FOUNDATION Technology Overview

All Digital Closed-Loop Control for the Process Industry


Unlike other digital architectures, FOUNDATION Fieldbus was designed from the ground up to enable control-in-the-field (CIF) strategies across the plant. This means that during a host system failure, field instruments can communicate directly with one another to maintain continued safe operations. The technology includes a number of physical layers (the medium that the signal communicates through) and a rich software platform that allows for the over 1,000 registered products to interoperate between various manufacturers of devices and control systems — offering end users the flexibility to choose best-in-class solutions for their application.

FOUNDATION Fieldbus also supports the NAMUR NE107 recommendations for managing data from intelligent instrumentation. This ensures diagnostic data is managed effectively, and you only see the information you need to see, when you need it.

The FieldComm Group owns the FOUNDATION Fieldbus specifications and provides specification development, training, and product registration services associated with the technology.

FOUNDATION Fieldbus Explained

FOUNDATION Fieldbus is a bidirectional communication protocol that provides real-time, closed-loop control between intelligent field instruments and host systems. A host can be any software application: from a technician's handheld device or laptop, to a plant's process control, asset management, or safety system. Being a peer-to-peer system, communication can occur directly between two fieldbus-enabled field devices or between field devices and a control or asset management system. Given the all-digital nature of fieldbus, following industry guidelines on proper wiring and termination practices ensures reliable communication.

Roughly 90% of issues with digital communication are caused by physical layer installation mistakes. The good news is installing fieldbus is no harder than traditional systems!


FOUNDATION Fieldbus provides significant benefits for all types of industrial operations:

  • Control-in-the-field (device to device communication)
  • Closed-loop control (sensor feedback)
  • Reduced cabling (multiple devices per cable)
  • Reduced hardware (via VirtualMarshalling™)
  • Reduced system footprint (fewer I/O cards, devices, cable tray, etc.)
  • Reduced device count (multivariable devices)
  • Faster commissioning (compared to traditional approaches)
  • Tighter control constraints (via control in the field)
  • Enhanced diagnostics (via higher power availability and signal status)
  • Easy online upgrades (bumpless transfer allows upgrades from the comfort of your work console)

FOUNDATION Fieldbus Basics


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