Foundation & Hart to merge?


It has finally been formally acknowledged. After many years of co-operation Fieldbus Foundation and HART are strongly considering pooling their resources. Where the proposed merger leaves other standards, particularly ProfiBus remains to be seen.

The Fieldbus Foundation and the HART Communication Foundation have entered into discussions on the potential for merging the two organizations into a single industry foundation dedicated to the needs of intelligent device communications in the world of process automation.

fartThe chairmen of the two organizations—Dr. Gunther Kegel of the Fieldbus Foundation and Mr. Mark Schumacher of the HART Communication Foundation—issued the following statement on behalf of their Boards of Directors:

“We believe combining the resources and capabilities of each foundation into a single organization will provide significant benefits to both end users and suppliers. For end users, a single organization that combines the power of both Fieldbus Foundation and HART Communication Foundation would provide a full solution that addresses every conceivable aspect of field communications and intelligent device management for the process industries. For suppliers, a single organization would create efficiencies in resource utilization, consistency of processes and procedures, and would deliver significant improvements in member services and support.”

The Fieldbus Foundation and HART Communication Foundation have worked extensively together in the past and have a long history of cooperation. For example, the two organizations worked together on the development of common international standards such as Electronic Device Description Language (EDDL) and, most recently, the development of the Field Device Integration (FDI) specification. The merger offers significant potential to harmonize many aspects of the two protocols, making it easier for end users and suppliers to implement the technology and obtain the full benefits of each technology in plant operations and maintenance.

In preliminary discussions, the presidents of the two organizations, Richard J. Timoney of the Fieldbus Foundation and Ted Masters of the HART Communication Foundation, added that many synergies already exist and closed by commenting:

“We are both confident that today’s decision to investigate the merger of these two organizations provides momentum for a major step forward in the evolution of intelligent devices and the world of industrial communications.”

More details are given in this Question & Answer paper published with this announcement!

The Fieldbus Foundation and HART Communication Foundation have signed a memorandum of understanding for a possible merger of the two organizations. This proposed merger is still in the exploratory phase and is not yet guaranteed. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about the merger.

Q: Is the merger a foregone conclusion, with an agreement to merge the two organizations that has been approved by the Boards of Directors?
A: No. What has been agreed is that each organization will appoint a study team to review the possibility of merging the organizations based on an increased value of a single organization, as well as significant benefits to their respective memberships and the automation industry in general.

Q: Would this be a true merger or an acquisition of one organization by another?
A: The merger would be a true merger of equals and not an acquisition of any one organization by another. A combined organization of Fieldbus Foundation and HART technologies could better leverage the complementary benefits of the technologies. The new combined organization would create more cooperation and collaboration. In addition, improved economies of scale would be realized through merging training and education; seminars; testing and registration; participation at trade shows, conferences, and events; online presence; and social media strategies.

Q: I am a member of only one of the Foundations. How would a merger affect my future membership?
A: Membership in either one of the existing foundations would carry over into the new proposed organization with the same rights and benefits that members enjoy today.

Q: If I were a member of both Foundations, how would this affect my membership costs?
A: While we have begun an analysis of our respective memberships, we have not yet defined the membership model as it relates to membership dues. Members of both foundations should see increased efficiencies and reduced total costs as more and more standards, processes and procedures are harmonized. Over time, we anticipate suppliers recognizing more efficiency compared to membership in both organizations.

Q: If the investigation were successful, when would a merger likely happen?
A: There is still a lot of exploratory work to do in regard to due diligence in the financial and legal arenas. Everything we do must meet strict criteria in terms of benefitting our membership and the broader automation market, including our mutual end users. Once that is done, there are board and membership votes and, if successful, legal filings. Our target is to have everything completed by mid-2014.

Q: Who will decide if the merger is to proceed?
A: The decision to proceed with the merger will flow through three steps. First, the study team will prepare a report and recommendation for each board of directors. Once that is completed, the boards will individually vote to proceed or not. Finally, if both boards vote to proceed with the merger, the proposal will go to a member vote in both organizations.

Q: What are some of the goals of the proposed new merged organization?
A: There are a number of goals:

• Collaboration on new and existing technologies.
• Fully integrated marketing strategy to advance the extensive use of digital
• Improved products and services.
• Increased market share of digital field devices in total device market.

Q: Would the technologies and protocols of both Foundations continue to exist
and evolve on their own?
A: Both the FOUNDATION fieldbus and HART specifications would continue to exist
separately and evolve. Each protocol would retain and maintain its own brand name, trademarks, patents and copyrights. The proposed organization would continue to seek areas of logical harmonization just as we have with EDDL and FDI.

Q: How would the proposed organization deal with the different wireless
strategies that exist?
A: The proposed organization would continue to support the wireless strategies that exist today within each organization.

Q: How would the proposed merger affect the current activities regarding FDI?
A: Both organizations are totally committed to the FDI project and would continue to support FDI as the sole integration technique for smart devices.

Q: Would the two organizations move to a single location?
A: Pending approval of the merger, the plan is to co-locate both organizations into a
single facility as soon as it is practical.

