Compact Diagnostic Module Minimizes Downtime

April 20, 2016
Tools simplify FOUNDATION™ fieldbus analysis.

Prevention is better than cure, and actionable diagnostics can now avoid unplanned downtime in process applications using FOUNDATIONTM fieldbus. More than a million FOUNDATION fieldbus devices have been installed globally, and many of the early systems had no diagnostics capability for monitoring the physical layer and behavior of networked devices. As the earliest plants using FOUNDATION fieldbus installed over two decades ago age, and newer facilities undergo upgrades, it becomes more critical to have the ability to permanently monitor and immediately respond to any variation in the system.

Phoenix Contact’s Fieldbus Diagnostics Module (FDM) is about the size of a deck of playing cards, comes with global hazardous area approvals and is a simple addition to any FOUNDATION fieldbus system. It comes in two versions: a legacy installation (FB-DIAG/FF/LI) version that fits in any junction box, or an NC (FB-DIAG/FF/NC) module designed to be used with Phoenix Contact’s Device Coupler solutions. The LI module can also be used on the new generation of 6- and 12-spur block couplers. It offers all standard physical layer diagnostics and supports NAMUR NE 107. Installation is easy with just a three-wire connection, and the host system identifies the module at power up.

This state-of-the-art module offers three device management options: Device Type Manager (DTM), Device Description (DD) and Electronic Device Description Language (EDDL). The DTM really makes the unit shine with the enhanced graphical view of diagnostics. Using a DCS or PLC with DTM capability allows the user to derive the greatest benefit. Todd Shadle, Phoenix Contact’s Global Product Manager of Digital Fieldbuses, is proud of the design that has found application in both brown- and greenfield sites. “Much customer input went into the product: the need to avoid extra software license fee expenses and adding additional software. The idea to include a DTM capability in the unit also came from a customer.” Shadle is proudest of the DTM capability that gives customers access to all the information the diagnostics module is monitoring.

Most FOUNDATION fieldbus installations have diagnostics available at the power supply and control equipment in the control room. However, once a problem is identified, most technicians then have to suit up, and prepare for local troubleshooting at the junction box, which can be many hundreds of feet away from the control room, according to Arnold Offner, Strategic Marketing Manager at Phoenix Contact.

Three local LEDs provide a visual health status of the segment, showing power, data, and error status. The module communicates with the host system during unscheduled communication time, and is not part of the control schedule. It allows the plant operator to view the status of the segment where the instruments themselves are connected.

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