HART Device Configuration Goes Really Mobile

Nov. 15, 2014
HART communication technology combined with digital valve controllers, flowmeters and other analytical transmitters can make control-valve maintenance and configuration much easier. Now, HART device management has gotten even easier with a HART communicator app for Android smartphones.

Managing the feed water and boilers in an industrial plant is often easier with the use of multivariable HART communication in conjunction with digital valve controllers, flowmeters and other analytical transmitters. Without HART, valve removal or replacement is a pain, because verifying the open/closed condition of a control valve requires limit switches to be retrofitted to the valve body. But even with HART, device configuration and management can be a chore. PC-based HART communicators lighten the load by replacing the heavy, expensive and specialized communicators of old with a multifunction laptop loaded with special software. ProComSol has introduced an Android smartphone app that takes portability and convenience to another level.

DevComDroid is the first Android-based Smart Device Communicator application for HART instruments. Combined with a Bluetooth HART modem, the app is a full-function HART Communicator. It uses the Device Descriptor (DD) for the connected HART device so the user has full access to every parameter and method.

“The entire DD Library from the HART Communication Foundation also is included, and new DDs can be added very simply by the user,” says Jeffrey Dobos, president of ProComSol. A HART communicator that uses DDs allows for the full configuration of valves, multi-variable devices and complex devices such as radar-level and Coriolis flowmeters, he explains.

“The Bluetooth wireless interface between the HART modem and Android device provides user safety and comfort, because there are no wires to tangle or trip over,” adds Dobos. “Everyone is familiar with the convenience and power of smartphones in their daily life. This same power and convenience can now be applied to HART device functions in the plant. With just a few swipes of your finger, on hardware that fits in your pocket, full HART device configuration is available. And saving and sharing HART device configurations is faster and more convenient.”

The $800 app allows the user to view and edit device parameters and even save all the device parameters as a PDF file. The PDF file can then be shared with anyone in the world via the mobile network connections in the Android device.

The app is a logical extension of ProComSol's line of PC-based HART communication products for the process control marketplace. The company’s Com-Tablet-R package, for example, marries up the company’s Bluetooth HART modem and DevCom2000 Smart Device Communicator software with a ruggedized Android tablet PC. Release 4.9c of the DevCom2000 software adds HART-IP functionality, which provides an easy way to configure and monitor HART devices on WirelessHART networks.

“Full DD access means the user does not need to go into the plant to view or change the configuration of a device connected to the WirelessHART network. No modem is required, just Ethernet access to the WirelessHART Gateway,” says Dobos.

One control systems integrator whose main expertise is PLC programming and field commissioning uses Procomsol’s PC-based HART Communicator product on his laptop to perform field commissioning around the world. “I have to lug around cables, tools, laptops, etc., and the DevCom2000 software and HART modem work out well for me when I do checks from devices back to the PLC,” he said. “Since traveling with tools and equipment by airline is a hassle these days, this system has filled a big void without requiring additional baggage. It has been one of the best field service aids that I have purchased.”

The added mobility and connectivity of an Android smartphone may mean guys like him will have even less to carry around in the future.

For more information on this and other Industrial Mobile apps, visit Automation World’s Guide to Industrial Mobility.

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