I’m just catching up on my reporting from Achema–the huge chemical industry trade fair in Frankfurt, Germany.
Attendance picked up considerably overall. Tuesday and Wednesday traffic through the halls I was in was heavy. Unfortunately for those in the Fieldbus Communication Lounge, the site is just enough out of the way that traffic still remained light.
My first stop was with Glenn Schultz, director of the FDT Group. He reported the FDT certification office has experienced a record surge in DTM certifications in the first six months of 2012. More than 900 intelligent devices are supported by 42 newly issued certificates.
Vendors wishing to certify their FDT DTMs as complying with the FDT standard must submit their DTM to an authorized, independent test laboratory for extensive automated and manual tests. Upon successful completion of the test, the FDT Group issues a certificate of conformance for the DTM.
Attendees at the recently completed FDT2 Developer’s Workshop in Seligenstadt, Germany demonstrated how easy it is to develop FDT2 DTMs when they completed twenty six DTMs in less than two days. The hands-on workshop centered around the use of the FDT2 DTM Common Components that provide nearly all of the functionality needed to develop FDT2 compliant products.
Participating companies included CodeWrights, who lead the workshop; Hilscher; ICS; ifak systems; Invensys; Krohne; M&M Software; Omron; Phoenix Contact; Rockwell Automation; Schneider Electric; Sick; Turck; VEGA; Wago; and Weidmuller.
HART Communication Foundation
Executive Director Ron Helson noted significant growth in the organization, especially in WirelessHART with a verifiable 8,000 networks in operation at this time.
Other points he noted included recent enhancements to HART Specification (in approval process): New Infrared (IR) Physical Layer – new option for device
configuration; HART IP – specifies and standardizes the transport protocol for HART over IP as used by Remote I/O, multiplexers, gateways, etc. New Common Practice Commands – provides standardized support to NAMUR NE 107 for condensed status notification -Failure, Out of Specification, Function Check or Maintenance Required; Additional standardization and clarification for WirelessHART Gateway interface to automation systems including KPI’s, New commands for Discrete, Hybrid Discrete and Discrete Adapters as well as support for additional “on/off” type devices.
The number of installed HART devices now exceeds 35 million and growing. The Foundation has expanded operations in China.
And, last but not least, the 2011 HART Plant of the Year is Shell Scotford Upgrader in Canada.
At the Mactek stand, I saw the Bullet Wireless interface modem to HART that, among other things, allows engineers to multi drop 8 devices to a wireless modem.
ProComSol (Process Communications Solutions) was founded in 2005 dedicated to
providing products for users of HART technology. The HM-USB-ISO HART Modem is a cost-effective certified USB HART Modem. Its Bluetooth HART modems first appeared on the market in 2005.
Fieldbus Foundation displayed a technology kiosk dedicated to the demonstration of its latest development initiative – Foundation for Remote Operations Management (ROM). Developed in response to the increasing challenges facing remote applications within the process automation industry, Foundation for ROM offers a unified digital infrastructure for asset management. The technology enables fieldbus connectivity to remote I/O and the integration of leading industrial protocols including ISA 100.11a, WirelessHART, wired HART and wired FF H1 protocols into a single standard environment.
In other visits:
Thanks to an energetic marketing consultant, I was shown a French company, new to me, that invented a vibration technology viscometer. It can be used not only offline in a lab setting, but also for online testing in petroleum production. It has established an office in Houston. Look for more visibility in the United States.
People I talked with at the Rockwell Automation stand told me that business was still good for the process business.
The company released two new linking devices that provide PlantPAx process automation system users with connectivity to Foundation Fieldbus devices. The Allen-Bradley 1788-EN2FFR and 1788-CN2FFR linking devices provide a direct link from EtherNet/IP or ControlNet networks to the FOUNDATION Fieldbus H1 device-level network, making the integration of FOUNDATION Fieldbus devices intuitive and seamless.
Another new release concerned added new tools to Pavilion8 model predictive control software, giving users the ability to create simple to complex process models on their own. Leveraging a powerful modeling engine, Pavilion8 software version 4.0 gathers all data from within a facility – including equations, empirical data and heuristics – to help users develop a robust model of the process. The software continuously assesses current and predicted operational data, compares it to desired results, and computes new control targets to reduce in-process variability and improve process performance.
My stop at the Phoenix Contact stand emphasized both WirelessHART devices and the new Radio Line product range released at Hannover that is FHSS radio for serial and I/O communication.
The B&R Automation stand emphasized hydraulic-to-electric control and integrated control through its Automation Studio.
Most of us in the US know about the ABB 800xA system, but the company spokesman showed me the Freelance controller–smaller and scalable.