Foundation Fieldbus Specification Issued For Wired and WirelessHart

Sept. 29, 2011
Preliminary specification is designed to help end users interface Hart and WirelessHart devices to Foundation Fieldbus for improved control system and end device interaction.

"The new transducer block specification will benefit end users who need to interface Hart and WirelessHart devices to FOUNDATION fieldbus to improve their integration with a control system, or with FOUNDATION devices,” says Dave Glanzer, Fieldbus Foundation's director of technology development. The specification also helps in cases where end user may also require “a networked method for an asset-managing host to access a large set of Hart and WirelessHart devices for configuration and maintenance purposes," he adds. 

Key to this specification is its definition of a fieldbus transducer block used to represent Hart devices within FOUNDATION for Remote Operations Management devices. Both wired and WirelessHart devices can be represented in this block. In addition, the specification describes the expected method for Hart configuration tools and asset-managing hosts to access Hart devices using the native Hart command protocol transported through the FOUNDATION High Speed Ethernet (HSE) network. The specification also defines structures to identify and maintain Hart device status in wired multi-drop networks as well as in WirelessHart mesh networks connected to FOUNDATION for Remote Operations Management devices. Within the FOUNDATION architecture, H1 and HSE provide a distributed function block capability with HSE serving as a larger pipeline for increased speed and throughput. The WIO development expands these capabilities by establishing open, non-proprietary specifications for a wired or wireless HSE backhaul network integrating various wireless FOUNDATION for Remote Operations Management devices with interfaces to wireless field device networks. According to the Fieldbus Foundation, HSE enables users to deliver large concentrations of discrete and analog field I/O from modular devices back to the control room. Employing HSE devices functioning like a smart remote terminal unit (RTU), all forms of conventional I/O can be brought into the native fieldbus environment. As a result, discrete-in, discrete-out, analog-in, analog-out and H1 fieldbus can be made available over a common Ethernet network. Other recent news about industry cooperation efforts to make device and network interfacing easier includes:FDI Cooperation LLC Formation Highlights Device Integration CollaborationPartnerships: Newest Interoperability Initiatives for Industrial Automation

News from the automation industry about collaborative efforts to simplify integration of industrial control networks and devices has been rampant lately. The most recent news comes from the Fieldbus Foundation which has issued a FOUNDATION Wireless and Remote I/O (WIO) preliminary specification addressing fieldbus transducer blocks for wired Hart and WirelessHart devices. The new specification also addresses updates to the WIO System Architecture and WIO Data Structures related to the transducer block specification.

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