Manufacturing AUTOMATION

Fieldbus Foundation celebrates 20 years

April 8, 2014
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

The Fieldbus Foundation, conducting a press briefing at the Hannover Fair on Monday, commemorated its 20th anniversary.
As a not-for-profit trade organization dedicated to fieldbus technology, the foundation led the effort to develop an open, interoperable, international fieldbus protocol. The resulting technology — Foundation fieldbus — changed the face of industrial automation.

With headquarters in Austin, Texas, the Fieldbus Foundation represents more than 200 process industry companies, their subsidiaries and affiliates across the globe. Members include almost all major suppliers of control systems and instrumentation, as well as many of the world’s largest end users of plant automation technology. The foundation’s technology, Foundation fieldbus, is an all-digital, two-way communications system that interconnects field equipment on a single network. It is intended for use in mission-critical plant automation environments where the proper transfer and handling of data, and control loop integrity, are essential.

Fieldbus Foundation president and CEO Richard Timoney reflected on the many significant fieldbus technology milestones since 1994 at the conference.

“The foundation and its members have made remarkable progress over the last two decades,” said Timoney. “Each year, Foundation fieldbus experiences an accelerating rate of global adoption, with major installations throughout the oil and gas, petrochemical, power, paper, pharmaceutical and consumer goods industries. Our members report sales of fieldbus-based products are now a significant portion of their overall business activity.”

Timoney continued: “End users understand that Foundation fieldbus is an automation infrastructure that makes it possible to view plant operations in high definition; manage information effectively; and optimize people, processes and technology. In particular, it enables a new level of asset management effectiveness that can reduce operating costs and support operational excellence.”

To date, the Fieldbus Foundation has tested and registered 577 unique fieldbus products, with more than 150 communication stacks and 900 devices registered. Approximately two million field devices are now in service, with more than 20,000 systems installed worldwide. Device and host test tools evolve to reflect the ongoing technical developments to the Foundation specifications.

Based on the most recent market data compiled in 2011, Foundation fieldbus accounted for approximately 74 per cent of the total process fieldbus market. Total sales were $1.3 billion US and growing faster than the overall total fieldbus market.

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