Q: How would the merger affect host system, and device testing and registration?
A: Both the Fieldbus Foundation and HART Communication Foundation are currently working on common device and host testing procedures under the FDI Cooperation initiative. That is one of the major benefits of the FDI project. Although elements of those tests may differ based on the structure of the protocols, there are many elements that the two organizations share in common. We anticipate that we will move toward a common set of procedures for both device and host testing, and a common registration process.

Wireless standards attract and detract!

Industrial standards both drive and inhibit wireless potential in process manufacturing

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.

“The potential market for wireless devices is one of the closest-watched segments in process automation.  Still served largely by proprietary solutions, the advent of robust industrial wireless standards has captured the attention of end users, OEMs, and system integrators alike.  Increased availability of products and solutions that support industrial wireless standards will help spur double-digit market growth due to the tangible business benefits that can be achieved through use of wireless instrumenta-tion,“ says ARC Vice President Chantal Polsonetti, the principal author of ARC’sWireless Devices in Process Manufacturing”.

From Standalone Proprietary to Standard and Integrated
As the WirelessHART and ISA100.11a standards gain footholds at the sensor level, the majority of the process wireless market will gravitate away from legacy proprietary solutions that continued to account for a large share of the 2011 market. Concurrent with this shift, a migration away from standalone point-to-point installations will occur in favor of mesh-based, inherently redundant device level solutions that interface to a Wi-Fi-based plant or facility backbone.

Tighter integration of wireless implementations with the overall automation scheme is central to this migration. The addition of incremental measurement points due to availability of wireless devices is attractive, but the ability to integrate, analyse, and act upon these additional measure-ments is reliant on integration with the control or monitoring system.

Increased Product Availability as Demand Increases
Availability of industrial wireless standards at the device level is leading to the mainstreaming of wireless devices and consequently higher supplier participation. The relatively recent introduction and certification of the in-dustrial standards means that many products are still in the developmental pipeline. ARC expects the supplier landscape to expand dramatically over the next decade as numerous sensor, transmitter, actuator, and other de-vice-level product suppliers introduce wireless offerings.

Growth Geographies Reflect Leading Adopter Industries
Growth in wireless implementations by geography is largely driven by the presence of the leading adopter industries and/or the RF regulatory land-scape. Availability of greenfield projects versus add-ons will also impact the relative size of the market by geography.

Wireless Standards or "pull me push me"

Open to new ways!


New prospects with PROFINET for the process industry

by Dr. Peter Wenzel, PI (PROFIBUS & PROFINET International) Support Center

With over three million installed nodes, PROFINET has long since become a familiar feature of production automation and drive engineering applications. But what about the process automation sector? Although this sector traditionally reacts cautiously to new technologies, users have expressed heightened interest in PROFINET.

Food and beverage industry sector

In particular, the food and beverage industry sector is interested in PROFINET because of its large number of upstream and downstream processes. The chemical, oil and gas, and pharmaceutical industries have recently expressed considerable interest in the technology, as well. PROFIBUS PA is already widely used by facilities in these industry sectors. However, an integrated communication system such as PROFINET is essential to enable complete integration of centralized process-related operations of a plant with downstream applications involving mostly discrete processes, such as filling and packaging.

For this reason, PI (PROFIBUS & PROFINET International) established a working group of manufacturing companies (ABB, Emerson, Endress+Hauser, Pepperl+Fuchs, Siemens, Softing, Stahl, and Yokogawa) whose initial task was to define the particular characteristics of process industries. Additional consideration was given to the requirements of NAMUR (an international user association of automation technology in process industries). Besides the extended cycle times, continuous plant operation, and complex actuators and sensors, another major challenge is the sheer quantity of devices (up to 100,000 I/O signals). Moreover, life cycles in the process industry are often very long. It is not unusual to find 20-year old control systems, and many plants are even older than that.

These specific characteristics have always been an impediment to the introduction of new technologies in the past. In spite of this, PROFINET holds interesting prospects for process-related applications and the process industry sector, based in large part on its flexibility. In order to establish PROFINET on a widespread basis, however, the specific requirements of this sector had to be implemented. This effort focused on four main areas:
Investment protection

In order to protect investments, seamless integration into existing fieldbuses must be possible. Many process industry plants have been in operation for several decades and have a large installed base of field devices, controllers, and communication systems. Continued use of this installed base is the aim. How can this be ensured? By means of a proxy concept, the three communication systems encountered in process industries – PROFIBUS PA, Hart, and Foundation Fieldbus – can be integrated into the higher-level PROFINET network. The proxy assumes responsibility for implementing the physics and protocol and ensures the exchange of all I/O, diagnostic, and parameter assignment data as well as alarms with the field devices.

Configuration in Run

Chemical industry

The chemical industry, whose plants operate continuously in most cases, places top priority on plant availability. It is inconceivable that a column would have to be shut down before making a parameter change or replacing a device. It must be possible to reconfigure devices and networks and to add, remove, or replace devices or individual modules during operation. Thanks to the auto-sense and topology detection features, devices are identified automatically and their locations pinpointed. This enables convenient, reliable solutions to be developed for device/spare part replacement scenarios, in which the replacement device parameters are assigned automatically by the control system. All of these “Configuration in Run” measures (CiR) are carried out in PROFINET without any interruption and without adversely affecting network communication. This ensures that plant repairs, modifications, or expansions can be performed without a plant shutdown in continuous production processes, as well.

