Integration platform designed to unite disparate systems

Fieldbus Foundation unveils Foundation for Remote Operations Management, which aims at transforming the industrial remote operations market. Video: Larry O’Brien explains the underlying technical concepts.


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Larry O'Brien, global marketing manager for the Fieldbus Foundation, explains Foundation for ROM.

The Fieldbus Foundation has unveiled its Foundation for Remote Operations Management (ROM) solution, a new technology initiative intended to develop a unified digital infrastructure for asset management in remote applications such as tank farms, terminals, pipelines, offshore platforms, and even OEM equipment skids. The technology enables fieldbus connectivity to remote I/O and the leading industrial wireless protocols, including WirelessHART and ISA 100.11a. It provides an interface to these wireless technologies and uses Electronic Device Description Language (EDDL) and function blocks to ensure interoperability with Foundation for ROM devices.

Fieldbus Foundation global marketing manager Larry O'Brien explained, "Foundation for ROM is important because it is the first example of being able to integrate ISA 100.11a, WirelessHART, wired HART, and wired H1 protocols into a single standard environment. More importantly, it is one that does not sacrifice diagnostic capabilities of the existing wireless devices. Instead, we map these capabilities into our block structure to provide a standard environment for data management, quality, and more, eliminating today's solutions which are highly customized and much more costly to maintain throughout the plant lifecycle.

"Remote operations management is one of the fastest growing segments of the process automation business. However, it is also caught up in the turbulence of business challenges, technological change, personnel issues, and the need for operational excellence. With Foundation for ROM, industrial operations can implement a true predictive and proactive maintenance strategy for remote assets that could not previously support one. Data from devices on multiple networks, both wired and wireless, are tightly integrated into the Foundation fieldbus infrastructure, providing a single environment for management of diagnostic data, alarms and alerts, data quality, control in the field capability, and object oriented block structure."

Within the Foundation automation architecture, the H1 (31.25 kb/s) and HSE (100 Mb/s) fieldbus networks provide a distributed function block capability with HSE serving as a larger pipeline with increased speed and throughput. The new solution expands these capabilities by establishing 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 such as WiFi, satellite, cellular, and so forth. As part of this solution, it provides a way to bring large concentrations of discrete and analog field I/O back to the control room using HSE communication. This is a key element to improved integration of critical functional areas, including machinery health monitoring, safety interlocks, fire and gas detection systems, and video surveillance.

Having the ability to collect greater amounts of remote diagnostic data can provide significant improvement in labor costs by avoiding the need to send maintenance personnel on unnecessary trips to the field to check or diagnose problems with instrumentation. In the oil and gas industry, for example, having remote access to devices can reduce the exposure and risk operations personnel face in hazardous environments on an offshore platform or safety zone.

The Fieldbus Foundation contends that access to high-quality process and equipment health data ultimately increases a company's profitability by minimizing downtime and increasing production, which results from well-informed operational, maintenance, and management decisions. Experience has shown that a comprehensive remote operations management solution enables industrial organizations to respond faster to market conditions, increase efficiency, reduce downtime, and achieve higher production availability. It also minimizes the costs and risks associated with remote site visits-enabling fewer core personnel to meet the operational requirements of numerous facilities from a single secure location.

A variety of companies has participated in development of the Foundation ROM technical specifications, including: ABB, Abzil/Yamatake, Aniotek, Advanced Process Automation Technologies, Apprion, Belden/Hirschmann, Boeing, BP, Byres Security Inc./Tofino, Chevron, Cisco, Cooper Industries/MTL, EF Johnson, Emerson Process Management, Endress+Hauser, ExxonMobil, Fieldbus Diagnostics, Fieldbus Inc., General Electric, Geode Network Technologies, HART Communication Foundation, Herman Storey Consulting, Hodson Consulting, Honeywell, Industrial Automation Networks Inc., International Society of Automation, Invensys Process Systems, Maximum Control Technologies, National Instruments, OPUS Consulting, Pepperl+Fuchs, Phoenix Contact, Profibus Nutzerorganisation, R. Stahl, RuggedCom, Saudi Aramco, Shell Global Solutions, Siemens, Smar, Softing, Turck, Westlock Controls, Wi-Fi Sensors, Inc., and Yokogawa.

Edited by Peter Welander,

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