HART users meet next at ISA; wireless underway

In the process industries, HART is the most-used network, according to HART Communications Foundation (HCF), so it's time end-users started getting together to discuss issues of common importance, such as better asset management and wireless.

By Control Engineering Staff May 4, 2006

In the process industries, HART is the most-used network, according to HART Communications Foundation (HCF), so it’s time end-users started getting together to discuss issues of common importance, such as better asset management and wireless. End-users shared information at the OMAC meeting held during and after the ARC Group conference in February. Another meeting is planned for ISA Houston 2006, says Ed T. Ladd Jr., HCF director, technology programs. The effort to assemble end-users for education and information sharing follows a March 2005 opening of HCF membership to user companies.

With an estimated 20 million devices connected to HART globally, perhaps 10% are used beyond the point of a handheld communicator, Ladd told end-users; most don’t take advantage of HART’s continuous monitoring and diagnostic capabilities. Commenting on that under-utilization, one end-user present noted, “It seems like everything’s smart, but nobody’s listening.” Herman Storey, Shell Global Solutions Inc., senior automation consultant, says he’s seeking to monitor processes beyond devices.

HART offerings continue and capabilities expand. A high-speed HART specification is available and a HART wireless standard is on the way (by year-end), Ladd added. To move the standard along, the Wireless HART Working Group is coordinating activities with other industry wireless organizations, such as the ISA SP100 Wireless Committee, to ensure continuity with other wireless standardization efforts. HCF member companies participating in that working group include: ABB, Adaptive Instruments, Coronis, Dust Networks, Elpro Technologies, Emerson Process Management, Endress and Hauser, Flowserve, Honeywell, MacTek, Omnex Control Systems, Pepperl+Fuchs, Phoenix Contact, Sensicast, Siemens, Smar, and Yokogawa.

Other topics discussed at the end-user meeting also included: device configuration, safety and security, alarms prioritization, asset management, and predictive maintenance.

Sasol plants in South Africa documented several million dollars in savings from using HART, in part by avoiding several plant shutdowns. Read more from Control Engineering .

Click here for more about HART end-user membership.

Click here for more about the market for HART.

—Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering editor in chief,
MHoske@cfemedia.com