Time synchronization and time stamping

Power plant

In power plant automation, an especially high value is placed on time-correct tracking of individual process signals. This is especially critical when it comes to malfunctions in individual automation areas. Afterwards, the plant operator wants accurate information on the order in which signals were sent and at what time. He is then able to perform a detailed “root cause” analysis. An accuracy of 1 ms is critical for this purpose.

This requires a time stamp for digital and analog measured values and alarms that is accurate to the millisecond. A precondition for this is an exact time synchronization of the components involved: By means of a central system master clock (e.g., based on GPS or DCF77), a master selected specifically for this purpose transmits a cyclic equidistant clock signal to all bus nodes, thereby synchronizing them. This ensures that I/O devices can provide real-time information about alarms and other important events with a time stamp that is based on a network-wide standardized time of day. By acquiring events at a comparable time, an exact description and analysis of a possible fault can occur. Because not every field device has such a time stamp, a hybrid operation must also be possible. This is guaranteed.

Scalable redundancy
To avoid automation failures caused by conditions such as wire breaks or short circuits, redundancy concepts were developed for PROFINET, which can be structured differently depending on the application (“scalable redundancy”). The basis for these concepts is the automatic switchover of communication paths to intact paths in the event of a fault, along with communication of status information regarding the cause of the communication interruption. The user can decide whether he wants to use controller redundancy, network redundancy, device redundancy, or device interface redundancy. Moreover, the recovery time of a communication system must be fast enough to prevent process disturbances. All redundant elements must have a diagnostic capability so that faults can be detected and faulty elements replaced.

Uniform concept
Many users express the desire for an integrated communication system down to the field level. PROFINET enables a direct path to MES and ERP systems, while at the same time facilitating the use of Internet services for things like remote maintenance, integration of wireless communication, or intelligent network management. New architectures can be realized with PROFINET. The flexible signal allocation allows signals to be assigned to controllers in the PROFINET network without any rewiring. This aids in future plant expansions, even when continuous processes are involved. Over the long-term, this could also make planning of automation systems easier since individual lines can still be expanded even during the commissioning phase. Entirely new paths are also possible: if, up to now, architectures have been based on the layer model of the conventional automation pyramid, flatter and thus more cost-effective architectures are now conceivable, especially for smaller applications.

With completion of the “PROFINET for Process Automation” application profile, PI (PROFIBUS & PROFINET International) has taken an important step towards a uniform communication concept for process and production industries. The preconditions for this have been put in place with the implementation of process-specific requirements. What remains now are a few housekeeping tasks, such as the review of security concepts, coordination with FDI, development of test specifications for devices, and certification of devices that meet the PROFINET requirements. Starting in 2011 work can commence on implementing PROFINET products for process automation, thereby opening up whole new prospects for this industry sector.

European wireless standard approved


The HART® Communication Foundation has announced that the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) has approved the WirelessHART® specification as a European National Standard (EN 62591). CEN released the standard to CENELEC, the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization, whose members are the national electrotechnical committees of 31 European countries. CENELEC approved the WirelessHART European Standard on 01 June 2010.

European Committee for Standardization“In March, the WirelessHART specification was approved by the International Electrotechnical Commission as a full international standard (IEC 62591Ed. 1.0),” – see our story “First international standard for wireless” – says Ron Helson, Executive Director of the HART Communication Foundation. “Approval as a European National Standard further confirms acceptance of the technology by users and suppliers as a technically sound, reliable and secure solution for wireless communication in process automation.”

The IEC Standard was approved by CENELEC as a European Standard without any modification. According to the announcement of approval issued by CENELEC, “members are bound to comply with the CEN/CENELEC Internal Regulations which stipulate the conditions for giving this European Standard the status of a national standard without any alteration”.

A growing number of WirelessHART compatible products are available today from major global suppliers including ABB, Emerson, Endress+Hauser, MACTek, Nivis, Phoenix Contact, Pepperl+Fuchs, Siemens and others.

Released in September 2007, WirelessHART is an open and interoperable wireless communication standard designed to address the critical needs of industry for reliable, robust and secure wireless communication in real-time industrial process measurement and control applications.

WirelessHART is a backward compatible, evolutionary enhancement to the HART Communication Protocol, the leading communication technology for intelligent process measurement and control field devices and systems with more than 30 million devices installed and operating in process plant applications around the globe.

The CEN was founded in 1961. Its 30 national members work together to develop European Standards (ENs) in various sectors to build a European internal market for goods and services and to position Europe in the global economy. CENELEC is a non-profit technical organization set up under Belgian law. CENELEC members have been working together in the interests of European harmonization since the 1950s, creating both standards requested by the market and harmonized standards in support of European legislation.

