HART Communication: The next 20 years and beyond

Innovation, global growth, business value, and standardization will be key as HART Communication looks to expand.

04/17/2014


April 2014 HART supplement in Control EngineeringIn 2013, the HART Communication Foundation celebrated 20 years serving the process automation industry, an era in which the HART Protocol became the recognized global standard for field communications in the process industry. What’s next?

Innovation

The sound technology principals of the protocol’s design have enabled users to “Get Connected” to valuable process and device data within the plant…in a cost-effective way with minimal disruption of the operation. Leveraging HART data in real-time delivers a compelling financial value proposition to improve plant performance from asset intelligence derived from the data. New ways to connect and capture this value will drive the need for more products and solutions and become the basis for our strategy for the next 20 years.

For example, rapid global acceptance of the WirelessHART standard enhances the technology’s functionality and preserves its future viability indefinitely. In addition, the need to connect large amounts of data to enterprise and asset management systems for decision support has resulted in the latest HART capability, HART-IP. HART over Ethernet provides a high bandwidth connection between host systems, HART-enabled I/O, gateways and devices using standard networking infrastructure.

Global growth 

HART technology has a rapidly growing global footprint with over 40 million HART-based devices in use in the majority of industrialized countries of the world. Today high user demand has resulted in suppliers shipping HART-based products in record numbers—according to recent ARC Advisory Group research, nearly 80% of process measurement and control devices delivered each year use HART. 

This growth is further evidenced by the now more than 300 Foundation member companies from all major world areas. The Foundation continues to partner with the top innovative manufacturers of process automation solutions to expand these global markets as they expand their use of the HART Protocol. 

In addition to our main office in Austin, Texas, Foundation offices in Europe, China, and Japan provide strong technical support and leadership in these world areas with local language technical training, seminars, workshops, trade shows and conferences. 

We will continue to drive the support and infrastructure for all of these world areas enabling them to enjoy the benefits of HART technology. In addition, we will continue to work with other leading standards organizations to deliver valuable solutions to industry users. 

Standardization 

The HART Communication Foundation is committed to having our standards approved by all leading standards organizations around the world. The HART Protocol has recently been approved as a China GB/T National Standard; and recent enhancements to the protocol comply with NAMUR NE107 guidelines that standardize device display and alert information. For the global user community, international standardization reinforces their confidence in the reliability and interoperability of this valuable technology. 

Efficient and economically viable device integration with hosts requires multiprotocol standardized technology that makes device information available across systems and applications from different manufacturers. The HCF joined the other major protocol foundations, FDT Group, Fieldbus Foundation, PI, and OPC Foundation, to establish a common technology for device information management in the process industries. A single scalable solution for field device integration, FDI simplifies and standardizes device and host integration to address end user requirements throughout all areas of the plant.

Business value 

For us, the next 20 years will be about continuing to deliver bottom-line business benefits to process manufacturers. 

New offerings from industry suppliers to the HART ecosystem are making it easier than ever for users to adopt the proactive and predictive maintenance strategies that full-time HART communication makes possible. Connectivity to the enterprise for visualization, analytics and integration into other systems will multiply the value that real-time HART communication can bring to a business. 

We are excited to work with our members and user community to forge the future strategy of HART Communication and leverage new technologies to help users “Get Connected” in real-time to the valuable information in their HART devices. Users who plan to upgrade or expand an existing plant, or build a new plant for sustainable and globally competitive operation, will reap the benefits when they “Get Connected” using HART communication for the next 20 years and beyond. 

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