Fieldbus Foundation Remote Operations Management Strategy |

Fieldbus Foundation Remote Operations Management Strategy

March 212012
Fieldbus Foundation Remote Operations Management Strategy
March 2012
By Bill Lydon, Editor
In December of 2011, the Fieldbus Foundation had a meeting at Lee College to discuss their FOUNDATION for Remote Operations Management initiative. The FOUNDATION for Remote Operations Management (ROM) concepts came about based on the input from Fieldbus Foundation End User Council (EUC). The Fieldbus Foundation has regional End User Councils around the world that provide an open forum for the exchange of information about the application and development of fieldbus technology based on user needs.
Larry O’Brien, Global Marketing Manager of the Fieldbus Foundation, defined the goal of FOUNDATION for Remote Operations Management (ROM) as linking people that understand the processes and equipment in a secure fashion around the world to achieve faster start-up time and reduced operating costs.   O’Brien further explained the reasons for the development of ROM noting that plant operations are becoming more geographically dispersed, increasingly hard to reach, and in many cases, located in hazardous areas. The major application areas envisioned for ROM include oil & gas pipeline, offshore platforms, oil & gas fields, water & wastewater, tank farms, terminal automation, mining, and the growing applications in subsea production. The new generation of pipelines also benefit from the application of ROM. O’Brien used a quote from Forbes magazine to frame the situation with pipelines, “…a new generation of mega pipelines is being built to bring massive amounts of natural gas from some of the most remote regions of the world to many of the most densely populated centers of commerce and industry.”
ROM helps achieve the goal of keeping people out of harm’s way, reducing personnel requirements, and moving towards a “Lights Out” operation. ROM provides users with a way to securely get a real time view into what’s happening in widely dispersed remote assets. In the event of loss of communication, users can assess the state of the assets as well as the state of the process while the process keeps running safely. ROM utilizes wireless and wired infrastructure for remote assets and applications, all within FOUNDATION fieldbus. ROM accomplishes these goals by providing a structure and framework built on the FOUNDATION Fieldbus architecture that can be efficiently configured.   ROM minimizes the custom software and control programming that is required today to create remote operations. ROM takes advantage of the increased level of process and diagnostic information from fieldbus-compatible devices, enabling users to make intelligent operations and maintenance decisions.
Leveraging ISA100.11a and WirelessHART
The FOUNDATION for Remote Operations Management development is also part of the Fieldbus Foundation’s continuing initiative to design and deploy an infrastructure that will accommodate evolving wireless standards, inclusive of WirelessHART® and ISA100.11a.  FOUNDATION for ROM provides an interface to both technologies and uses Electronic Device Description Language (EDDL) and function blocks to ensure interoperability with other FOUNDATION for ROM devices.
Networked Field Devices Communicate Remote Readings and Status
Within the FOUNDATION automation architecture, H1 (31.25 kbit/s) and HSE (100 Mbit/s) provide a distributed function block capability with HSE providing higher bandwidth communications where required. The FOUNDATION for Remote Operations Management solution has open, non-proprietary specifications for an interface to wireless field device networks, a wired HSE backhaul, and a wireless HSE backhaul integrating various wireless sensor networks.
New Function Block
FOUNDATION for ROM adds the new a new function block to provide an efficient way to bring large concentrations of discrete and analog field I/O back to the control room using HSE communication. The new Association Block can aggregate 64 discrete inputs/outputs and 16 analog inputs/outputs. There is also a new function block for WirelessHART that includes HART statuses. The FOUNDATION for ROM may be embedded into existing devices including RTU, controller, PLC, PAC, and SCADA devices.
Device status is reported using the NAMUR NE 107 framework, based on five states:
  • Normal: valid output signal
  • Maintenance Required: still valid output signal
  • Out of Specification: signal out of the specified range
  • Function Check: temporary, non-valid output signal
  • Failure: non-valid output signal
This creates consistent status reports for operators who can then view remote data for further analysis.
Validation Results
At a validation team meeting in November of 2010 at the Fieldbus Foundation’s facility in Austin, Texas, the first FOUNDATION for ROM device interconnecting WirelessHART devices to a wireless HSE backhaul network was tested successfully. The WirelessHART process parameters were mapped into transducer blocks according to the specification, and communicated over the wireless backhaul network using the HSE protocol.   As part of the proof of concept testing for the FOUNDATION for ROM technical specifications, the Fieldbus Foundation’s Interoperability Test Kit (ITK) system tested FOUNDATION for ROM devices over a 300 Mbit/s wireless Wi-Fi backhaul network.
Thoughts & Observations
I am impressed with FOUNDATION for Remote Operations Management, because it is the first open architecture framework to organize remote operations. This ability will save users a great deal of time and money.
The normalization of data from ISA100.11a, WirelessHART, and other networks into a Fieldbus function block provides users with a way to deal with multiple control systems at the lowest level in the system architecture so that their operational systems can function consistently.
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