Fieldbus Foundation launches safety initiative

Austin, TX—The Fieldbus Foundation has launched a program to develop FOUNDATION fieldbus technical specifications and guidelines for safety instrumented systems.


Austin, TX— The Fieldbus Foundation compliant with IEC standards.

Directed by FF's Technical Steering Committee, the FFSIS project involves leading device suppliers and end-users worldwide, including prominent companies, such as Exxon Mobil, Saudi Aramco, Shell Global Solutions and Dupont. Many participants support the ISA's SP84 committee's work, which is developing U.S. industry guidelines for incorporating the IEC 61511 standard, which addresses the application of safety instrumented systems for the process industries; and the IEC 61508 standard, which covers safety-related systems that are electrotechnical. These include electromechanical, solid-state electronic and computer-based systems.

The FFSIS project team will prepare a safety-requirements specification and safety manual for FOUNDATION fieldbus according to the IEC 61508 guidelines. End-users taking part in the initiative will develop an end-user safety manual incorporating IEC 61511 requirements.

David Glanzer, FF's technology development director, says the FFSIS project will allow end-users to take advantage of open fieldbus technologies to improve integration and interoperability of safety instrumentation, while reducing system costs.

''FOUNDATION fieldbus, with its industry-proven distributed function blocks and open communications protocol, is an ideal platform for advancing standards-based safety system technology,'' says Mr. Glanzer. ''The foundation's board of directors approved a program last October to develop FOUNDATION fieldbus technical specifications for safety instrumented systems. The response from our membership was overwhelming, and the team's kickoff meeting was held in January, 2003, to develop the detailed project development schedule.''

As part of their FFSIS work, the foundation and device manufacturers will develop safety concepts and products which comply with IEC 61508, and third-party certifiers will evaluate the Safety Integrity Level (SIL) capability of suppliers' instruments based on the standard. In addition, end-users will evaluate the safety requirements for their shutdown systems according to IEC 61511 requirements.

Mr. Glanzer believes the industry will benefit from concepts resulting from collaboration between the supplier and end-user communities on the FFSIS project.

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Jim Montague, news editor

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