Experiences and Life Cycle Opportunities with Foundation Fieldbus

The Fieldbus Foundation continues to share best practices around the use of the technology around the globe. Emerson’s Jonas Berge alerted me to an Australian Seminar held late last year where he was the keynote speaker. There are links to all the presentations given:

In Jonas’ Why Foundation Fieldbus presentation, he noted how everything around us is benefitting greatly from a transformation from analog to digital such as television, telephony, and music etc. The latest developments in fieldbus deliver on the promise of digital networking.

The stories of how FF reduces wiring and the number of I/O cards have been shared for more than a decade. Now, with fieldbus power integrated into the interface card, the marshalling panel can also be eliminated, further reducing system footprint. This video created from Jonas’s presentation, visually compares a hardwired marshalling approach and a fieldbus installation with integrated device power supply and no marshalling cabinets:

Most folks know that fieldbus takes the place of 4-20 mA, but fieldbus also takes the place of on/off signals. For instance, fieldbus on/off valves eliminate three wires per valve, provide feedback, and deliver diagnostic information. Similarly, for electric actuators / motor operated valves (MOV) more than a dozen wires per valve can be eliminated. In a fieldbus design, an on/off valve can easily be changed to a control valve or MOV without redesigning wiring, barriers, or I/O cards because they have one and the same electrical connection. All the signals are marshalled from software, known as virtual marshalling or “soft wiring”, which gives great flexibility to accommodate changes late in projects.

An end-user presentation by Ambrose Hargan of CSBP highlights the benefits of fieldbus that they have realized over the past many years with their three systems in operation. As an early adopter of Foundation fieldbus, he and his organization found that the technology has matured and their experience has grown. They view the use of fieldbus and its associated tools and practices straightforward. His recommendations included training on fieldbus and working with contractors experienced in fieldbus.

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