More on wireless


Yokogawa snubs WirelessHART users at the launch of the “World’s first” ISA100.11a wireless transmitters.

van Loon snubs WirelessHart!

by Andrew Bond, Industrial Automation Insider

“ISA100 is the standard that has been developed by the user community, and expresses the wishes of the users, rather than the approach imposed by vendors, as exemplified by WirelessHART,” said Joost van Loon, Yokogawa Europe director of industrial automation. “Additionally ISA100 is technologically superior to other approaches, in that it can cover all the wireless solutions that might be required. Users have also requested just one standard, so in the Yokogawa view this should be ISA100.”

Van Loon was speaking at the launch of a range of ISA100.11a pressure and temperature transmitters and associated system interfaces at the 5th Yokogawa User Conference, held in The Netherlands from 24-25th June. He was supported by Penny Chen of Yokogawa global marketing, who is also vice chair of the Wireless Compliance Institute (WCI). In response to a query about possible changes to ISA100.11a when the ISA100.12 committee on convergence presents its findings later this year, she asserted that “It is very unlikely that any changes would be allowed to ISA100”. The Yokogawa Q+A sheet issued alongside the releases commented on convergence issues further: “In fact, end users are not choosing WirelessHART. The ISA100.12 committee has been advised by user input that there is “no need for backward compatibility with WirelessHART as there is no significant installed base”. Quite a snub for the existing users of WirelessHART systems!

Yokogawa excludes WirelessHART

In listening to the user community, Yokogawa is aware that there has been a request for one global wireless standard, and therefore stresses that their offering includes “openness and interoperability” as prime objectives at the heart of ISA100. However “the ideal scenario is unlikely to occur, with two wireless standards in use” and the Yokogawa interoperability does not extend to including WirelessHART in their plans.

The other major player in the ISA100 camp is, of course, Honeywell, and news releases came thick and fast around the Honeywell User Group meeting held in Phoenix (AZ US), from 13-17th June: several of these related to improvements to digital video monitoring and field instrument wireless networks, that are designed to be compliant with the ISA100.11a standard. Most of the questions at the interviews, and the HUG discussions reported, related to the topic of ISA100, and whether this standard will be modified in the near future to include IEC62591, now the WirelessHART standard.

ISA100 panel: user discussions continue
From a panel discussion on the convergence of ISA100 and WirelessHART, Pat Schweitzer of ExxonMobil, also co-chair of the ISA100 committee, had been trying to establish what users would want a combined standard to offer, and said NAMUR would issue a report on this topic in late June (NE133). Meanwhile Schweitzer reported that the ISA100.11a- 2009 standard is being corrected, and will be re-issued by December. Schweitzer also commented that the convergence discussions headed by the ISA100.12 committee also hoped to report by December.

The Honeywell corporate view of wireless monitoring and control is not restricted to Honeywell Process Systems: their wireless business is cross divisional – it is a corporate initiative to drive wireless across the whole business, whether this is aerospace, health and safety, life safety or process solutions. In an interview (podcast) with Walt Boyes of CONTROL Global, Ray Rogowski, business leader for their wireless initiative, stressed that they see a far larger potential for the OneWireless applications in addition to monitoring field sensors. Add to this that the Honeywell OneWireless system is really a combination of up to five wireless systems: the Honeywell approach is to create a wireless infrastructure that will support multiple wireless networks, multiple applications, with specific sensor developments to feed in, possibly on different types of wireless system – an example of this is the support for Wi-Fi devices in addition to the field sensor network.

The inevitable conclusion is that Honeywell would have no problem with running two wireless systems into their networks, WirelessHART and ISA100, if that is needed. The Matrikon acquisition reported last month will enable the integration of third party systems into the Honeywell system via an OPC link, again possibly over OneWireless. In the theme of following the Emerson THUM and the ABB FieldKey, Honeywell showed a new OneWireless Adaptor that connects to wired HART devices, and transmits the full diagnostic info to host systems via an ISA100.11a compliant wireless network, without any significant modification to the conventional 4- 20mA loop field wiring. Yokogawa also suggested that they would be supplying such an adaptor, sourced from a suitable third party supplier.

Support for ISA100 and WCI
With the new Yokogawa products compliant with ISA100.11a and GE and Yamatake joining the Wireless Compliance Institute board, alongside Yokogawa and Fuji, Honeywell and ISA100 have gained valuable support recently. However, their spokesmen continue to stress that any ISA100 standard must be based on the total customer requirement, and that these customers are requesting a single wireless standard.

But is that what they’re really asking for? Maybe Nivis has the answer. They have now launched a new wireless gateway capable of simultaneously working on both ISA100.11a and WirelessHART protocols. Confusingly, it’s just called the “Nivis WirelessHART Gateway”, presumably because there were only really WirelessHART sensors available when they named it! Nivis were one of the major suppliers of equipment for the original Arkema ISA100 trials (YouTube Video).  Trae Harrison, vp of sales and marketing, explained: “The addition of the WirelessHART Gateway to the Nivis product line enables customers to utilize either ISA100.11a or WirelessHART using the same platform: it is exactly what the marketplace is asking for.”

