Frequently Asked Questions
There are 22 entries in the FAQ.
|What is FOUNDATION technology?|
|The FOUNDATION solution is a systemic technology comprised of a bi-directional communications protocol used for: communications among field devices and to the control system, a Function Block structure for true distributed control, Device Description (DD) technology for parameterization and integration of data, a network hierarchy for subsystem integration and a well-defined system management structure for reliability and determinism of functional execution.
|Are there registered FOUNDATION devices?|
|Yes. The Fieldbus Foundation registers a wide range of FOUNDATION-compliant products: from transmitters and meters, to valve positioners, actuators, controllers and linking devices. These products are available from the world’s leading automation equipment suppliers. The foundation's online product catalog (www.fieldbus.org) gives registered device information, including which standard blocks were tested for interoperability, the presence of untested Function Blocks (if any), and additional useful information about the device.|
|What is FOUNDATION H1?|
|FOUNDATION H1 is a bi-directional communications protocol used for communications among field devices and to the control system.
|What are the benefits of H1?|
|From a business standpoint, FOUNDATION technology delivers savings in total installation costs. H1 fieldbus reduces instrument wiring, which means less termination and fewer screwdriver turns. The technology reduces hardware requirements and lowers Capital Expenditures (CAPEX). FOUNDATION fieldbus primarily reduces Operating Expenses (OPEX) through improved plant efficiencies, better asset management, and reduced maintenance requirements.|
Specific benefits of FOUNDATION technology include: reduced wiring, multi-variables from a single multi-channel field instrument, simpler integration and easier maintenance. Ultimately, FOUNDATION technology will be the key to greater manufacturing flexibility and productivity, higher quality products, and improved regulatory compliance. This can be achieved by predictive maintenance scheduling and better upkeep enabled by the diagnostics, performance analysis data, and operational statistics. Better adjusted and properly calibrated devices ensure lower process variability.
The isochronous bus cycle enables tighter loop tuning, and as a result, better process control. Firmware download gives the ability to stave off obsolescence, giving fieldbus plants longer life than other plants with greater ease.
|How is FOUNDATION H1 unique?|
|FOUNDATION H1 is the only digital fieldbus protocol developed to meet the original IEC 61158 requirements.|
Unlike other protocols, FOUNDATION H1 provides explicit synchronization of control and communication for precisely periodic (isochronous) communication and execution of control functions with minimized dead time and jitter. It synchronizes clocks in fieldbus devices for support of Function Block scheduling and alarm time-stamping at the point of detection.
Additionally, FOUNDATION H1 provides automatic address setting, eliminating the need to manually set addresses off-line using a tool or DIP switches and avoiding subsequent mistakes. FOUNDATION H1 uses peer-to-peer communication where devices communicate directly using a publisher/subscriber communication relationship enabling data to be sent to several devices in a single message—thus reducing overhead. FOUNDATION H1 includes alarm and event reporting for efficient diagnostics and process alarms. Online firmware download makes it possible to upgrade devices in order to stay ahead of the obsolescence curve. Lastly, a rigorous interoperability testing program ensures quality connectivity.
|Is FOUNDATION H1 easier to use than traditional technology?|
|FOUNDATION H1 has made it possible to "mine" important information from the plant floor. When used correctly, this information empowers operators and technicians to make plant operation and maintenance easier. Some end users report commissioning time savings as high as 75% compared with conventional analog technology by switching to FOUNDATION technology.|
FOUNDATION technology enables improved asset management using device management software, as many failures can be predicted and faults can be diagnosed in detail. Together, device management software and FOUNDATION devices typically enable:
• Identification & information
• Diagnostics, performance analysis & operational statistics
• Parameterization, ranging, reconciliation & audit trail
• Simulation & override
• Calibration trim & log
• Document access
• Device event capture & monitoring
• Maintenance log & service notes
• Device listing
• Maintenance & calibration scheduling
|How does H1 “fieldbus” differ from the various device-level networks now in use?|
|H1 fieldbus was designed specifically for process automation. It differs significantly from device-level networks for factory automation in its ability to provide intrinsically safe power for field devices used in hazardous locations. Moreover, thanks to scheduling, H1 fieldbus is isochronous, which is a requirement for continuous regulatory process control.|
FOUNDATION H1 was designed and developed as a system technology providing significantly more structure and benefit than mere communication networks. FOUNDATION H1 technology delivers true distributed control networking; it provides asset optimization through a broad range of diagnostic capabilities and consistent data structures through the use of Electronic Device Description Language (EDDL). FOUNDATION technology also provides easy and extensive integration capabilities through open and consistent integration to HSE in a single engineering environment.
