Foundation Fieldbus gets Safety Approval

Feb. 1, 2006
The Fieldbus Foundation ( has announced that TÜV Anlagentechnik GmbH, Automation, Software and Information Technology (, a global, independent and accredited testing agency, has granted Protocol Type Approval for the Fieldbus Foundation Safety Instrumented Systems specifications.

The specifications are in compliance with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 61508 standard (functional safety of electrical/electronic/programmable electronic safety-related systems) requirements up to, and including, Safety Integrity Level 3 (SIL 3).

With the TÜV Protocol Type Approval, Foundation Fieldbus technology has been extended to provide a comprehensive solution for Safety Instrumented Systems in a wide range of industrial plant applications. The specifications enable manufacturers to build Foundation Fieldbus devices in compliance with IEC 61508. Third-party test agencies such as TÜV will certify that these devices are suitable for use in safety instrumented systems. End-users will be able to choose devices meeting the requirements of IEC 61511 (Functional Safety: Safety Instrumented Systems for the Process Industry Sector) from multiple suppliers, instead of being restricted to devices designed specifically for a proprietary safety system platform. IEC 61511 is also available as an ANSI/ISA Standard: ANSI/ISA-84.00.01-2004, promulgated by the American National Standards Institute and the Instrumentation, Systems and Automation Society.

The Safety Instrumented System project was initiated by end-users and approved by the Fieldbus Foundation’s board of directors in October 2002. Companies participating in the project include: ABB, BP, Chevron, Cooper Crouse-Hinds GmbH, DuPont, Emerson Process Management, E+H Process Solutions, ExxonMobil, Fieldbus Diagnostics, Fieldbus Inc., Flowserve, HIMA, Hirshmann, Honeywell, ICE-Pros Inc., Invensys/Triconex, Magnetrol, Metso Automation, MTL, Relcom, R&M Industrieservice, Rockwell Automation, Rotork Control Systems, Saudi Aramco, Shell Global Solutions, Smar, Softing, TopWorx, TÜV, Tyco/Westlock and Yokogawa.

The development team achieved its first major milestone at the end of 2003 with TÜV approval of the overall system concept. The development team met with external experts at a meeting hosted by Shell Global Solutions, in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, in March 2004, to review the initial specifications. Comments from this review were resolved and the management team developed the top-level project plan for laboratory validation testing.

During the lab test phase, conducted at the R&M Industrieservice facility in Frankfurt, Germany, each prototype supplier independently implemented the foundation’s safety instrumented systems specifications. In parallel, the test team separately developed test cases and prepared expected test results.

Critical systems

According to the Fieldbus Foundation’s director of technology development, David A. Glanzer, extensive laboratory testing and application analysis has verified that the Foundation’s safety instrumented systems technology meets the needs of industrial end-users, who regard these systems as critical to their overall plant operating strategy.

“TÜV Type Approval will help meet the growing worldwide demand for commercial, standards-based, safety instrumented system products incorporating Foundation Fieldbus technology,” said Glanzer. “End-users can now adopt the powerful diagnostics available with Foundation Fieldbus, and at the same time, maintain the protection in a SIL 3 environment. No changes were required to the existing H1 protocol to add the safety instrumented systems protocol extensions, clearly indicating the value of the comprehensive, forward-thinking design of Foundation technology.”

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