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Fieldbus Foundation Announces Updated FOUNDATION Fieldbus Host Test Kit

Host testing solution enhanced with powerful field diagnostics capabilities

AUSTIN, Texas, December 8, 2009 — The Fieldbus Foundation today announced the release of its updated Foundation fieldbus Host Test Kit (HTK) DD Application Module (Version 2.0.0). This powerful test kit, driven by the foundation's End User Advisory Council (EUAC), includes hardware and software for testing the functionality of a fieldbus host and its conformance with the Foundation host profile specifications.

The Foundation fieldbus Host Test Kit is designed to validate host applications implementing DD Services, files for persistent storage of functional parameter data, and grids for vector data visualization and manipulation. Hosts successfully completing the Fieldbus Foundation’s test requirements are authorized to bear the official Foundation fieldbus product registration symbol.

The HTK 2.0.0 has been updated with field diagnostics capabilities per the Foundation fieldbus Diagnostics Profile Specification (FF-912), which was defined to allow any Electronic Device Description (EDD)-based system to access and configure the diagnostics in fieldbus devices. The field diagnostics profile introduced a new field diagnostic alert type and supports more extensive integration capabilities (such as Wizards for configuration), which will enhance diagnostics performance.

Rather than introduce significant changes to the Foundation protocol, the diagnostic profile specification builds upon the existing, powerful diagnostic capabilities of fieldbus equipment, and at the same time, adds a greater degree of organization so field instruments can represent their diagnostics in a more consistent way. This technology, per the NAMUR 107 recommendation, allows fieldbus end users to specify the diagnostics most important for a given operation or process area. They can also determine the priority of the diagnostic information and identify all appropriate recipients for particular data. In addition, the diagnostic profile specification allows for common tools and engineering procedures, which will reduce costs and deliver actionable intelligence from the field level to the end-user.

In addition to field diagnostics, the revised test kit incorporates profiled custom function blocks enabling the manufacturer/end user to define custom blocks meeting the Foundation fieldbus specification requirements in their host system. This provides the user with flexibility to expand and tailor their systems for each specific application.

HTK 2.0.0 also includes a COMPATABILITY_REV parameter ensuring interoperability between an existing fieldbus instrument and a new replacement. The new parameter is advantageous in situations where a sudden malfunction occurs and it is critical to install a replacement unit quickly that will support all features previously downloaded to the device.

According to the Fieldbus Foundation’s manager, fieldbus products, Stephen Mitschke, the updated HTK offers fieldbus equipment suppliers a robust solution for implementing powerful, Foundation-based field diagnostics capabilities. He commented, “The release of this new HTK version demonstrates the foundation’s commitment to field diagnostics technology, as well as our expanding host testing and registration program. The host test kit provides a sample device that fieldbus system suppliers can used to develop advanced asset management applications based on field diagnostics specifications. Along with our host profile specifications, it will allow us to verify that host applications meet the necessary requirements to implement field diagnostics.”

Mitschke added, “Thanks to our host registration program, host suppliers have access to standardized test requirements and test cases for all hosts within a profile tested to the same requirements; standardized DD and CF files assuring hosts can parse files; and standardized test devices for all basic I/O function blocks and specialized test transducer blocks.”

The Fieldbus Foundation is one of the only automation industry organizations with a registration program requiring mandatory testing of critical elements of its technology. This effort encompasses Foundation fieldbus host systems and field devices, as well as physical layer components such as power supplies and device couplers.

The Fieldbus Foundation established its Host Registration Program as a key initiative benefiting the global automation industry. Under the registration process, fieldbus hosts successfully completing the test requirements are authorized to bear the official Foundation product registration symbol. Hosts may include configuration tools, recording devices, alarm display panels, Human-Machines Interfaces (HMIs), or systems with a combination of functionality.

Thanks to the Host Test Kit DD Application Test Module, end users benefit from significantly improved host-to-device integration. Foundation fieldbus host suppliers benefit from standardized test requirements and test cases for all hosts within a profile tested to the same requirements; standardized DD and CF files assuring hosts can parse files; and standardized test devices for all basic I/O function blocks and specialized test transducer blocks.

The Host Test Kit DD Application Test Module is designed to validate host applications implementing DD Services 4.2 or greater. This includes DD Services 5.0 constructs such as charts, graphs, images and waveforms for visualization; files for persistent storage of functional parameter data; and grids for vector data visualization and manipulation.

The Host Test Kit, developed in cooperation with the Fieldbus Foundation's EUAC and System Integration and Maintenance team, was driven by end users to bring about consistent interoperability between hosts and devices regardless of the host supplier. Specifications now include profiles for functionally different hosts and the appropriate features that apply to each profile.

To purchase a licensed copy of the Host Test Kit DD Application Test Module, please contact the Fieldbus Foundation by e-mailing This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or by calling 512.794.8890.

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.

 

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