The Fieldbus Foundation today announced approval of a backhaul architecture model, developed in collaboration with International Society of Automation standards committee ISA100 that provides a common framework enabling multiple industrial communication protocols to run over a shared wireless backhaul network in process automation systems. Completion of this work is a key milestone supporting implementation of the Fieldbus Foundation's wireless High Speed Ethernet (HSE) backhaul included in FOUNDATION for Remote Operations Management (ROM) technology. In June 2008, ISA100 leaders established a new working group, ISA100.15—Wireless Backhaul Networks Working Group—to develop standards and technical reports to address one or more dedicated or shared wireless backhaul(s) to support technologies running multiple applications. At the same time, Fieldbus Foundation end user members identified the wireless backhaul as critical for FOUNDATION for ROM development. To expedite the work, the Fieldbus Foundation and ISA began joint collaboration on wireless networks combining Fieldbus Foundation application protocol expertise with ISA100 communication networking resources to complete the architecture model. ISA will publish the work as technical report ISA-TR100.15.01, Backhaul Architecture Model: Secured Connectivity over Untrusted or Trusted Networks, within the ISA100 family of standards. Dr. Penny Chen, principal systems architect with Yokogawa and co-chair of the ISA100.15 working group, praised the results of the wireless backhaul collaborative effort. "Working together, dedicated engineers have a developed a solution meeting industry requirements for a wireless backhaul transport network to facilitate interoperability, end-to-end security, and end-to-end quality of service in industrial wireless installations," Dr. Chen said. Dave Glanzer, Fieldbus Foundation director of technology development and co-chair of the working group commented, "The Fieldbus Foundation has consistently supported wireless advancements, and this joint initiative is crucial to FOUNDATION for ROM. Our ROM solution extends the capabilities of FOUNDATION fieldbus to countless wired and wireless devices installed in some of the world’s harshest and most remote locations. It provides a unified digital infrastructure for asset management in applications ranging from tank farms and terminals to pipelines, offshore platforms, and even OEM skids." According to Glanzer, plans are underway for a series of field demonstrations using the FOUNDATION for ROM wireless HSE backhaul. Major end users hosting the demonstrations include Reliance Industries (India), Petrobras (Brazil) and Saudi Aramco (Saudi Arabia). Additional end user sites in Japan and Europe are expected to join the program. The field demos will offer a look at the full functionality of FOUNDATION for ROM, including wireless device integration, remote I/O integration, and wireless backhaul capabilities.
The market for industrial wireless devices is growing rapidly, and a new report from Frost & Sullivan suggests the technology will soon be a critical part of plant optimization processes. The report, Analysis of Wireless Devices in European Industrial Automation Market, finds that the market earned revenues of $218.0 million in 2011 and estimates this to reach $539.5 million in 2016. "Wireless devices reduce maintenance costs, boost productivity and improve quality of production," said Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Anna Mazurek in a statement. "At the same time, initial implementation does not require vast restructuring or expensive machinery replacement. This combination of plant optimization, quick return on investment and easy installation is highlighting the benefits of industrial wireless automation." The study found that industrial wireless devices optimize the working of plant equipment through better asset allocation and monitoring machine health. They support plant staff with constant data access and easy communication. Constant and instant access to real-time data also supports enhanced operational flexibility and mobility. However, the perception of wireless devices as a non-critical improvement threatens to limit penetration levels. The technology provides end users with connections that are often already covered by wires and likely to last another decade. Moreover, plant managers do not yet perceive wireless technology as the harbinger of significant production process improvements. "End users need to realize that wireless technology not only replaces wires but has the potential to reshape and optimize production process," said Mazurek. "Vendor efforts to promote the technology have fallen short, particularly among the more reluctant potential wireless adopters." Wireless devices manufacturers need to educate end users not only about basic technological features, but also on the full range of usage benefits and opportunities offered by wireless communication. "Most importantly, end users will need to be educated on how the technology can be tailored to address their particular needs," said Mazurek. "The market needs another four to five years of pilot applications and technology trials to address all pending concerns about the technology performance and convince end users on the advantages of deploying industrial wireless devices."
