The Fieldbus Foundation’s plant automation solutions continue to progress based on changing market requirements. At the forefront of current developments is Foundation for safety instrumented functions (SIF). This project was initiated in response to process end users, who want to realise the CAPEX and OPEX benefits of open and interoperable fieldbus technology in their plant safety systems.
Foundation Fieldbus, with its industry-proven distributed function blocks and open communications protocol, is an ideal platform for advancing standards-based solutions for SIFs. Foundation for SIF provides powerful diagnostic capabilities improving a wide range of safety instrumented functions and streamlining device testing requirements. This technology offers new opportunities to optimise asset management initiatives and reduce plant operating expenses.
The Foundation for SIF solution meets the rigorous requirements of the IEC 61508 standard for functional safety of electrical, electronic and programmable electronic safety-related systems, up to, and including, Safety Integrity Level (SIL) 3. In addition, end users can build systems per the IEC 61511 standard covering SIF functional safety in the process industries (IEC 61511 is available as the ANSI/ISA-84.00.01-2004 standard).
Third-party agencies will safety certify Foundation for SIF devices, and the Fieldbus Foundation will test and register them for interoperability. End users can apply the requirements specified in the IEC 61511 standard to determine the SIL needed for their particular application, and then select interoperable, safety-certified fieldbus devices from multiple suppliers for use in their safety systems.
Wireless moving forward
The Fieldbus Foundation, together with the HART Communication Foundation and Profibus Nutzerorganisation e.V. (PNO), has formed a wireless cooperation team that is developing an interface specification and compliance guidelines to integrate a universally accepted wireless solution into the HART, Foundation Fieldbus, PROFIBUS and PROFINET communications networks. The common interface is intended to make it easier for automation end-users to take advantage of evolving wireless technologies.
The cooperative wireless solution will enable wireless data to be collected and sent to a host system via an HSE backhaul network – either wired or wireless. It will also allow wireless communication with intelligent field devices in a wide range of process measurement and control applications.
In late 2008, the Fieldbus Foundation and ISA entered into a cross-licensing agreement allowing the two organisations to collaborate on wireless networks. This agreement will assist the ISA100.15 working group in developing a wireless backhaul standard.
The Fieldbus Foundation recognises the opportunities that are emerging with wireless applications and believes that effectively interfacing with ISA100 systems will serve as a basis for extending the value and applicability of Foundation technology in industry.
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