You can’t halp feeling that ISA, WCI and Yokogawa have been talking to a different lot of customers, unless, of course, they’ve only been asking the questions that give the answers they want to hear! Maybe we’re fast approaching the point where users will simply adopt WirelessHART and ISA100.11a as appropriate to their particular applications.

This article first appeared in the July 2010 issue of Industrial Automation Insider

Power, Energy and er Automation? #APW10


Last week the ABB Users’ Conference, Automation & Power World, descended on the oil city of Houston with something over 4000 participants.

ABB Automation & Power World 2010 Blog Spot

APW10 Blogspot

YouTube Presentations

on Facebook


on Twitter #APW10

ARC’s Forum at APW10
IBM Workshop Sessions at APW10

As we learn of other reports and comments we will add them!

Read-out’s resources have never been sufficient to attend many of the user-group meetings of the various “big boy” automation companies but of late we have been able to get a flavour of them vicariously through the tweets and other online sharings of the attendees with active thumbs and a friendly mobile phone or Blackberry. The ABB event was no exception. As the different talks and presentations occured so tweets were being sent on twitter using the hashtag #APW10 so although people who were not among the throngs present they could eavesdrop while at their desks or on their mobile devices!

“Automation & Power World,” according to ABB, “was designed with a specific focus – to provide engineers and business leaders with a single event where they can experience and learn the latest in Automation and Power technology, and more importantly how it can benefit their business’ profitability.”

Malcolm Shearmur of ABB in Zurich (CH), reported from this ABB’s largest customer event for ABB in a special blog, (though his views, as he points out, are his own rather than those of ABB!). The exhibit area was some 9000 squre metres and opened on the 17th May. Some idea of the exhibits and the venue may be gained from the limited number of pictures on their picasa album and also from presentations which may be found of YouTube (See box on right for links to these and other reports!)

ControlGlobal’s Walt Boyes was among those tweeting and his publisher also provided a daily update of the talks and presentations suplemented by additional “in-depth” clarifications from Walt’s own “Sound Off” blog. For instance his “Peter Terwiesch Explains It All to Us!” and “Who Says the single loop controller is dead?” (Incidentally, and compl;etely of the point, Walt, always looking for information, recounts an encounter while he  was waiting for his plane at Houston airport with a guy who’s product sounds like the answer to a maiden’s prayer post the catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico – take a look!)

The event kicked off with a wide-ranging address from ABB Group CEO Joe Hogan. He seems to have covered virtually everything from the Greek failure inside the Euro-zone, to the future for e-mobility; the fact that ABB robots polish the back of iPads and Carbon Dioxide emission (“60% of CO2 reduction solution will come from energy efficiency!”). He said “Smart Grids are where Power and Automation will merge!”

“Much of Hogan’s talk, as well as many sessions and exhibits in the 100,000 square foot exhibition hall, focused on power and energy efficiency. The theme begun last year at the merged “Power World” and “Automation World” conferences continued this year–the confluence of power and process automation.” reports Automation World’s Gary Mintchel in his Feed Forward blog. He goes on, “This fact was backed up by Chief Technology Officer Peter Terwisch’s presentation at the press briefing where he threw in one process automation comment at the end of an otherwise power and energy focused talk.”

So what new products impressed from afar? The new ABB Fieldkey device is a loop powered small footprint WirelessHART adaptor. Also a new generation of Swirlmeters. And Gary mentions an as yet un-launched producy “cpmPlus History – a new historian that not only is capable of acquiring tremendous quantities of data, but also has built-in tools for analysis and scripting capability for development custom analysis built on more complex math and algorithms if required by the customer application.”

Also highlighted was ABB’s recent acquisition of Ventyx an Atlanta (GA US) based software provider to global energy, utility, communications etc enterprises. They increase ABB’s offering with a broad range of solutions including: asset management, mobile workforce management, energy trading and risk management, energy operations and energy analytics. The company also provides software solutions for planning and forecasting electricity needs, including renewables.

All in all it appears to have been an interesting event, well attended and hopefully indicating the start of a slow climb into optimism!

It is hoped that  Automation & Power World will return to Orlando (FL US) April 19-21, 2011 where the 2009 event was held!

Automation & Power World Brazil – 17/19 Aug 2010

Large attendance at ABB's biggest customer event!

Final control elements and other stories


Douglas Control  & Automation

Loose Insert: Metrology Systems & Services

The April/May 2010 issue of Read-out, Ireland’s journal of instrumentation, control and automation, highlights final control elements.

Steriflo’s Mark 96 pressure regulator, marketed by Manotherm, is used in sanitary applications. Emersons Fieldvue digital valve controllers are used in an Australian chemical plant “saving us thousands of pounds,” according to the instrument technician on the site. Also featured is Festo’s range of ultra-fast jet valves and Tyco’s EBCO valves to provide full flow replenishment to storage tanks in, for example high-rise buildings.

The front page article gave details of the new marketing strategy of Irish company Biotector Analytical, who have appointed Hach as exclusive distributor in the US, Canada, Mexico, Brazil and Europe for their range of on-line liquid analysers. Another company with a presence on the North American continent, Qumas, has won the Deloite Best Managed Company Award. This company is a provider of compliance solutions.

