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Foundation fieldbus right to the point

July 09, 2012 // By Georg Süss

Foundation fieldbus right to the point

Following the market requirements, BIFFI, a manufacturer of valve actuators for petro-chemical applications decided to implement the Foundation fieldbus H1 communication protocol for its electric actuator ICON2000.


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For this implementation a couple of individual demands had to be fulfilled, restricting possible implementation approaches. One of BIFFI's key products is the intelligent electric actuator ICON2000, which is mainly used for refineries, tank farms, off-shore oil platforms, and oil pipelines. For this electric valve actuator a new version has been released recently, which is introducing a new philosophy in the electronic cards construction. The basic idea here is to integrate all the main functionality in the basis card and to use additional modules for advanced improvements and additional functionality. For instance, various modules are supported to provide access to the major fieldbuses available on the market. This way the actuator can be used together with proprietary as well as with non-proprietary bus products, which allows the overall system to be exactly tailored to the users needs for operation, control, setting and maintenance.

Figure 1: The Foundation fieldbus version of the BIFFI ICON2000 actuator uses the standard hardware design. The Foundation fieldbus module is exchanging data with the ICON2000 basis card as well as the Fieldbus Kit for fieldbus access.

Following the market requirements, BIFFI decided also to implement the Foundation fieldbus H1 communication protocol for the ICON2000 actuator. Here BIFFI was looking for a solution, which could be implemented without big impact within the overall ICON2000 design, which fulfils the individual market requirements and which provides a good performance. After a detailed evaluation BIFFI decided to make use of Softings Fieldbus Kit product for this implementation. This product combines the communication hardware as well as the required firmware for implementing Foundation fieldbus H1 field devices and has proven to ease and shorten the fieldbus implementation process within many field device projects. When following this approach, a device manufacturer does not have to learn and understand the fieldbus know-how in detail, but can concentrate on integrating the Fieldbus Kit into the device application.

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