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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Fieldbus Foundation’s Latest Interoperability Test Kit Raises Field Device Intelligence

Fieldbus Foundation logoPlant and process automation advocate Fieldbus Foundation has released a new version of its H1 Interoperability Test Kit (ITK) for troubleshooting and debugging Foundation fieldbus instruments, which are smart, automated field devices. The H1 ITK 6.1.0 tests the functionality of an H1 fieldbus device and its conformity with the Foundation function block and transducer block specifications. The new version is said to include new features to enhance device intelligence, improve consistency in instrument configuration, and simplify replacement of field devices from different automation suppliers.

A new series of standardized function blocks and transducer blocks have been added to the library of Foundation fieldbus block test cases (which include those for flow, pressure, temperature, analog positioner and discrete positioner) and enable greater test coverage for device developers, which use the test kit to run device interoperability tests before submitting their products to the Fieldbus Foundation for registration. The new block test cases include flow totalizer, analog alarm, control selector and output splitter, which support expanded device applications for control-in-the-field. A new flow transducer block is intended to simplify device integration with Foundation fieldbus networks.

The new test cases, focused on backwards compatibility with Foundation fieldbus devices, supports device replacement automation and enables the H1 ITK 6.1.0 to verify behavior between device and host implementations in fieldbus-based control systems. Device replacement automation allows the configuration in an existing field device to be automatically restored in a newer version of that instrument. The standardized transducer blocks also simplifies device replacement by enabling a minimum level of configuration across all types of field instruments.

The H1 ITK 6.1.0, the Fieldbus Foundation says, moves control logic functionality from the distributed control system level to the field-device level and eases implementation of control-in-the-field strategies as part of plant automation practices. Doing so also reduces system failure because there is no longer a single point of failure in the control system above the field-device level.

The test kit is available to Fieldbus Foundation members with active maintenance agreements and for new purchases. More information can be found at the organization’s website,




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