There is a report on the Ireland Section of the International Society of Automation visit to the Blanchardstown Institute of Technology where a large assembly of first and second year students participated in a talk on combined heat and power. These students are hoping to qualify with a BSc in Sustainable Electrical and Control Technology. The purpose of this course is “to equip students with the skills and knowledge to embark upon a rewarding career in sustainable engineering within the construction and manufacturing sectors.”

The National Instruments scheme to support micro and SMEs in embedded development is discussed. This is in the form of training and grants of up to nearly €30,000 in software, support and training. “National Instruments…is committed to supporting innovation!”

John McAuliffe, in the InSide Front article, “Cracking the Safety Code“, discusses the poractical applications of the new European Machinery Directive (SI 407/08). that came into force in January. John is Managing Director of Pilz Ireland.

Among the new products highlightes in this issue is Yokogawa’s DXAdvanced DAQSTATION range, Phoenix Contact’s PSI-Bluetooth ProfiBus set, E+H’s Liquiphant M density meter and Blue-White’s new junction box and connector arrangement on their Flex-Pro A3 peri-pump.

Read-out is published every two months and distributed throughout Ireland. Advertising rates, which have maintained their 2004 levels are on the website in Euro, Pounds Sterling and US Dollars.

The next issue for June/July will concentrate on Flow measurement & Control.

The recently opened facebook “fan-page” lists most stories we receive even those not included in our printed publication. Click if you like us!

Wireless committees get their wires crossed


By Andrew Bond, Industrial Automation Insider
See links to other reports at bottom of page!

The long running saga of the ISA 100.11a wireless standard took a further intriguing turn in Orlando, Florida last month when a number of related sub-committees met alongside the ARC forum. Perhaps the most significant meeting was that considering the results of the “Nice Use Case Analysis Project”, so called because it originated at a meeting in Nice, France in 2008 (pleasant places these meetings have to be held in!).

  • Concerns over security remain the number one barrier to the adoption of wireless solutions in industry, according to the results of the first end-user survey to be conducted by WINA, the Wireless Industrial Networking Alliance. Half of survey participants who had not yet implemented wireless believed that wireless solutions were less secure than wired. However users in industries with more experience of the technology such as oil and gas most frequently perceived wireless to be as secure as or even more secure than wired devices.Presenting the results during the recent ARC forum in Orlando, WINA president Steve Toteda noted that “Heavy industry moves slowly, but very methodically. The growth of wireless devices from the current average of 5% to that of between 20 and 30% in five years represents a staggering advance for wireless.” But he added that “… the industry as a whole has failed to adequately address the misconception that wireless security is not as effective as hard wired – the truth is wireless is far more secure because of the use of strong encryption technology and network controls that eliminate unauhorized devices on the network.” That present rates of growth are set to continue or even accelerate is indicated by a fifth of respondents to the survey expecting wireless devices to make up 30% of their field devices by 2015, and another fifth believing that they will account for 20% or more within the same time frame.With 55% of respondents indicating that they were not influenced by brand names in selecting wireless devices, Toteda argued that future purchase decisions would not depend on brands already installed on site, suggesting that opportunities exist both for existing vendors to gain market share and for new entrants to make an impact.
  • Cooper Wireless, which brings together Cooper’s Canadian acquisition Omnex Controls and Elpro Technologies, the Australian company acquired by MTL in 2008, had its first public outing in Orlando, making a busy week for WINA president Steve Toteda who was recently appointed VP and general manager of the newly created Cooper Bussmann business unit (INSIDER, January 2010, page 3). “The merging of these brands allows us to provide our customers with increasngly comprehensive, highly-specified solutions for improving productivity and safety in demanding industrial and mobile control applications around the world,” he explained.
    Omnex, an early adopter of Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS) technology, claims to have become the leading supplier of robust, ‘never-fail’ remote controls for the shipping, concrete pumping and placement and mobile boom sectors and has migrated its Trusted Wireless technology into industrial I/O and networking for fixed plant and field environments. The result is enterprise-wide wireless infrastructure solutions for water and waste water treatment, oil and gas extraction and refining and process manufacturing.
  • Missing elements
    Funded by Shell Global Solutions, the  analysis considered just one use case – that of a temperature transmitter sensing sea temperature and displaying it ashore – and only looked at about a third of the complete ISA 100.11a specification. Nevertheless it is understood to have come up with more than a dozen elements of the standard which were either missing, didn’t work or conflicted with other elements.

    What’s so interesting about these findings, apart from the suggestion that the standard, as approved in August of 2009, is incomplete and potentially unworkable, is that they relate back directly to issues raise by the appeal against its ratification made by, among others, Walt Boyes of CONTROL magazine, Sicco Dwars of Shell Global Solutions and Frederick Enns of Dust Networks. That is hardly surprising, perhaps, as no doubt supporters of the standard will be quick to  point out, since Dwars was apparently responsible for initiating the Nice use case project and Enns was one of those involved in conducting the analysis and made the presentation on it at the Orlando meeting. Readers will recall that it was rejection of that appeal by ISA on the grounds that it was submitted after the deadline which led to the failure of the America National Standards Institute (ANSI) to accept the standard at its November 2009 meeting (INSIDER, January 2010, page 5). Supporters of that appeal are now arguing that the Nice use case analysis confirms what they had been arguing all along, namely that by failing to follow their own procedures correctly when assessing technical comments on the standard prior to its final ratification they allowed previously identified deficiencies and inconsistencies to remain in the final document.

