Study: Fieldbus Foundation leads process industries


Houston, TX —FOUNDATION fieldbus technology accounts for over two-thirds of process fieldbus revenues, according to a study prepared by the ARC Advisory Group . The Fieldbus Foundation announced the survey results at its 2007 General Assembly, Feb. 22, saying the 'new research confirms its dominance of fieldbus protocols in the process industries.' In separate meeting news, a second source application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) is available for the FOUNDATION H1 technology.

In the study titled, 'Fieldbus Solutions in the Process Industries Worldwide Outlook,' the ARC Advisory Group, a manufacturing research and advisory firm based in Dedham, MA, reported that the global market for fieldbus solutions (those protocols included in IEC 61158) in the process industries reached $831.7 million in 2006. ARC projects current growth trends will expand the fieldbus market to over $2,279 million in 2011 (a 22.3% compound annual growth rate, CAGR), with FOUNDATION technology increasing its leadership with a strong double-digit growth.

Rich Timoney, Fieldbus Foundation president and CEO, said the new study is a key barometer of rising FOUNDATION technology demand. 'As found in the ARC report, fieldbus protocols have gone 'mainstream.' Our technology is no longer confined to 'early adopter' industries such as petrochemicals and refining; increasingly, we are the solution of choice in industries like power, pulp and paper, and pharmaceuticals. Our members report sales of fieldbus-based products are increasing at a rapid pace, and are now a significant portion of their overall business activity,' Timoney said. 'Users are starting to understand that FOUNDATION technology is more than a communication network. It truly is an automation infrastructure that brings very positive returns to the bottom-line by enabling extensive business intelligence, process integrity, and open and scalable integration.'

Paula Hollywood, ARC senior process automation analyst and principal author of the study, observed, 'Initially, the primary advantage of fieldbus was portrayed as reduced wiring, installation, and commissioning costs…end-users are actually realizing greater benefits on the Operational Expenditure (OpEx) side in the form of quality improvements because of bi-directional digital communications and improved process efficiency due to linked intelligent devices that are capable of remote diagnostics.' ARC's surveyrespondents also indicated that improved maintenance-technician and field-operator productivity is the greatest benefit of fieldbus experienced to date, she said, adding, 'There is a clear indication that fieldbus has made its way into the culture of process automation…users are moving beyond theearly nuts-and-bolts concerns of deploying the technology and making it work to realize the lifecycle benefits of fieldbus.'

Much of the worldwide growth for fieldbus can be attributed to robust functionality enabling integration of field data with asset management applications, and providing connectivity to safety systems through TÜV-approved fieldbus networks and other applications via technologies such as OPC, ARC said. Fieldbus solutions will expand in functionality to fit a broader range of applications, the research said. ARC also indicated developing markets such as Brazil, Russia, India, and China will experience thegreatest fieldbus growth. Its study described Asia/Pacific as a 'fieldbus growth engine,' much the same as it has been for the process automation industry at large, with CAGR approaching 32%; and predicted Latin America would see a fieldbus growth rate of nearly 34% for combined IEC fieldbus protocols.

Aside from oil and gas, refining, petrochemical, and other 'early adopters,' ARC found a powerful value proposition for fieldbus in the hybrid industries—namely, food and beverage and pharmaceuticals, particularly when it comes to easing the process of validation and regulatory compliance and the integration of batch procedural operations with continuous processes. The function block structure of FOUNDATION technology lends itself to these processes very well. As the study concluded, the most important fieldbus advantages exist in maintenance and operations. The technology itself is not a cost saver, but according to ARC, serves as 'an enabler to a new level of asset management effectiveness that can significantly reduce operating costs and contribute to operational excellence.'

2nd source FOUNDATION fieldbus chip available : The Fieldbus Foundation also announced availability of a new fieldbus ASIC for device developers incorporating FOUNDATION H1 (31.25 kbit/s) technology in field devices and controllers. Developed jointly by Softing and Aniotek Inc ., the UFC100-F1 (Unified Fieldbus Controller) is a fully pin- and software-compatible alternative to the Yamaha YTZ420 ('FIND1+') chip. Conformance, interoperability, and physical layer tests were performed to verify that the UFC100-F1 is a direct replacement for the YTZ420 ASIC. The advantages of the new chip include, but are not limited to, improved jitter tolerance and a larger first-in/first-out (FIFO) memory—resulting in fewer interruptions to the field device processor. It's the second H1 chip available.

Fieldbus shipments, process industries
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2006 Revenues

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2011 Revenue

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Source: ARC Advisory Group, Fieldbus Foundation

—Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Edited by Mark T. Hoske , editor in chief

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