IEC OKs WirelessHART

10 October 2008

International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) named WirelessHART Communication Specification (HART 7.1) a Publicly Available Specification (IEC/PAS 62591Ed. 1) on September 19, 2008. For the IEC action, the National Committees of 29 countries participated in the approval ballot. WirelessHART Communication is the first industrial wireless communication technology to achieve this level of international recognition, according to HART Communication Foundation (HCF).

‘WirelessHART Communication fulfils the long-demanded goal of global users for a single wireless communication standard that the major automation suppliers support and that has international status,’ said Ron Helson, HCF executive director. Calling the IEC endorsement ‘landmark recognition’, Helson said users can purchase and implement WirelessHART-based products with confidence equal to what they have with the 26 million HART devices installed globally. HCF released WirelessHART in September 2007, calling it the ‘first open and interoperable wireless communication standard designed to address the critical needs of the process industry for reliable, robust and secure wireless communication in real world industrial plant applications.’ WirelessHART builds on previous standards, including HART Protocol (IEC 61158), EDDL (IEC 61804-3), IEEE 802.15.4, as well as radio and frequency hopping, spread spectrum, and mesh networking technologies.

Acknowledging the importance of broad multi-vendor availability, Emerson Process Management announced today that it is the first of many suppliers to begin shipping open interoperable WirelessHART standard products. Standardisation will support broad adoption, suggested John Berra, president of Emerson Process Management.

Emerson WirelessHART products now shipping include its Smart Wireless range of pressure, flow, level, temperature, vibration, pH, and discrete transmitters and gateways, AMS Suite predictive maintenance and Wireless Snap-On software, 375 Field Communicator, and native wireless interface of DeltaV and Ovation digital systems. The continuous stream of future new products from Emerson will also use the standard, including the soon-to-be-released valve-position transmitter, and Smart Wireless Thum Adapter that will unleash stranded diagnostics in legacy devices.

‘Our customers face increasing challenges of complex production, tougher feedstock, and environmental and safety requirements,’ says Berra. ‘They are urgently seeking more information to increase plant and asset utilisation and performance. Our standard inter-operable smart wireless field networks can deliver the information for step-change improvements while being easy and low cost to deploy.’ HCF and WirelessHART require adherence to HART specifications ensuring backward compatibility, preserving the investment users have in tools, training and knowledge.

Berra says HART 7 wired and wireless technologies will coexist in plants and that wired solutions will continue to dominate safety and critical control applications. He says early applications of WirelessHART include easy and quick upgrades of existing facilities to monitor variables previously out of reach economically or physically. The wireless applications are expanding to include non-critical closed-loop control, and open-loop control with humans in the loop.

‘On the strength of the high reliability and performance of self-organising WirelessHART mesh technology, and the major economic advantages of wireless, we believe WirelessHART technology will account for more than 20per cent of the signals in new plants within five years,’ adds Berra.

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