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The Fieldbus Foundation’s updated version of its Foundation fieldbus technical specification includes guidance supporting the development of fieldbus devices and host systems.

This applies to systems that employ advanced field diagnostics per the NAMUR NE107 recommendation, and the specification also provides support for the H1 Interoperability Test Kit (ITK) 6.0.

The Fieldbus Foundation’s specifications define the open, non-proprietary Foundation fieldbus protocol.

The technology provides an all-digital, two-way, multi-drop communications link among smart field devices and automation systems.

It serves as the network for instruments used in process automation, and has a built-in capability to distribute the control application across the network.

According to Fieldbus Foundation manager – Fieldbus products – Stephen Mitschke, the latest Foundation fieldbus specification reflects industry demand for, and adoption of, NE107 field diagnostics.

‘Field diagnostics, as implemented in Foundation fieldbus, standardise how today’s intelligent devices communicate – regardless of the vendor,’ Mitschke said.

‘This technology ensures that the right message will be delivered to the right person in the plant, at the right time,’ he added.

‘Operators, engineers and technicians not only receive detailed information, but it is provided in a categorised manner that makes data easier to assess and act upon,’ he said.

‘The updated specification also defines the minimum requirements for testing of hosts employing Foundation for Safety Instrumented Functions, which is an ideal platform for advancing standards-based solutions for plant SIFs,’ Mitschke added.

‘FF-SIF enables process end users to realise significant reductions in their total cost of ownership by extending fieldbus benefits into plant safety systems,’ he concluded.

Foundation fieldbus Specification Version 2010.1 includes updates to the CFF Specification (FF-103) and Function Block Specification (FF- 890, FF-891 and FF-892) to reflect changes implemented in the Interoperability Test Kit (ITK) 6.0.

This includes support for required field diagnostics capabilities, which standardise how all fieldbus devices communicate their diagnostic data to process control and asset management systems.

The test kit will also employ an all-new, intuitive user interface.

Additional ITK 6.0 features will include: support for testing custom profiled function blocks, software components built with VC9 and compatibility with the USB interface hardware available from National Instruments; updates to the host profile specification (FF-569), which include new FF-SIF host test requirements, as well as B host profile support for all newly registered fieldbus hosts.

Host features that have gone from optional to mandatory with the new ‘B’ host profiles include: configuration and access to field diagnostics, block instantiation, multiple capability levels, enhanced function blocks, profiled custom function blocks, configuration of scheduled control function blocks and DD v5.1 device-level access.

Support for NE107 field diagnostics is required as part of the second phase of host testing and registration.

Extras: addition of a block instantiation and capability levels application note (AN-008 providing guidelines to host and device vendors on how to handle system interoperability considerations; update of the Foundation fieldbus AG-181 System Engineering Guidelines to Version 3.1, which provides the definition of the design, specification, installation, configuration and commissioning for Foundation fieldbus-based control systems.

Fieldbus Foundation members purchasing or renewing a specification maintenance agreement will be able to download a complete copy of the Foundation fieldbus H1 and HSE specifications, including all updates to these specifications from the Fieldbus Forums.

Fieldbus Foundation

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