Fieldbus rejoices in 2007 successes

27 February 2008

The Fieldbus Foundation celebrated a 68 per cent market share, in the process industries, at its recent Annual General Assembly in Antwerp, Belgium. According to the ARC Advisory Group, Foundation fieldbus is now ‘mainstream’. The research firm also predicted a continued double-digit growth rate for the technology.

Technology developments and growing industry adoption marked a busy year
Technology developments and growing industry adoption marked a busy year

At its 2008 General Assembly, themed ‘Why Foundation has become The standard,’ the Fieldbus Foundation cited progress on many key technology initiatives benefiting the automation industry. For example, the Foundation for Safety Instrumented Functions (SIF) development, which has achieved TÜV Type Approval, is hoped to help meet the growing global demand for commercial, standards-based safety instrumentation incorporating Foundation fieldbus. The foundation’s SIF working group will conduct a series of technology demonstrations at end user sites around the world, including Shell Global Solutions, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Saudi Aramco, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia; BP, Gelsenkirchen, Germany; and Chevron, Houston, Texas, USA.

The Fieldbus Foundation also joined the HART Communication Foundation and Profibus Nutzerorganisation e.V. (PNO) in a co-operative effort to develop a specification for a common interface to a wireless gateway. The intent of this collaboration is to facilitate full, scalable integration of both wired and wireless technology in industrial automation.

The foundation accelerated its work defining the structure for interfacing remote I/O over its High Speed Ethernet (HSE) control backbone. The addition of remote I/O further tightens the integration of process instrumentation within the Foundation system solution.

It also announced the availability of new temperature transducer block and H1 cable test specifications. The specifications include features enabling automation equipment suppliers to further improve the interoperability and reliability of their registered Foundation fieldbus products.

The Fieldbus Foundation’s board of directors mandated rigorous host testing, which is designed to strengthen fieldbus interoperability and system integration. Under the new host registration program, hosts successfully completing the test requirements will be authorised to bear the official Foundation product registration symbol.

Additionally, a new Fieldbus Foundation End User Council (EUC) was launched in India to support the huge demand for fieldbus-based systems. An inaugural Foundation fieldbus seminar held in Mumbai, India, attracted over 300 automation end users. The organisation also announced the establishment of marketing committees in India, Brazil, Mexico, Norway, Commonwealth of Independent States and Baltics (CIS&B), Sweden and South Africa. These groups are made up of representatives of leading process automation companies in the regions.

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