London, UK, October 15, 2007 - The Fieldbus Foundation held its second combined EMEA User and Industry Association Consultation Meeting and EMEA Annual Marketing conference at the Engineering Employers' Federation headquarters in London, UK, from 17-19 September 2007.
Thirty five delegates participated in the three day event including representatives from major users of Foundation technology and industry associations, together with members of the Fieldbus Foundation EMEA Executive Advisory Council (EMEA EAC), the EMEA Steering Committee and the global Fieldbus Foundation End User Advisory Council (EUAC).
The EMEA User and Industry Association Consultation meeting on the first day was opened by Fieldbus Foundation president and CEO Rich Timoney, who reiterated the market position of Foundation technology, which should no longer be perceived as merely a communications network, but as an automation infrastructure that provides process integrity, business intelligence and open scalable integration across the process plant.
Dr. Graeme Philp, chairman elect of the EMEA EAC, reviewed the fieldbus market and shared his observations about the status of digital communications and how the Fieldbus Foundation's current technology developments including High Speed Ethernet remote I/O, Safety Instrumented Functions (SIF) and wireless communications will lead to an exciting and buoyant future within the process control industry.
A key part of the day's agenda was the open forum during which fieldbus experts discussed the implementation of Foundation technology and the reinstatement of a working European End User Council (EEUC). The EEUC includes representatives from Foundation technology users and industry associations which now includes Shell Global Solutions, BP Exploration, Evonik Industries, Shin-etsu, Degussa, Ineos Chlor, Novartis, Sabic, NAMUR (Germany), WIB (the Netherlands), Evaluation International (UK), Exera (France) and the Institute of Measurement & Control (UK). The EEUC, along with other EUCs in Canada, Australia, Middle East, Japan and N. America will provide a vital input to the Fieldbus Foundation's worldwide End User Advisory Council (EUAC), chaired by John Rezabek, a controls specialist at ISP's butanediol plant, Lima, USA. The EUAC is instrumental in ensuring that the Fieldbus Foundation's technical developments meet the needs of today's automation end users.
The annual EMEA marketing and strategic planning meeting took place on the second and third days during which past and future marketing activities throughout the EMEA region were discussed. Fieldbus Foundation regional marketing committees are currently established in Belgium, CIS&B, France, Germany, Central Eastern Europe/Hungary, Italy, Middle East, Netherlands, Norway and UK. The establishment of new committees in South Africa and Sweden is in progress.
The major focus in all countries will be the organisation of local training and demonstration seminars for end users, EPCs and consulting engineers to allow for the exchange of experiences and the familiarisation of Foundation technology as an automation infrastructure for operational excellence across the process enterprise. Several events are already scheduled for late 2007 and early 2008, including seminars across the EMEA region; the Fieldbus Foundation General Assembly, Antwerp, Belgium, 27-29 February 2008; a Safety Instrumented Functions (FF-SIF) demonstration and press day at Shell Global Solutions Amsterdam facility, the Netherlands, 20 May 2008; and participation at trade fairs including Interkama, Hannover, Germany, 21-25 April 2008, HET Instrument, Utrecht, the Netherlands, 20-23 May 2008. A full schedule of events can be found on the Fieldbus Foundation website.
Marc Van Pelt, Vice-President Fieldbus Foundation EMEA Operations, was satisfied with the progress made over the three days and concluded, "This year's combined conference has proved to be of value to all participants and in particular for the implementers of Foundation technology. I am delighted that the EEUC will give end users and industry associations throughout the EMEA region a greater input to the global technological developments undertaken by the foundation". He continued, "the Fieldbus Foundation has a clear message for the marketplace and I'm confident that the regional marketing committees will deliver that message and additional support to the industry throughout the coming year."
This year's conference was hosted by MTL. Next year's meeting will be hosted by Endress+Hauser, Basel, Switzerland during September 2008.