Device-level networks without power and intrinsic safety, and no scheduling, are appropriate for on/off components with limited data and for dedicated applications such as machine control.
|What is FOUNDATION HSE?|
|FOUNDATION HSE is a control network technology specifically designed for process automation to connect higher-level devices such as controllers and remote-I/O, high-density data generators etc., and for horizontal integration of subsystems.
|What are the benefits of HSE?|
|FOUNDATION HSE’s full-fledged redundancy scheme gives control systems greater availability than systems using simple ring-topology. Use of unmodified Ethernet and standard IP makes HSE systems more cost-effective than other Ethernet solutions and proprietary networks. Since HSE is a standard, it enables simple and tight integration between package units and the main control system. The HSE network is easier and cheaper to manage based on common network knowledge and standard SNMP tools.
|How is FOUNDATION HSE unique?|
|FOUNDATION HSE is based on unmodified IEEE 802.3 Ethernet and, therefore, is compatible with standard Ethernet equipment. Unlike mere "ring topology,” FOUNDATION HSE provides complete "DCS style" redundancy with redundant network switches, redundant devices, and redundant communication ports ensuring unsurpassed availability. FOUNDATION HSE is also based on standard IP, enabling it to coexist with other devices and ensuring compatibility with standard tools. At the highest level, FOUNDATION HSE includes a standard application layer that provides interoperability between devices beyond the mere coexistence provided by Ethernet and TCP/IP. FOUNDATION HSE communication is schedule-driven to minimize dead-time and jitter with support for peer-to-peer communication directly between devices. Again, a rigorous interoperability testing program ensures quality connectivity.
|Is FOUNDATION HSE easier to use than RS485 and coax-based networks?|
|The hub-and-spoke tree topology of Ethernet makes it very easy to add and remove devices without upsetting the operating network. Because FOUNDATION HSE is based on unmodified Ethernet, standard Ethernet tools can be used for installation qualification, testing, and troubleshooting. These tools speed up the resolution of communication problems. FOUNDATION HSE is supported by better troubleshooting tools not available for RS485 and coax. Since FOUNDATION HSE is based on UDP and TCP, standard network management tools employing SNMP, RMON, etc., can be used. Similarly, familiar IP addressing is used including support for DHCP.
|What makes FOUNDATION devices interoperable?|
|Interoperability is made possible by the fact that devices and software are conforming to the same standard. Testing and registration ensures that FOUNDATION devices bearing the official "checkmark" seal can be connected on the same bus or network and exchange information without an heroic integration effort. End users can select the best device for a specific measurement or control task, regardless of the manufacturer. A current list of registered products is available on this website.
|How is interoperability defined in relation to FOUNDATION technology?|
|Interoperability refers to the ability of any ITK-registered device to work with any HIST-analyzed host. Users want to operate their entire plant from one operator interface and maintain all devices on the system with one maintenance application.|
|Are FOUNDATION devices interchangeable?|
|Yes. End users can substitute a registered FOUNDATION device from one manufacturer with that of another manufacturer on their network without loss of degree of integration.
|What types of projects are appropriate for FOUNDATION technology?|
|FOUNDATION technology is now being utilized on automation projects of all sizes, including both new and retrofit installations. According to an ARC Advisory Group survey, a significant number of end users are installing small, medium and even very large FOUNDATION systems consisting of over 2,000 I/O points. Shell, a major adopter of FOUNDATION technology, reportedly has over 120,000 installed fieldbus I/O—31% of these devices replaced conventional (Brownfield) instruments.
|What applications are best suited to fieldbus?|
|Both H1 and HSE were specifically designed for process control. Because H1 and HSE have complementary characteristics covering diverse networking needs, FOUNDATION technology is appropriate for many applications. These include: closed-loop continuous control, batch sequencing, remote-I/O, and legacy system integration.|
The Fieldbus Foundation’s Safety Instrumented Systems (SIS) specification includes has an additional safety layer based on IEC 61508 requirements making it suitable for use in plant safety systems.
|How do end users influence the direction of the technology?|
|The Fieldbus Foundation established an End User Advisory Council (EUAC) to give end users a voice in the direction of its technology. The group meets two to three times per year to discuss issues involving their specific plants and industries.
|Is the FOUNDATION solution an open technology available to all suppliers and end users?|
|Yes. A key tenet of the Fieldbus Foundation is that the FOUNDATION protocol is non-proprietary and available to all companies wishing to include it in their product offerings. Both the H1 fieldbus and the HSE control network are part of the IEC 61158 protocol standard and IEC 61784 profile.
|Does FOUNDATION technology allow traditional centralized control to be located in the DCS?|
|Yes. FOUNDATION technology provides end users with the freedom to locate control in the control system or in the field devices. The Fieldbus Foundation does not advocate a particular control strategy.
|How does FOUNDATION technology solve the business needs of enterprise automation applications?|
|FOUNDATION HSE enables information from intelligent devices to pass through control systems without loss, degradation, or delay associated with proprietary control networks to device management software. It also allows the possibility of electronic integration with higher-level MIS and ERP applications.
|How does FOUNDATION technology handle discrete I/O?|
|Fieldbus Foundation members provide a variety of discrete devices for mini remote I/O, relay, on/off valves, valve couplers, electric actuators, etc. on H1 as well as large remote I/O on HSE. Indeed, on/off signals in bulk are an integral part of the FOUNDATION solution. The technology is well suited for hybrid control.
|Is FOUNDATION technology a recognized international standard?|
|The IEC voted to include the FOUNDATION HI and HSE specifications in the IEC 61158 international fieldbus standard. The CENELEC Technical Bureau added the FOUNDATION H1 specifications to EN 50170, the fieldbus Euronorm. In addition, FOUNDATION technology is the only implementation of the ANSI/ISA-50.02 standard.|
Both NAMUR (Germany) and JEMIMA (Japan) have voiced support for FOUNDATION technology, and provided input from the end user community that aided in specification development.
Approval and support by key international industry bodies gave users the confidence that their investments in FOUNDATION solutions were based on recognized global standards.