THIS YEAR’S CHALLENGE has been about conducting business as usual in highly unusual times. I am happy to report that FieldComm Group (FCG) has risen to the challenge. The efforts of our volunteers along with our dedicated staff have collaborated to build a FCG technology strategy that paves the way for user digitalization efforts. Check out the center spread in this supplement for a great visualization.
A few years back, we developed HART-IP to help provide a high-speed digital backhaul for the more than 50 million HART-enabled devices installed in your facilities. The industry is now working on technology that will bring secured, powered, two-wire, IP-enabled networking to HART-IP devices at the fi eld level, truly enabling the world’s most widely adopted process automation protocol for digitalization in the 21st century.
Ethernet-APL is the enabling technology for high speed networking to field devices It’s only a physical layer, but its use with automation protocols like HART-IP or FCG’s OPC UA-enabled Process Automation Device Information Model (PA-DIM) will enable a major change in the capabilities of process instruments. This combination enables an architecture that aligns with present day IT structured-data standards. The instrument itself can support PA-DIM or, as is the case with industry’s installed base, PA-DIM can be mapped from a protocol like HART. In either case, integration is vastly simplified — helping to bridge the IT/OT gap.
It’s highly gratifying to see end users fully embrace our technologies as has this year’s Plant of the Year winner, Dow Chemical - Texas Operations. Starting in 2014, Dow began a program to bring intelligent asset management systems to their operation. In the ensuing period, while integrating tens of thousands of HART, FOUNDATION Fieldbus and WirelessHART instruments across the largest chemical complex in the Western Hemisphere, Dow has saved tens of millions of dollars by boosting overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) and trimming instrumentation-related production losses by 80%. Finally, Dow is now embracing FDI as they have realized the benefits of the FDI Device Package, including readily accessible documentation and easy access to up-to-date configuration files and drivers.
All of these efforts are driven by the knowledge of our internal team and volunteers from member organizations. Our unique position as the leader in process automation communication standards allows us to continue to develop technology that advances the industry, while enabling integration with other system.
I hope you are as excited as I am about the technology direction of FieldComm Group as you learn more from the articles in this supplement. If you are not already involved, come join us!