WirelessHart Gathers Momentum

Recent IEC approval of WirelessHart as an international standard, along with announcement of new products from Siemens, keeps the WirelessHart bandwagon rolling.

Momentum continues to build behind the WirelessHart standard for wireless communication in process automation, as evidenced by two recent announcements.

The Hart Communication Foundation (HCF, www.hartcomm.org announced on April 6 that that the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) has approved the WirelessHart specification as a full international standard (IEC 62591Ed. 1.0). That word came following a March 25 announcement by Siemens Industry Inc. (www.sea.siemens.com), the Alpharetta, Ga.-based automation supplier, that it is introducing a new family of WirelessHart products for the U.S. market.

Siemens said the new family includes two transmitters. The Sitrans P280 transmitter for pressure measurement and the Sitrans TF280 transmitter for temperature both have a WirelessHart interface. Additionally, all other Siemens process instruments without WirelessHart interfaces can be integrated into WirelessHart communication with the new Sitrans AW200 adapter, the company said.

Vendor support

Released in September 2007, WirelessHart is an open and interoperable wireless communication standard designed to address the critical needs of industry for reliable, robust and secure wireless communication in real-time industrial process measurement and control applications. The Siemens announcement adds another major company to a growing list of suppliers that have introduced WirelessHart-compatible products, including ABB, Emerson Process Management, Endress+Hauser and Pepperl+Fuchs.

Another process-oriented wireless standard, the International Society of Automation’s ISA100.11a, continues to trail WirelessHart in the adoption cycle. Following its approval in September 2009 by the ISA100 Industrial Wireless Standards Committee, ISA100.11a has so far failed to gain approval from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) due to procedural issues.

The ISA100.11a standard has major backing from Honeywell Process Solutions (http://hpsweb.honeywell.com), the Phoenix-based automation vendor. And according to a Web site launched recently by the ISA100 Wireless Compliance Institute (WCI), “many vendors are currently developing products that follow the standard with the first certified products expected in 2010.” WCI-accredited test labs will be certified and able to perform device conformance tests for ISA100.11a in June 2010, the organization says.

Unanimous

According to the HCF, the unanimous March 26 vote approving WirelessHart by the IEC National Committees of 28 countries confirms the broad global support for WirelessHart technology as the international standard for wireless communication in process automation.

“The overwhelming approval by IEC fulfills the request of users for a single international wireless communication standard that is supported by major automation suppliers,” said HCF Executive Director Ron Helson. “WirelessHart technology has been confirmed by both users and suppliers to be a technically sound, reliable and secure solution for wireless communication in process automation.”

Hart Communication Foundation
www.hartcomm.org

Honeywell Process Solutions
http://hpsweb.honeywell.com

Siemens Industry Inc.
www.sea.siemens.com

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