In a post, For Foundation Fieldbus Segment Design-Use Typicals Approach, a commenter asked:
Fieldbus technologies have always presented an element of fear amongst the “uninitiated” user. Is there a Fieldbus Installation Tips 101 anywhere that could help our customers?
One thing I can point to are a series of presentations that Terry Blevins put together a few years ago and are posted in SlideShare at: http://www.slideshare.net/EmersonExchange/tag/fieldbus.
…we fear what we don’t understand. I personally believe Fieldbus products in the past were not as intuitive as they could have been, i.e. hard understand. Fieldbus demanded the use of computers and the Internet, which not too long ago was unfamiliar and not well understood by many in the maintenance team, thus the element of fear. So we made it easier. But perhaps more importantly, today computers, the Internet, and file download are no longer a mystery to most.
Today products have a far more intuitive implementation of the fieldbus technology, and the technology has seen, and continues to see, a never ending parade of enhancements making fieldbus easier to use. This includes for instance ease-of-use device ‘dashboards’ based on enhanced EDDL graphics, backwards device version compatibility, error free download, NAMUR NE107 instrument diagnostic alarm management, automatic device commissioning and replacement etc.
Thanks to these technology enhancements, and better implementation in products (integrated power, automatic DD file update, auto-commissioning/replacement etc.), it is now easy to run & maintain a fieldbus system, so no more reason to fear the technology. The design is simplified as described in the post above.
Remember the Internet with Windows 3.1, 14.4 modem, “Trumpet” PPP dialer, and Mosaic browser? Compare that to an iPad and you get the idea. This is how far fieldbus has come today with DeltaV v13 at the centre of the digital eco system with field instruments. For existing fieldbus users, this is a good time to upgrade. Fieldbus plants today enjoy project benefits like cable, I/O card, and cabinet reduction, virtual marshalling flexibility, liberation of all device signals, more powerful devices, real-time closed loop digital control, and real-time validity etc. – and have it much easier than the early adopters all those years ago.
In the same spirit of usability I am actually working with some end-users and EPC to compile such a Fieldbus Installation Tips guidance as well as a fieldbus “Loop Check” guidance. I am attempting an illustrated format of do’s and don’ts similar to Ikea and Lego instructions, although not completely without words.