Interoperability through Fieldbus Foundation Host Testing

Three automation suppliers’ host systems have just passed the Fieldbus Foundation’s Host Profile Registration Process, including Emerson’s DeltaV system and AMS Device Manager software. The DeltaV and AMS Device Manager software achieved Class 61 – Integrated Host registration by successfully completing the test procedures outlined in the FF-525 Host Profile Registration Process checklist.

The Fieldbus Foundation describes the benefit of this host testing process:

Both automation suppliers and end users will benefit from host registration. Like the current device registration process, host registration will strengthen fieldbus interoperability and system integration. The updated host profile specification is easier to understand than current specifications, and eliminates inconsistent features in favor of defined host profiles.

I caught up with DeltaV product manager, Randy Balentine on what this means for process manufacturers. His first point is that this host interoperability testing enforces a new level of consistency, interoperability, and integration between Foundation fieldbus (FF) host systems and FF field devices. It also highlights the significance of the Electronic Device Description Language (EDDL), because two pieces, DD v5 Visualizations, Methods and DD v5 Persistent Data, are mandatory in this testing. I’ve discussed in numerous posts, the importance of EDDL in providing a consistent view of information from intelligent field devices.

This host profile registration testing was performed this month in the DeltaV Interoperability test labs in Austin, Texas. Two representatives from the Fieldbus Foundation administered and witnessed the testing process. The tests confirm support for the features contained in the FF-569 (Host Interoperability Support Test Procedures Revision 2.1).

Randy highlights two important tests that only the DeltaV and AMS Device Manager software have passed so far. The first is DD v5.1 Device-Level Access, which provides the ability for the software to present the user with information from FF function, resource, and transducer blocks in a single view rather than multiple views–one for each block. This common view makes operations and troubleshooting easier since tasks can be organized into logical groupings of related information. The artificial barriers based on where the data resides in FF devices are removed.

A second unique test passed is support for Enhanced Parameter Download Support Services, which means that the DeltaV and AMS Device Manager host is able to read a list of parameters in an FF device and prevent a host download from overwriting the values in the device that the suppliers never want to be overwritten. This allows the DeltaV and AMS Device Manager software to perform automatic FF device commissioning and replacement operations without the need for personnel interaction with a software screen.

Randy noted that the following versions of software were part of the successful test:

  • DeltaV software, v10.3
  • DeltaV v10.3 ProfessionalPLUS Workstation
  • DeltaV MD Controller, software revision 10.3.0
  • DeltaV Fieldbus H1 Interface Card, Series 2, software revision 4.86
  • AMS Suite: Intelligent Device Manager version 10.5

Congratulations to the whole Emerson team who developed the test plans and worked with the Fieldbus Foundation to successfully pass this host registration profile process. Tests like these help improve interoperability amongst products from many automation suppliers.

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