ISA Expo 2006: New wireless capability will bring smart sensors to legacy environments

11/16/2006


Smart sensors can give more information about your process, but only if you can hear what they have to say. In an environment where instrumentation is hard wired with only analog process variable information, there is no mechanism to communicate diagnostics. But soon, wireless networks will provide a method that crosses vendor platforms. HART Communications Foundation's impressive display at ISA last month in Houston brought together a dozen companies to endorse a coming standard for wireless solutions to support smart instrumentation in new and legacy environments.

"Of the 20 million-plus HART-enabled devices currently installed around the globe, only 10% are delivering their full diagnostic potential, a state of affairs that is poised for change," says Ron Helson, HCF executive director. "Development of the Wireless HART standard along with the new enhanced DDL (device description language) capabilities opens the door to the untapped functions in HART devices and simplifies the task of integrating instrumentation from multiple vendors into plant asset optimization systems."

If you have some of those 90% of HART devices that only deliver a process variable, and want to use the diagnostic capabilities but can't afford rewiring or changing to a fieldbus platform, wireless communication may indeed be the answer. HART demonstrated how the process variable can continue to come to the DCS via existing wiring, while digital diagnostic information can be transmitted using a wireless adapter in parallel. A wireless gateway provides the path for these data to reach your device management application. In new applications, the same wireless network can also carry the process variable, eliminating the need for cabling entirely.

HART stressed the universality of the coming standard, showing that wireless HART-enabled instrumentation from one vendor will be compatible with any other, at least as far as communication capability is concerned. Devices from any of the participating companies ( Click here for a list ) will talk to each other and gateways, eliminating the need for proprietary platforms, just as groups of manufacturers support the same fieldbuses in the wired world. The common denominator is the HART protocol. Given the rapid advances made in the last few years, wireless communication in industrial settings enjoys greater reliability, flexibility, and lower costs than ever before. Now there may be some welcome common elements that will drive functional compatibilities, too.

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Peter Welander , process industries editor





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.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Learn how to create value with re-use; gain productivity with lean automation and connectivity, and optimize panel design and construction.
Go deep: Automation tackles offshore oil challenges; Ethernet advice; Wireless robotics; Product exclusives; Digital edition exclusives
Lost in the gray scale? How to get effective HMIs; Best practices: Integrate old and new wireless systems; Smart software, networks; Service provider certifications
Fixing PID: Part 2: Tweaking controller strategy; Machine safety networks; Salary survey and career advice; Smart I/O architecture; Product exclusives
The Ask Control Engineering blog covers all aspects of automation, including motors, drives, sensors, motion control, machine control, and embedded systems.
Look at the basics of industrial wireless technologies, wireless concepts, wireless standards, and wireless best practices with Daniel E. Capano of Diversified Technical Services Inc.
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
This is a blog from the trenches – written by engineers who are implementing and upgrading control systems every day across every industry.
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

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.