Open technologies and open standards provide many benefits. Installing an open, interoperable system constructed from a variety of suppliers does entail challenges of integration. Proponents of a single-vendor solution claim that products from one source will work together seamlessly with optimum performance—however, those of us who have worked with those know that reality sometimes falls short of vision.

Back to integrating a system from multiple sources. A key ingredient not always acknowledged by suppliers is that open systems require a testing and vetting process to assure each component conforms to the standards.

For process systems, one answer comes through the Endress+Hauser Open Integration partner program. The program unites 13 manufacturers that want to ensure the streamlined interaction of their products. Softing Industrial Automation joined the partner network at the beginning of the year.

The Open Integration cooperation partners test and document the interaction of their products for typical process automation applications. Users profit in two ways by being able to combine the best products for each application and through fast and smooth commissioning. Automation technology suppliers value the advantages of the Open Integration program as well. For these companies, it’s important to be able to detect potential problems early and solve them prior to installing their products at the customer site.

“We go well beyond the established test methods within this program by scrutinizing the functionality of complete system architectures in a lab environment,” explains Jörg Reinkensmeier, Marketing Manager at Endress+Hauser. “We do that for specific fields of application or customer solutions. After successful completion of the tests, the so-called reference topologies are published in the form of mutual recommendations.”

Thirteen companies currently belong to the program. All the partners are suppliers of control technology, fieldbus infrastructures, measurement technology or actuator technology: Auma Riester, Bürkert, Festo, Flowserve, Hima Paul Hildebrandt, Honeywell Process Solutions, Mitsubishi Electric, Pepperl+Fuchs, Phoenix Contact, Rockwell Automation, Schneider Electric, Turck and recently Softing Industrial Automation.

Softing Industrial Automation is a provider of software and hardware products designed to integrate technologies and data in factory and process automation environments. “Our companies have enjoyed many years of successful cooperation, which has now manifested itself in our decision to join the Open Integration partner program,” says Thomas Hilz, Vice President Strategic Accounts at Softing Industrial Automation.

“The reliability and outstanding quality that we know from Endress+Hauser is also a top priority at Softing Industrial Automation. The company, and I personally, are looking forward to the coming years in which we will be helping our partners with the connectivity of their sensors.”

“Softing Industrial Automation strengthens our partner program with further expertise in the area of data exchange and providing information at the field level,” says Jörg Reinkensmeier. “Apart from networking process control technology, connectivity is playing an increasingly important role for IIoT solutions. Our aim is to exploit this potential together with all of our Open Integration partners.”

From the Website: Open Integration: open standards / validated integration

  • Partner program for practical testing of multi-vendor automation topologies
  • Typical selection of system components and field devices for the application
  • Joint integration testing of the complete reference topology
  • Documentation of the most important procedural steps and test results
  • Sustainable cooperation with partners with regular retesting
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