    Face saving
    Ironically, however, these latest developments look as if they may provide ISA with a face saving solution to the dilemma posed by ANSI’s insistence that the appeal be heard. While nobody is going to admit that there is anything wrong with the existing version of the standard, the word on the Orlando street is that ISA 100.11a will undergo “maintenance” over the coming months to render it “more robust” and that the resultant revised document will then be put out to ballot in time for it to be released in the early autumn, ideally at the new ISA Automation Week event in Houston in October. The beauty of this solution is that, while it tacitly overcomes the original objections, it obviates the need to hear the appeal since it will be a new, rather than the original, document which will eventually be submitted to ANSI and which should therefore meet with that body’s unqualified approval – assuming, of course, that ISA manages to follow its own procedures correctly this time around.

    Meanwhile, also meeting at Orlando was ISA 100.12, the sub-committee charged with finding a way to converge ISA 100.11a with WirelessHART. Logically one would expect that any sign of further delay in finalizing the ISA standard, which can only increase WirelessHART’s already substantial lead, would encourage efforts to accelerate the convergence project, not least because, as Gary Mintchell of Automation World reported in his own ‘Feed Forward’ blog, “…a panel of practitioners at one session at the ARC Forum uniformly pleaded for a single wireless standard.”

    Mintchell’s own assessment of the current state of the convergence project is blunt in the extreme. “… attempts to rationalize the differences between the two standards appear to be dead,” he says. And he’s not alone in pointing out that while the HART Foundation has been repeatedly criticized for being a ‘pay-to-play’ supplier consortium, dominated as many believe, or at least find it convenient to suggest, by a single supplier, Emerson, the ISA’s own wireless activities, which purport to be user driven, are in fact increasingly being identified with Honeywell and the chip supplier Nivis.

    If all that’s giving you a feeling of déjà vu, it’s probably because you’re being reminded of such alleged but largely spurious past red herrings as Rockwell – DeviceNet, Siemens – Profibus and Emerson – Foundation fieldbus or even, if your memory stretches back far enough, IBM – Token Ring and Xerox/DEC- Ethernet!

    The above articles appeared in the March 2010 issue of Industrial Automation Insider (IAI) and are reproduced by kind permission of the author.

    Some other links which may interest readers of this article! Industrial Wireless – not ready for prime time? – (Bill Lydon, Editor InTech, reports on the Industrial Wireless Standards Session)

    Control Engineering: Wireless interoperability? What is that? (Control Engineering process industries editor, Peter Welander)

    ARC World Industry Forum: Where Industry Leaders Meet to Solve Their Most Challenging Issues (8/11 Feb 2010)
    End Users Plead for a Single Wireless Standard at ARC Orlando Forum ARC clients may view this report by Harry Forbes (11 Mar 2010)

    ISA100 Wireless Complience Institute – Industry leaders from major manufacturing and automation control system users and suppliers have formed an organization to establish essential specifications and processes to be used in the testing and certification of wireless products and systems for the ISA100 family of wireless standards.

    See also the box entitled Table 2 Discussion on our item Conquering Complexity (January 2010) which talks about WirelessHart and Emerson and the Wireless Standard!

    Highlights from the ARC 2010 Orlando Forum General Session by Paul Millar and Dick Hill (ARC Advisory Grp 12 Feb) This has a pdf downloadable report. It is available as a html page from

    Managing Automation: Collaboration, Security are focus at ARC Forum (Stephanie Neil)

    Automation World: Gary Mintchell Video Report – 2010 ARC Forum (you’ll have to log in!)

    Packaging World: Editor Pat Reynolds talks about controls, automation, sustainability, and cyber security with South African Breweries controls engineer Garth Basson. (you’ll have to log in!).
    Operational excellence a strong draw to ARC Forum (Pat Reynolds Editor in Chief)

    Wireless convergence?


    We have been following with some interests the machinations and twists and turns of the Industrial Wireless debate for this past few years. Though not as convuluted as the fieldbus wars of a decade or so ago there has still been a lot of verbiage used up to describe what is happening, and justify positions.

    Honeywell’s Dave Kaufman, a board member of the ISA Wireless Compliance Institute, hosted a lunch-and-learn session in June’09, on how the ISA100.11a wireless standard stacks up. (Pic: InTech)


    Last October at what turned out to be the last ISAExpo the launch of ISA100.11a was hailed with some enthusiasm and a visit to the Houston (US) Arkama plant (see Industrial Ethernet Book report), was organised after which one of the journalists proclaimed, “ISA 100 works!” This trip was also reported in the Industrial Ethernet book.

