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The Fieldbus Foundation has registered the first Foundation fieldbus devices incorporating advanced field diagnostics technology to optimise plant asset management programmes.

The registration requirements help to standardise how fieldbus devices communicate their diagnostic data to the host and asset management tools within a plant automation system.

Advances in field diagnostics support a structured approach to asset management, which simplifies plant operators’ tasks and increases their confidence in utilising equipment diagnostics and asset software.

This, in turn, will enable improved process performance, greater reliability, increased uptime and lower operating costs.

Yokogawa (field indicator) and Fluid Components International (thermal mass flowmeter) are the first Foundation fieldbus H1 (31.25kbit/s) device suppliers to pass the field diagnostics registration process.

Using Foundation fieldbus and considering the Namur NE107 recommendations, the Fieldbus Foundation developed a profiles specification enhancing the organisation and integration of device diagnostics within Foundation fieldbus systems.

The diagnostic profile includes a standard and open interface for reporting all device alarm conditions, and provides a means of categorising alert conditions by severity.

The technology facilitates routing of alerts to appropriate consoles based on user-selectable severity categories.

In addition, it provides recommended corrective actions and detailed help, as well as an indication of the overall health of the device.

The Foundation fieldbus Diagnostics Profile Specification (FF-912) was defined to allow any Electronic Device Description (EDD)-based system to access and configure the diagnostics in fieldbus devices.

The field diagnostics profile makes no changes to the existing Foundation fieldbus stack specifications.

However, the profile does introduce a new field diagnostic alert type.

System updates will provide more extensive integration capabilities (such as Wizards for configuration) that will enhance diagnostics performance.

Rather than introduce significant changes to the current Foundation protocol, the diagnostic profile specification builds upon the existing diagnostic capabilities of Foundation fieldbus equipment, and at the same time adds a greater degree of organisation so field instruments can represent their diagnostics in a more consistent way.

Foundation fieldbus devices submitted for field diagnostics registration must pass Interoperability Test Kit (ITK) test cases, which exercise the bit alerts generated for fail alarms, check alarms, off-specification alarms, and maintenance alarms.

Devices also must support multi-bit alert reporting, as well as the new alert object designed for field diagnostic alarms.

In addition, they must support new field diagnostics parameters in the resource block.

Yokogawa’s registered field indicator offers the standard functions of a field indicator, but also PID function block, link master, and software download capabilities.

It enables users to switch and display up to 16 indicated values for Foundation fieldbus devices.

To complex operation is needed in the field in order to observe the indicated values.

A self-diagnostic function based on the Namur NE107 standard detects failures in the ambient temperature limit, communications, and hardware such as the LCD and amplifier assembly.

Fluid Components International’s registered thermal mass gas flowmeter is industrial process and plant-grade suitable for all air and gas flow measurement applications.

It provides direct gas mass flow measurements, including flow rate, totalised flow and temperature; specialised versions also include pressure measurement.

The meter has no moving parts to clean or maintain, and is offered in a variety of process connections.

The electronics/transmitter can be integrally mounted with the flow sensor or remote mounted up to 1,000ft (300m) from the sensor element.

Fieldbus Foundation

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