- January 07, 2019
January 8, 2018 — FieldComm Group has just released version 6.3.1 of the H1 Interoperability Test Kit (ITK), which further reinforces support for Standardized Connection Points (SCP). This developer-oriented tool allows automation suppliers to run a battery of tests against their field devices to ensure support for SCP. SCP represents a milestone within FieldComm Group’s FOUNDATION Fieldbus Usability Initiative, which has already delivered backwards compatibility enabling end users to replace an existing field device with a like device and have the new device operate in the preexisting state. This capability has made device replacement scenarios simpler and faster. A feature enhancement requested by the user community, SCP can be thought of as the familiar 4-20mA process for digital technology. When a field device and control system support SCP, the device can be installed on a FOUNDATION Fieldbus segment and immediately begin publishing its process variable (PV) to the system – providing important information to operators so they can safely keep their plant running until full integration can occur. By separating the PV from full integration, end users can get their process back online quickly without the need for a Device Description (DD) or other engineering staff. The impact of SCP can be explained in the following scenario: At 3 a.m. on Saturday, there is a skeleton crew running an otherwise familiar and uneventful process in the middle of a snowstorm. A critical device failure occurs and the control system is alarming. Operators must be able to get the system back to an operational state so they can run the plant in manual mode until the full staff returns on Monday morning. Prior to SCP, full DD integration would be required to bring the process back up, and that integration often requires multiple disciplines to be available. With SCP, field technicians can do basic device setup (e.g., add a device tag, units, etc.) and land wires, thus ensuring the plant is back online with the necessary information to run safely. FieldComm Group has a history of implementing user requested enhancements that include: NAMUR NE107 Device Diagnostics, Backward Compatibility, and Field Device Integration (FDI) that improves device and system integration that enables the IIoT. Field device suppliers can purchase or update their existing H1 ITK tools today and are encouraged on behalf of the user community to begin implementation as soon as possible. End users interested in SCP should speak to their suppliers about adding support within their product lines.