    At the Emerson European of new products and their new offerings designed with facing the new paradox of inexperience of personnel and complexity of process, Peter Zornio discussed his company’s attitude to this new standard and Wireless Hart. (Described in a side box in our report Conquering Complexity). Emerson are commited to Wireless HART but that in the event of ISA100.11a “catching on,” our words not his, they will of course provide product to this standard as well.

    But ISA100.11a stumbled at the ANSI fence for reasons explained in an item from the Januray 2010 issue of Industrial Automation Insider, Wireless ball back in ISA’s court.

    So now what is happening?

    From a recent release from ISA we learn the next act of this drama. The ISA100 standards committee, Wireless Systems for Automation, will hold a series of meetings at the Rosen Centre in Orlando, Florida, 9-11 February. Subcommittee ISA100.12 will meet each day of the event, and will address the key topic: long-term convergence of the WirelessHART specification with the ISA-100.11a standard.

    The ISA100.12 subcommittee is chartered with completing numerous tasks to provide developers with meaningful information to achieve convergence and end-users with educational materials to allow for successful installations of both WirelessHART and ISA-100.11a systems in a pre-converged environment. Included in these tasks is the development of a phased convergence specification to converge WirelessHART and ISA-100.11a. Ongoing work within ISA100.12 includes:

    • A recommended practice, prepared along with the ISA100 Co-Existence working group, which will describe techniques for end users for achieving best performance between WirelessHART and ISA-100.11a networks that are installed in the same facility and in overlapping radio space. This document is planned to be completed later in 2010.
    • A comparison document that outlines the differences between ISA-100.11a and WirelessHART, nearing completion, which will serve two purposes: First, it will serve as an official ISA100.12 technical comparison document for end users. Second, it will provide a starting point to begin the process of converging ISA-100.11a and WirelessHART.
    • An ISA recommended practice, planned for completion in the first half of 2010, which will define approaches for a single wireless field device to be provisioned or configured to run either ISA-100.11a or WirelessHART. This is an important step in the process and will help to preserve the technology investments that early adopters have incurred.

    Watch this space!

    Other ISA100 working groups that will meet in Orlando include Factory Automation, Trustworthy Wireless, Networking, User Guide, Backhaul, Zigbee, Power Sources, and Nuclear Applications.

    ProfiBus seminar


    In what is hoped to be a biennial affair the first ProfiBus Ireland seminar was hosted by Limerick University’s Automation Research Centre (ARC) on January20th 2010. Hassan Kaghazchi of ProfiBus Ireland and the Limerick University was responsible for the organisation of this very successful event.

    Speakers and Organisers: From left: Joost Van der Nat, Hassan Kaghazchi, Conal O'Reilly, Steve Dickinson, David Maher, Joachim Lauer, Nigel DeHaas, Eric Gory, Jorg Freitag.

    Conal O'Reilly

    It was very well attended and over 50 people attended. The progamme comprised of a morning with eight short presentations from a truly international group of speakers including Profibus International (PI) Chairman Jörg Freitag. There were many opportunities for hands-on demonstrations. The demonstartions panels constructed by ProfiBus Ireland members under David Maher of Elmar Engineering, The afternoon was an optional tour of the Bulmers, state of the art cider making facility in Clonmel where many of the ProfiBus techniques, discussed in the morning were seen in an actual plant. This part of the day was organised by Matt Wilhite of molex with the cooperation of the Bulmers plant engineers.

    The seminar programme

    Introduction, HassanKaghazchi (IR), ARC Limerick University
    Present and Future, Jörg Freitag (D), PI Germany
    HART over PROFIBUS, Nigel DeHaas (ZA), DH Controls
    Wireless HART, Joachim Lauer (CH), Endress+Hauser
    Diagnosing PROFIBUS, Joost Van derNat (NL), Procentric
    Industrial Wireless , Conal O’Reilly (IRL), Phoenix Contact
    PROFINET, Eric Gory (F), molex
    Redundant PA, Steve Dickinson (GB), Pepperl & Fuchs

    A pdf version of each presentation is available to download from the Profibus Ireland site.

    The tour of the Bulmers Clonmel plant took place in the afternoon. This plant manufactures the traditional Bulmers range for Ireland and Magners Irish Cider for the export market. As part of the C&C Group it also produces Carolan’s Irish Cream, Tullamore Dew and other products at the site. The tour was fascinating as it concentrated on the technical aspects of control especially in the very impressive bottling plant and then in the manufacturing of the cider itself from the simple apple to the finished refreshing brew. The tour also emphasised the complete use of the raw materials and its minimum impact on the environment. For instance the pulp left after the extraction of the apple juice is used for anamal feed – primarily for deer.

    Part of the attendance at the seminar

    Group for plant tour at Bulmers Clonmel

    PROFIBUS: A Pocket Guide by Ron Mitchell is a pocket guide provides a basic overview of PROFIBUS operations, installation and configuration, wiring schemes, troubleshooting, and tips and tricks. Also useful for engineering management seeking a summary understanding of PROFIBUS. Illustrative figures and technical tips are provided for quick reference. It is published by the International Society of Automation.