This is a merger that is not totally surprising, given that the two organizations have significant overlapping membership. Plus one organization is in the midst of a leadership change. On the other hand, there is little overlap in technology and application. So this, if it comes off, will be interesting.
The Fieldbus Foundation and the HART Communication Foundation announced Sept. 25 that they 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.
The 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 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.”