Fieldbus Foundation Demonstrates SIF Technology At Shell Global Solutions In Amsterdam

03 September 2008

The Fieldbus Foundation says it conducted a successful end user demonstration of its Foundation for Safety Instrumented Functions (SIF) technology at the Shell Global Solutions technology centre in Amsterdam. The meeting attracted process automation end users and equipment suppliers from around the world.

Shell Laboratory demo in Amsterdam
Shell Laboratory demo in Amsterdam

Demonstration attendees heard several leading energy companies describe the implementation of Foundation SIF in a wide range of industrial safety system applications. Representatives of Shell Global Solutions, Amsterdam, Saudi Aramco, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia; BP, Gelsenkirchen, Germany; and Chevron, Houston, gave presentations at the event.

The SIF field demonstration was intended to promote adoption of Foundation-based safety instrumented functions in the process industries.
The project also includes development of SIF best practices and guidelines, as well as training and interoperability test tools for control system and instrumentation manufacturers and end users.

Fieldbus Foundation President and CEO Rich Timoney stated the difference between a Foundation SIF system and a conventional emergency shutdown system is the same as doing a forensic analysis on a patient after he is dead versus performing proactive condition-based monitoring to address problems before death occurs. Advanced diagnostics ensure that many issues can be addressed proactively before the ESD needs to step in and do its job.

He said, "Foundation SIF provides powerful diagnostic capabilities improving a wide range of safety instrumented functions and streamlining device testing requirements. This technology offers new opportunities to optimise asset management initiatives and reduce plant operating expenses."


At the Shell Global Solutions technology laboratory, Foundation SIF demonstration working group members constructed a fieldbus-based safety shutdown system demonstration rig incorporating logic solvers, safety devices, and SIF functions. The purpose of the live demo was to evaluate Foundation fieldbus-enabled safety valves with Partial Stroke Testing (PST) capability, as well as various pressure, level, temperature and diagnostic devices. The demo also evaluated system integration capabilities with asset management and Basic Process Control System (BPCS) platforms.

The demo system itself was comprised of products from several vendors. HIMA provided the logic solver system, while Yokogawa provided the BPCS and plant asset management software. ABB, Endress+Hauser, Magnetrol, Siemens, Smar and Yokogawa provided field instrumentation. Emerson, Metso Automation, and Westlock provided valves. Other suppliers included RuggedCom and Softing.

The demos running at Saudi Aramco, Chevron, and BP included other systems and products from all of the major process automation suppliers.


Audun Gjerde of Shell Global Solutions conducted the live SIF demo at the Amsterdam event. Functions demonstrated included high and low level trips, partial stroke testing of valves, and a partial stroke test that was interrupted by the ESD. The last example showed that even in the middle of a partial stroke test the ESD could successfully take over and shut down the system during an abnormal situation. Two out of three (2oo3) voting was demonstrated using various fieldbus SIF devices. The system also reacted successfully to a loss of temperature probe, as well as a measurement validation alarm and a diagnostic alarm generated from a dry probe on a level device.

According to Mr. Gjerde, the demonstration project sought to have a logic solver fully operable with all available SIF devices, to integrate an asset management system with the SIF devices, and to integrate SIF partial stroke testing/valve stroke testing within a safety system infrastructure.

Mr. Gjerde commented, "By implementing Foundation SIF, Shell expects enhanced diagnostics through a fully integrated asset management system. We also anticipate less testing of final elements thanks to smart testing and diagnostics, as well as online testing and partial stroke testing. This will result in early detection of dangerous device failures-and fewer spurious trips."

He continued, "The added SIF diagnostics will help engineers and maintenance personnel increase the integrity of the plant by ensuring maintenance is performed where and when it is needed. With smart online testing and diagnostics, we will be able to run for longer periods of time without shutting down the plant for testing purposes. We will also save on the cost of adding a second or third device in many cases."


With its industry-proven distributed function blocks and open communications protocol, Foundation fieldbus is an ideal infrastructure for advancing standards-based SIFs. Process industry end users requested the Foundation SIF solution in order to realise the CAPEX (capital expenditure) and OPEX (operational expenditure) benefits of open and interoperable fieldbus technology in their plant safety systems. This technology will enable significant reductions in the users' total cost of ownership by extending fieldbus benefits into plant safety systems.

The Foundation SIF solution meets the rigorous requirements of the IEC 61508 standard for functional safety of electrical, electronic and programmable electronic safety-related systems, up to, and including, Safety Integrity Level (SIL) 3. In addition, end users can build systems per the IEC 61511 standard covering SIF functional safety in the process industries (IEC 61511 is available as the ANSI/ISA-84.00.01-2004 standard).

Completion of the Foundation SIS protocol enables instrumentation suppliers to manufacture fieldbus devices for use in SIFs. Third-party agencies will safety certify these devices, and the Fieldbus Foundation will test and register them for interoperability. End users can apply the requirements specified in the IEC 61511 standard to determine the SIL needed for their particular application, and then select interoperable, safety-certified fieldbus devices from multiple suppliers for use in their safety systems.

The Fieldbus Foundation worked closely with TÜV Rheinland Industrie Service GmbH, Automation, Software and Information Technology, a global, independent and accredited testing agency, to achieve Protocol Type Approval for its SIS specifications. With TÜV Protocol Type Approval, Foundation technology has been extended to provide a comprehensive solution for SIFs in worldwide process plants.


Companies participating in the SIF demonstration working group include: ABB, BIFFI, BP, Chevron, Dresser-Masonelian, Emerson Process Management, Endress+Hauser, Fieldbus Diagnostics, HIMA, Honeywell, Invensys, Magnetrol, Metso Automation, Moore Industries, MTL, Pepperl+Fuchs, Risknowlogy B.V., RuggedCom, Saudi Aramco, Siemens, Shell Global Solutions, Smar, Softing, TopWorx, TÜV Rheinland, TÜV SÜD, Westlock Controls, Yamatake, and Yokogawa.

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