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First Fieldbus Foundation EMEA Conference at Mannheim, Germany

Mannheim, Germany, December 1, 2006 — The Fieldbus Foundation held its inaugural EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) conference in Mannheim, Germany during the last week in September. This year's meeting was hosted by Pepperl+Fuchs at the company's headquarters. Attendees included the Foundation's regional chairmen from across the continent and several experienced users of Foundation technology. The conference was organised to discuss future developments of Foundation technology, exchange information between users and manufacturers and to establish the strategies for the activities of the various national Fieldbus Foundation Committees.

Forty delegates participated during this three day event including representatives of leading manufacturers and major users of Foundation fieldbus technology. The first conference day was dedicated to an open forum of Fieldbus Foundation officials and experienced users, including fieldbus experts from Shell Global Solutions, Sabic, Degussa, Storck, Dow and Shin-etsu. After the opening address by Marc Van Pelt, Fieldbus Foundation Vice President -EMEA operations and sales director of Pepperl+Fuchs, the president and CEO of the Fieldbus Foundation, Richard Timoney, presented a five year projection of fieldbus development, emphasising the increasing integration of plant control and business intelligence. Fieldbus Foundation system architecture is the essential base to drive this process. Dr. Gunther Kegel, chairman of the Fieldbus Foundation EMEA Executive Advisory Council and CEO of Pepperl+Fuchs, outlined the current state of acceptance of fieldbus technology and, in particular, the different market perceptions regarding investment and operational cost benefits of fieldbus technology. The discussion produced several key points which will help to further increase the efficiency of fieldbus. Several attendees supported the idea of establishing a User Group to enhance the continuous flow of information between users, the Fieldbus Foundation and manufacturers.

Fieldbus Foundation Holds Inaugural EMEA Conference
EMEA Conference Attendees discuss future developments of Foundation technology and activities


The second day of the conference concentrated on how the Foundation is organised to support fieldbus users within EMEA. The national committee chairmen of Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Middle East, Russia and UK presented their activities and ideas for the future. The subsequent workshops as well as a meeting of the Fieldbus Foundation EMEA Steering Committee on the third day of the conference resulted in a regional plan on how to communicate the benefits of Foundation technology. These benefits range from faster commissioning, reduced maintenance costs, higher quality of plant control information and enhanced asset management to further investment cost savings due to multivariable field devices.

The major focus in all countries will be the organisation of forums for consulting engineers and users of process automation technology in order to allow for the exchange of experiences and the familiarisation of future-oriented fieldbus technology. Several events are already scheduled for late 2006 and early 2007, including the Multaqua in Bahrain in December 2006 and the End User Forum in Marl, Germany, in February 2007, together with  the participation at the Interkama fair in Hannover, Germany, 16.-20.04.07. Further dates will be published on the Fieldbus Foundation website.

These events will be accompanied by seminars of the Fieldbus Foundation training centres and dedicated literature and end user studies.

Technical workgroups within the Fieldbus Foundation are working on future-oriented technologies such as Remote I/O over High-Speed Ethernet (HSE), Safety Integrated Systems up to SIL 3 (FF-SIS) and further enhancements of Electronic Device Description Language (EDDL), the latter in a joint effort with Profibus User Organisation, HART Foundation and OPC.

The ultimate highlight of the conference was the unveiling of the new Fieldbus Foundation website which will form the central information base for fieldbus technology. The new site has a truly global look and feel with dedicated sections for world regions and individual countries. Here all technical guidelines, experience reports and fieldbus specifications are easily accessible, accompanied by a comprehensive overview of available products fully tested for fieldbus interoperability as well as information on national fieldbus events. Do not hesitate to visit this site.

Next year's meeting will be hosted by MTL, Luton, England during the fall of the year.


About the Fieldbus Foundation

The Fieldbus Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation consisting of over 350 leading process and manufacturing automation companies worldwide whose major purpose is to provide an open and neutral environment for the development of a single, international, interoperable fieldbus.  In this environment, end users, manufacturers, universities and research organisations are working together to develop the technology, provide development tools, support and training, coordinate field trials and demonstrations, and enable product interoperability. Visit the web site at


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