of information, and the “mesh network” amount of hopping. The ISA100.11a standard allows users to select to topology for their wireless networks that maximises the lifetime of the battery and also the data throughput for their particular solution. It is the measurement function, not the communications function, that consumes most of the battery power.

CAN CONTROL AND SAFETY APPLICATIONS BE ACHIEVED WITH THE CURRENT TECHNOLOGY?

Dr. Penny Chen: Not yet. The ISA100.11a standard fully supports this goal. Today open-loop control is already possible; in the future supervisory and regulatory control will be executed wirelessly.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS AND ROI WITH WIRELESS APPLICATIONS?

Joost van Loon: Benefits and return on investment (ROI) differ case by case depending on the plant and application characteristics. However, it is already clear that some measurement points that were uneconomical using wired devices will become wireless devices in the future.

From recent project experiences, significant reduction in plant commissioning and start-up times, along with lower field maintenance efforts, have been realised. Meeting environmental regulation and health and safety compliance will also be key drivers for using wireless applications. In addition, a wireless system can capture additional data that might otherwise be missed.

WHAT ABOUT CONVERGENCE (WIRELESSHART AND ISA100.11a): WHAT IS YOKOGAWA’S GOAL?

Dr. Penny Chen: The ISA100.12 working group is working on the subject and Yokogawa is actively involved in this user-driven initiative. Yokogawa is committed to a future-proof industrial automation wireless standard that is driven by end users.

IF END USERS CHOOSE WIRELESSHART AS THE STANDARD, WOULD YOKOGAWA SUPPORT THIS?

Joost van Loon: As a matter of fact, end users are not choosing WirelessHART.

In all Yokogawa’s communications with end users, they have expressed their preference for a single standard, not a specific technology. That is why Yokogawa is committed to ISA100, as it is driven by end users.

Users have stated in the ISA100.12 specification for convergence that there is no need for backward compatibility with WirelessHART as there is no significant installed base today.

WHEN WILL ISA100.11a BECOME AN IEC STANDARD?

Dr. Penny Chen: ISA is working to make ISA100.11a into an international standard. It is expected to pass through ANSI (American National Standards Institute) later this year and be submitted to the IEC for acceptance as an international standard.

WHAT ARE CONSIDERED BY YOKOGAWA AS KEY DEVELOPMENTS FOR THE FUTURE?
 
Joost van Loon: The focus on user requirements continues to be the most important driver. Examples are product portfolio enhancement, redundant gateways and backbone routers for field instruments. We are working on WiFi applications such as cameras, laptops, PDAs, VOIP. These taken together will lead to a total wireless solution including level 3 and 4 integration.



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