Fieldbus utility: Software simplifies configuration, diagnostics with smart sensors

By Control Engineering Staff November 16, 2006

Although fieldbus platforms have many advantages over hardwiring, one you may not think of right away is device management. Fieldbus networks facilitate communication of devices to the control system, but also the system to its devices. Invensys recently introduced a new field device manager utility for its Foxboro I/A series DCS that reportedly provides a toolset for configuration, commissioning, diagnosis, and optimization of smart field devices.

This utility doesn’t work everywhere, but if you are using Invensys’ I/A series DCS and FOUNDATION Fieldbus, you can take advantage of the latest enhanced electronic device description language (enhanced EDDL) and field device tool (FDT) technologies. More versions are on the way to expand the capabilities to include other fieldbus protocols and their Infusion DCS, but for now, this is their only offering.

These functions are one of the main benefits of fieldbus technology, according to Charlie Piper, fieldbus product manager at Foxboro. “Perhaps the benefit that provides users with the most long-term value is the capability to utilize advanced device management applications in their host systems that can interact with performance diagnostics resident in their intelligent field devices,” he notes. This new utility enables users to take advantage of any EDDL, enhanced EDDL, and FDT host currently supplied by the device vendor.

“Enhanced device descriptions and FDT device type managers represent the very latest open technologies for intelligent device support,” says Ken Brown, president of Invensys Process Systems. “Rather than being competing technologies, these can work together synergistically to provide users with unmatched configuration, commissioning, and diagnostic support for their FOUNDATION Fieldbus devices, support that enables users to realize the full and considerable benefits of open fieldbus technology.”

Control Engineering Daily News Desk Peter Welander , process industries editor