Bandwagon version of IEC 61158 approved by committee

When is an international fieldbus standard not standard? When it consists of eight non-interoperable protocols, according to some involved in the process.Despite this proprietary pile-up, the eight-part IEC 61158 proposed fieldbus standard was approved in a 25-4 vote before Dec.

02/01/2000


When is an international fieldbus standard not standard? When it consists of eight non-interoperable protocols, according to some involved in the process.

Despite this proprietary pile-up, the eight-part IEC 61158 proposed fieldbus standard was approved in a 25-4 vote before Dec. 31, 1999, by participating national committee members of the International Electrotechnical Commission's (IEC) SC65C subcommittee. The vote gave IEC 61158 an 88% approval rate, far more than the 67% required for passage.

Four more positive votes from nonparticipating SC65C members pushed IEC 61158's overall approval to 88%, again more than the 75% required. Negative ballots were cast by Canada, France, the Russian Federation, and Japan. Italy abstained, while Brazil was not allowed to vote for nonpayment of dues.

Still in final draft international standard (FDIS) form, IEC 61158's Data Link Layer and Application Layer documents and results of the vote went back to the IEC's Committee of Action (CoA). The eight-part IEC 61158 was expected to secure the 10 positive CoA votes required for a two-thirds majority, making it the long-sought international fieldbus standard. If it falls short of final approval, then the CoA would discuss IEC 61158 further at its meeting in February or March.

"If this eight-part version is approved, we will have what's is called a catalog standard or a Chinese menu standard," says Dick Caro, convenor of SC65C's Working Group 6 (WG6). "Instead of giving users and vendors guidance, this will allow some vendors to claim their products meet an international standard. I think this would be very hollow and cheapens the idea of international standards."

Seven protocols were added to the proposed IEC 61158 fieldbus standard in October 1999. This followed a CoA ruling in June 1999, which required that a second protocol be added to IEC 61158. As a result, WG6 members met later that month in Ottawa, Canada, where they met with vendor representatives, who unveiled a "memorandum of understanding" signed two weeks earlier. After spending years fighting IEC 61158, the vendors joined at the last minute because it was on-track to become the international standard, even if a second protocol wasn't added.

This last-ditch effort resulted in the eight-part IEC 61158 now on the brink of final approval. It includes the original IEC 61158 protocols, plus tacked-on, parallel protocols from ControlNet, Profibus, Interbus, P-Net, WorldFIP, SwiftNet, and the Fieldbus Foundation's high-speed Ethernet protocol.

"Users have told me they're dissatisfied and feel disenfranchised by this whole process. They campaigned for a single standard, and now—bloop!—it's gone," adds Mr. Caro. "The vendors are just serving themselves. As a result, it's going to be much harder for a user to ask vendors to comply with part of a multiple standard, rather than comply with all of a single standard."





No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners.
Control Engineering Leaders Under 40 identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Learn more about methods used to ensure that the integration between the safety system and the process control...
Adding industrial toughness and reliability to Ethernet eGuide
Technological advances like multiple-in-multiple-out (MIMO) transmitting and receiving
Virtualization advice: 4 ways splitting servers can help manufacturing; Efficient motion controls; Fill the brain drain; Learn from the HART Plant of the Year
Two sides to process safety: Combining human and technical factors in your program; Preparing HMI graphics for migrations; Mechatronics and safety; Engineers' Choice Awards
Detecting security breaches: Forensic invenstigations depend on knowing your networks inside and out; Wireless workers; Opening robotic control; Product exclusive: Robust encoders
The Ask Control Engineering blog covers all aspects of automation, including motors, drives, sensors, motion control, machine control, and embedded systems.
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
News and comments from Control Engineering process industries editor, Peter Welander.
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
This is a blog from the trenches – written by engineers who are implementing and upgrading control systems every day across every industry.
Anthony Baker is a fictitious aggregation of experts from Callisto Integration, providing manufacturing consulting and systems integration.
Integrator Guide

Integrator Guide

Search the online Automation Integrator Guide
 

Create New Listing

Visit the System Integrators page to view past winners of Control Engineering's System Integrator of the Year Award and learn how to enter the competition. You will also find more information on system integrators and Control System Integrators Association.

Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Control Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.