The Fieldbus Foundation has released a major revision to its AG-181 System Engineering Guidelines. AG-181 is a comprehensive guide that includes best practices and recommendations for a complete FOUNDATION fieldbus installation, from engineering and design through commissioning, startup, operations, and maintenance. The guide includes recommendations on topics from selecting cable to wiring installation, grounding, implementing plant asset management systems, and best practices for project management.The new edition of AG-181 has been reformatted and reorganized to make it easier to read and access information. Some content has been rewritten to include more up-to-date information. This includes sections covering the Fieldbus Intrinsically Safe Concept (FISCO) fieldbus design rules, cable length, surge protection and segment scheduling. A section on the use of existing wiring has also been added.According to Larry O'Brien, global marketing manager for the Fieldbus Foundation, the FOUNDATION fieldbus System Engineering Guidelines is "one of the automation industry's best-kept secrets" that belongs in the library of almost every process control engineer. It is a highly valuable resource for the growing number of end users, system integrators and engineering firms involved in the implementation of FOUNDATION fieldbus."One of the things we try to do at the Fieldbus Foundation is put information into the hands of those who need it around the world. We want people to become proficient in the use of our technology, from engineering and design to installation, maintenance, and operations," said O’Brien in a statement. "Our System Engineering Guidelines document contains the distilled wisdom of many of the world's leading fieldbus technology experts, from those in the engineering and construction world to end users, systems integrators, educators, and suppliers. It offers many good pointers on how to do your fieldbus project right the first time, and is an essential part of the toolbox of any FOUNDATION fieldbus professional. If you already have the older version, the latest update will look more streamlined and contains several new sections, as well as rewrites of old sections."The FOUNDATION fieldbus System Engineering Guidelines is separated into 11 sections, each covering different aspects of the fieldbus project lifecycle. Specific topics include: General Considerations, Fieldbus Definitions, Fieldbus Project Requirements, Host System Requirements, Software Configuration, Field Device Requirements, Segment Components, Network/Segment Design Guidelines, Site Installation Guidelines, Acceptance Testing, and Documentation Requirements.O'Brien indicated that the FOUNDATION fieldbus System Engineering Guidelines provides accurate and current fieldbus information in a vendor-neutral format, and is revised periodically to reflect changes to FOUNDATION technology. He said, "There is no better guide to implementing FOUNDATION fieldbus available today."To obtain the FOUNDATION fieldbus System Engineering Guidelines (Document Reference No. AG-181), visit the Fieldbus Foundation's Technical References page under the End User Resources section on www.fieldbus.org. The document can be downloaded in PDF format.
The Fieldbus Foundation today announced registration of the first isolated device couplers based on its FOUNDATION H1 (31.25 kbit/s) device coupler test specification. Devices from MTL and R. Stahl successfully completed the foundation's rigorous registration process. As part of a FOUNDATION fieldbus infrastructure, isolated device couplers are installed where the fieldbus trunk (i.e., home run cable) is connected to the various device spurs. Isolated device couplers are specifically designed to allow automation end users to connect more devices per coupler while permitting live segment work in hazardous plant areas. These couplers provide isolated, conditioned power to multiple fieldbus devices and protect against short circuits caused by excess current in a spur. By enabling more devices per segment, they also help reduce controller input/output (I/O) points and associated installation costs.MTL's 9370-FB Series Fieldbus Barrier provides a range of complete integrated enclosure systems, instead of stand-alone barrier modules. All internal components are live pluggable, meaning that field maintenance can be carried out quickly and safely. Surge protection devices for the trunk and spurs can be easily fitted without requiring product re-design. The product series includes 6- and 12-spur versions in stainless steel or GRP enclosures, as well as a redundant option enabling improved system availability in critical fieldbus networks.R. Stahl's Series 9411/21 and 9411/24 isolated device couplers are suitable for use in Zone 1, Zone 2 and U.S. Division 2, and are available with plastic or stainless steel housings that can be tailored to fit customer requirements. The series also includes a unique power management feature: during the start-up of a fieldbus segment, the spurs energize one after the other. This reduces the inrush current on a segment by up to 50 percent, requiring less spare energy and making longer segment lengths possible.The Fieldbus Foundation's Stephen Mitschke, director-fieldbus products, commented, "The device coupler test specification provides a high level of robustness in fieldbus systems. And recent enhancements to the FOUNDATION fieldbus physical layer specifications provide end users with greater confidence that registered fieldbus equipment can be employed in a tightly integrated, interoperable control system architecture that is well suited to the most demanding industrial environments," Mitschke said.
The prospect of adding wireless devices to the process automation architecture is a compelling one from the perspective of tangible business benefits and incremental operational improvements. Availability of robust industrial wireless network protocols, such as WirelessHART and ISA100.11a, for use with IEEE standard technology makes the prospect even more attractive relative to past proprietary, often standalone wireless implementations. This potential is somewhat offset, however, by competition between these standards that leads customers to fear that wireless is emerging as the next platform for the automation fieldbus wars.
Virus problems in the office network are merely inconvenient when compared to expensive virus disruptions and unwanted data traffic in a production network. In order to minimize the risk of disturbances and production downtime caused by unauthorized access or malware, one leading manufacturer decided to implement greater security precautions.
