FieldComm Group collaborates on Foundation fieldbus, HART technologies, FDI

Post-merger planning of the Fieldbus Foundation and HART Communication Foundation organizations focuses on reassuring members and users that support and investments in both communications technologies will continued and that the board, working group committees, and end-user council will balance interests of HART, FF, and FDI for devices, systems, and interface suppliers.

02/12/2015


Ted Masters, executive director of FieldComm Group, is working with many interests to build consensus among stakeholders for FDI, Foundation fieldbus, and HART technologies, as explained at the ARC Forum 2015, Feb. 10, 2015. Courtesy: CFE Media, Mark T. HThe mission of the FieldComm Group, which combines the 
Fieldbus Foundation and HART Communication Foundation, is to: "Develop, manage and promote global standards for integrating digital devices into automation system architectures while protecting process automation investments in the HART and Foundation fieldbus communication technologies," explained Ted Masters, executive director, FieldComm Group.

That has included a fair amount of reassuring of members, Masters said, including subtle things like moving into a third nearby location rather than into either of the originating organization's locations, just a few buildings apart. He spoke to Control Engineering, Plant Engineering, and Oil & Gas Engineering, CFE Media publications, at the ARC Forum in Orlando, Fla., on Feb. 10. 

Process communication, collaboration

Work since the consolidation (see Sept. 5, 2014, Control Engineering article) has included:

  • Technology roadmap to align with market needs and technologies is being developed in the Strategic Technology Committee, a committee of technology leaders appointed by the board.
  • Establishing the presence of an end-user advisory council to guide the FieldComm Group to ensure user needs and requirements are prioritized.
  • Organizational structure to better support product development, registration, and testing.
  • Emphasis of the value of data across the enterprise as the core value of FieldComm Group.
  • Support and development of field device integration (FDI) (see Nov. 24, 2014, Control Engineering article), a technology aimed at integrating a common purpose across technologies, supporting a "cultural revolution" in process automation markets, according to FieldComm Group. PNO organization is a FDI co-owner, so those FDI market needs for Profibus and Profinet also will be supported.
  • FieldComm Group is intended to be the home of FDI for development of the product with collaboration with other protocols through one working group structure. The plan to transition this technology into FieldComm Group would be for late summer when the FDI LLC dissolves pending board approval, Masters said.
  • These working groups also support collaboration and standards harmonization for projects to benefit the industry such as harmonization of the EDDL (Electronic Device Description Language).
  • Board of directors with a balance of FDI, FF, and HART interests; a balance of device, systems, and interface suppliers; global representation aligning with membership; a Strategic Technical Committee to ensure alignment with market and technology needs; and an end-user council providing more guidance and direction.

Global meetings

Meetings three times per year alternate among North America, Europe, and Asia, Masters said, with the first in Innsbruck, Austria, at the end of February. The first meeting already has a greater than anticipated number of participants, overbooked due to heightened interests. First public display of the new organization will be at the ACHEMA trade fair in June in Frankfurt, Germany.

With these efforts, plus seven main working groups, "We want to ensure every voice is heard, and consensus is built, protecting the technology investments made by users and suppliers," Masters explained. Learn more at www.fieldcommgroup.org.

- Mark T. Hoske, content manager, CFE Media, Control Engineering, mhoske@cfemedia.com.



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