New specification defines device features for compliance with current ITK level
AUSTIN, Texas, October 14, 2009 — The Fieldbus Foundation has announced that its Device Interoperability Test Kit (ITK) Profile Final Specification (FS 1.0) is now available. The purpose of the new specification is to offer an easy way of mapping field device requirements to the foundation’s ITK versions, including unique Foundation technology features such as advanced field diagnostics.
An excellent tool for troubleshooting and debugging devices, the Fieldbus Foundation’s H1 and High Speed Ethernet (HSE) interoperability test kits help automation equipment manufacturers verify device interoperability as specified by the Foundation fieldbus registration testing procedure. By using the test kits, device developers can run tests identical to those used by the foundation before submitting their device for official registration.
The ITK Profile Final Specification includes a set of tables listing all Foundation technology features, and indicating whether the features are optional or mandatory at a particular ITK level. Profiles defined in the specification document contain features that may be incorporated into new device implementations. These features include, but are not limited to: standard block profiles, non-block features, extensible parameters such as “OPTS”, FEATURES, etc., Device Description (DD)/Capability File (CF) technologies, and communication “stack” requirements.
The specification helps new fieldbus device suppliers to identify minimum required features for their products, and at the same time, allows existing equipment manufacturers to identify the latest requirements. For example, field diagnostics is optional on current ITK versions, but will become mandatory for all fieldbus devices in compliance with ITK 6.0, which will be released in mid-2010.
The Device ITK Profile Final Specification is part of a comprehensive suite of development solutions enabling end-users to leverage the unique features of Foundation fieldbus. All ITK devices now support the latest advancements in field diagnostics, which build upon the existing, powerful diagnostic capabilities of Foundation fieldbus equipment, and at the same time, add a greater degree of organization so field instruments can represent their diagnostics in a more consistent way.
Field diagnostics per the NAMUR NE107 recommendation provides a standard and open interface for reporting all device alarm conditions, as well as a means of categorizing alert conditions by severity. The technology facilitates routing of alerts to appropriate consoles based on user-selectable severity categories. It also provides recommended corrective actions and detailed help, and an indication of the overall health of the device.
In addition, field diagnostics technology offers a robust solution for implementing role-based diagnostics, meaning the right information is sent to the appropriate person—when they need it—without flooding others in alarms. This technology will optimize plant asset management programs and enable improved process performance, greater reliability, increased uptime and lower operating costs.
The Fieldbus Foundation has also announced the availability of an Integrated and Visitor Host Interoperability Application Note (AN-013). The purpose of this new application note is to clarify how Integrated (also called Permanent) Hosts and Visitor Hosts can interoperate in order to allow a Visitor Host to interact with field devices in the presence of an Integrated Host.
For more information about Foundation fieldbus specifications, please visit the Fieldbus Foundation's Specification Page or e-mail
About the Fieldbus Foundation
The Fieldbus Foundation is a global not-for-profit corporation consisting of leading process end users and automation companies. Within the Fieldbus Foundation, end users, manufacturers, universities and research organizations work together to develop an automation infrastructure that provides process integrity, business intelligence and open scalable integration in a managed environment. For more information, visit their web site at www.fieldbus.org.