With flexibility, cost savings and user-friendly characteristics, wireless technologies today can be seen in many applications and industries. One more recent arrival to the wireless scene is the automotive factory floor.
Honeywell's Limitless WDRR Wireless Din-Rail Receiver for industrial, construction, machine, material handling and heavy transportation applications, is a din-rail or panel-mountable receiver designed to receive wireless signals from up to 14 different position-sensing switches, and communicate the individual switch status to a PLC or any controllers capable of receiving NPN/PNP inputs. The Limitless wireless network includes the WDRR and WPMM receivers, and the WLS and WGLA limit switches; uses the global, license-free RF wireless 802.15.4 WPAN protocol; provides up to a 305 m (1000 ft) line-of-sight communication range; and prolongs battery life with advanced power management technology, the company says. www.honeywellnow.com
Is wireless better than a wired network? The answer is no; it's different. A plethora of wireless technologies exists to suit a variety of users. Is it for every application? No. But for many, wireless can be more flexible, versatile and cost effective than wired networks. Yet, questions regarding security, reliability and capacity of wireless continue to prevent conservative end users from reaping its benefits. Can these be overcome?
Manufacturing is an industry with complex operations, where the success of any organization lies in producing high quality products at lower costs at the right time. This requires companies to enable real-time visibility into operations at the plant floor and executive levels to make intelligent decisions. The Aberdeen Group, in collaboration with Manufacturing AUTOMATION, surveyed more than 150 executives to understand how industry leaders are taking advantage of industrial networking to enable real-time visibility into data to optimize production, maintenance and safety. Below are highlights from the survey.
More than 10 years ago, an automotive customer asked us to develop an RFID system that not only controlled part of the manufacturing process, but also reported data to their production control system. While interfacing with the local machinery was done using serial communication, all data transactions with production control utilized the plant's Ethernet system. The challenge was that there was not a suitable transaction protocol available, which meant that we had to define our own language to transmit the necessary information via TCP/IP, the Ethernet-based transport mechanism available at that time.
Emerson Process Management's Smart Wireless technology saved Atlas Pipeline - Westex an estimated $725,000 US in installation costs and improved production efficiency at Atlas' Benedum natural gas processing facility near Midkiff, Texas.
Mark Jarman, president of wireless sensor networks provider Inovonics, recently outlined major trends for wireless security systems for 2011. "People and assets are mobile, so security needs to be as well. People are 'connected' thanks to mobile devices, so they can stay linked to their security and data systems in real time," he explained. "When security is mobile, you need to be able to track it. People and assets are increasingly mobile, so Real Time Location Solutions (RTLS) will become increasingly important." Jarman's additional top predictions for 2011 include: 1. Integration of access control panels, video management systems and alarm sensors with IP-based security solutions will increase substantially. Jarman said there is a convergence that's been taking place in the security world with manufacturers of access control panels and video management systems integrating their systems into a cohesive IP-based solution. In 2011, development of IP-based specifications to achieve system-wide interoperability of IP security devices will accelerate and will soon become reality, forcing vendors to shift their product strategies to comply with the new requirements. 2. Location and situational awareness in conjunction with mobile security capabilities will become a key requirement of campus-wide security systems. Today, security guards are mobile and have smart phones or two-way radios driving the growing trend toward mobility. With an increasing number of security persons and human assets mobile these days, knowing where they are within a building or campus setting when they activate a duress alarm, such as a pendant, is mission critical. Then notifying others within that same environment via an integrated, easy-to-deploy and use mass notification system ensures they will get out of harm's way quickly and safely. 3. Wireless sensor networks in commercial settings will continue to gain traction against traditional hard-wired solutions due to their ease in extending monitored sensor types, speed of installation, cost savings and mobility, as well as overall reliability. Altogether, this will improve the tangible ROI property owners expect. Increasingly, security dealers and directors are leveraging wireless throughout their organizations for these reasons, especially when a security breech occurs and the weaknesses of wired solutions are exposed. "Wireless security systems are poised to take advantage of a number of market factors in 2011," said Jeff Kessler, managing director of Imperial Capital, a security market research and advisory firm. "In the coming years ahead, we will see security directors and integrators asking vendors to better integrate access control, video analytics and external sensors into a single view to achieve true Physical Security Information Management (PSIM) capabilities. Wireless systems will play an important part in this evolution." Echoing this same sentiment, Jarman added, "Despite all the advances in technology, one thing rings clear: an integrated security solution needs to be simple, not over-featured. As elegant as many integrated solutions can be, their sheer complexity can make them fall short of expectations for usability, and therefore performance, reliability and in realizing a return on investment. That is why simple to install, easy-to-use, reliable and cost-effective wireless systems will gain growing acceptance among security directors and integrators across many markets in the years ahead."
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