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Fieldbus Foundation Dominates Fieldbus Protocols In Process Industries

Foundation technology accounts for over two-thirds of process fieldbus revenues

HOUSTON, Texas, February 22, 2007 — The Fieldbus Foundation, conducting its 2007 General Assembly in Houston, Texas, today announced new research confirms its dominance of fieldbus protocols in the process industries.  According to a study prepared by the ARC Advisory Group, Foundation technology accounts for over two-thirds of process fieldbus revenues.

In a study titled, "Fieldbus Solutions in the Process Industries Worldwide Outlook," the ARC Advisory Group, a manufacturing research and advisory firm based in Dedham, MA, reported that the global market for fieldbus solutions (those protocols included in IEC 61158) in the process industries reached USD $831.7 million in 2006.  ARC projects current growth trends will expand the fieldbus market to over USD $2,279 million in 2011, with Foundation

technology increasing its leadership with a strong double-digit growth rate.

Fieldbus Foundation President and CEO Rich Timoney said the new study is a key barometer of rising Foundation technology demand.  "As found in the ARC report, fieldbus protocols have gone ‘mainstream.'  Our technology is no longer confined to ‘early adopter' industries such as petrochemicals and refining; increasingly, we are the solution of choice in industries like power, pulp & paper and pharmaceuticals.  Our members report sales of fieldbus-based products are increasing at a rapid pace, and are now a significant portion of their overall business activity," Timoney said.  "Users are starting to understand that Foundation technology is more than a communication network.  It truly is an automation infrastructure that brings very positive returns to the bottom-line by enabling extensive business intelligence, process integrity, and open and scalable integration."

ARC Sr. Process Automation Analyst Paula Hollywood, principal author of the study, observed, "Initially, the primary advantage of fieldbus was portrayed as reduced wiring, installation, and commissioning costs...end users are actually realizing greater benefits on the Operational Expenditure (OpEx) side in the form of quality improvements because of bi-directional digital communications and improved process efficiency due to linked intelligent devices that are capable of remote diagnostics.  ARC's 2006 Fieldbus End User Survey respondents also indicated that improved productivity of maintenance technicians and field operators as the greatest benefit of fieldbus experienced to date."

Hollywood added, "There is a clear indication that fieldbus has made its way into the culture of process automation...users are moving beyond the early nuts-and-bolts concerns of deploying the technology and making it work to realize the lifecycle benefits of fieldbus."

According to ARC, much of the worldwide growth for fieldbus can be attributed to robust functionality enabling integration of field data with asset management applications, and providing connectivity to safety systems through TÜV-approved fieldbus networks and other applications via technologies such as OPC.

Hollywood's report noted, "ARC expects fieldbus solutions will expand in functionality to fit a broader range of applications from the largest enterprises to more focused solutions that can grow in functionality as manufacturers increase investments."

ARC indicated developing markets such as Brazil, Russia, India and China will experience the greatest fieldbus growth.  Its study described Asia/Pacific as a "fieldbus growth engine," much the same as it has been for the process automation industry at large, with CAGR approaching 32 percent; and predicted Latin America would see a fieldbus growth rate of nearly 34 percent for combined IEC fieldbus protocols.

Aside from oil & gas, refining, petrochemical and other "early adopters," ARC found a powerful value proposition for fieldbus in the hybrid industries-namely, food & beverage and pharmaceutical, particularly when it comes to easing the process of validation and regulatory compliance and the integration of batch procedural operations with continuous processes.  The function block structure of Foundation technology lends itself to these processes very well.

As the study concluded, the most important fieldbus advantages exist in maintenance and operations.  The technology itself is not a cost saver, but according to ARC, serves as "an enabler to a new level of asset management effectiveness that can significantly reduce operating costs and contribute to operational excellence."

About the ARC Advisory Group

Founded in 1986, ARC Advisory Group has grown to become the Thought Leader in Manufacturing and Supply Chain solutions.  No matter how complex your business issues, our analysts have the expert industry knowledge and first-hand experience to help you find the best answer.  We focus on simple yet critical goals: improving your return on assets, operational performance, total cost of ownership, project time-to-benefit, and shareholder value.  Further information can be obtained from ARC, Three Allied Drive, Dedham, MA 02026, 781-471-1000, Fax 781-471-1100, E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , Web www.arcweb.com.

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 organizations are working together to develop the technology, provide development tools, support and training, coordinate field trials and demonstrations, and enable product interoperability.  Visit their web site at www.fieldbus.org.

 

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