Like many of my colleagues that work for supplier companies, James Powell of Siemens is in a position where he must provide support for multiple fieldbus protocols, including FOUNDATION fieldbus, Profibus PA, and HART. In this article from Plant Engineering, James tackles the topic of competing fieldbuses extremely well. Being the marketing manager for Fieldbus Foundation means that I am competing against HART and Profibus to a degree, but there are many instances where we must work together. If you go into any plant today, you won’t see any single network as dominant. Most likely you will see some FOUNDATION fieldbus devices, some HART devices, some Profibus devices, wireless devices, etc. Cooperation is a good thing, but competition can also make our offerings stronger in the end.
ARC Advisory Group, the well-known manufacturing research and advisory firm based in Dedham, MA, has released a new study entitled “Fieldbus Solutions in the Process Industries: Worldwide Outlook,” which indicates FOUNDATION fieldbus continues to lead the market in digital fieldbus communications for the process industries.
According to the new ARC report, FOUNDATION fieldbus accounted for nearly three-quarters of the total digital process fieldbus marketplace in 2011. ARC also predicts ongoing expansion of the market for process fieldbus products and solutions, with continued double-digit growth over the next five years.
FOUNDATION fieldbus provides an all-digital communication infrastructure for process automation, with powerful multivariable measurement capabilities, powerful device diagnostics, and the ability to integrate wireless devices across multiple networks. The block structure of FOUNDATION fieldbus is unique, and provides true distributed functionality for implementing control in the field, improved data management, and alarm and alert management. FOUNDATION technology is well prepared to take advantage of the growth opportunities in fieldbus technology over the next decade. ARC Analyst Kevin Crisafulli said, “Fieldbus technology has made further inroads into the culture of process automation, despite the negative impact that the global recession had on the market. Manufacturers are beginning to understand that the real value of fieldbus savings and increasing efficiency are more closely related to operating expenditures, which will drive growth going forward.”
Thanks to the efforts of our supplier partners and the stringent testing & registration process at the Fieldbus Foundation, there is a wide range of products, systems, and components to choose from. With FOUNDATION fieldbus expanding into more and more application segments such as FOUNDATION for Remote Operations Management and FOUNDATION for Safety Instrumented Functions, we are easily looking at a market opportunity in the billions of dollars on an annual basis for the foreseeable future. FOUNDATION fieldbus remains the popular choice among end-users as an all-digital process automation solution that brings very positive returns to the bottom-line. The technology allows you to see your process in high definition; manage information in real time; and optimize people, processes and technology.
We have been busy getting ready for the General Assembly, but I wanted to mention a few words about our involvement this year at the ARC World forum in Orlando. Both myself and Herman Storey attended the track on Remote Operations Management. Herman presented the end user perspective on FOUNDATION for Remote Operations Management. We weer in a session with two other very good presenters — Marc Chevis of Shell and Stefan Malmsten of AkzoNobel Eka Sweden. Herman did an excellent job articulating the end user perspective of FOUNDATION for ROM, and it seemed clear from the number of people in the room that remote operations management remains a top strategic issue for end users and suppliers alike. You can access Herman’s presentation here.
Here’s another “From one Blog to Another” post. In Jim Cahill’s Emerson Process Experts blog, he recently wrote about the Foundation Fieldbus seminar that was held in late 2011 in Australia. There is also significant input from Jonas Berge, who is one of the leading experts on FOUNDATION fieldbus at Emerson Process Management. If you are involved in fieldbus in any way, you either know Jonas or have read his work. There is also a link to a nice YouTube video on the cost benefits of fieldbus that Jonas put together. There are also lots of links to the seminar presentations (also hosted on the Fieldbus.org site).
Our longtime friend and FOUNDATION fieldbus certified trainer Ian Verhappen recently contributed to the Canadian Automation Manufacturing Blog. Ian talks about some of the benefits and basics of control in the field — how to implement and why. Here is a great quote from the blog post. I think it illustrates very well that the reluctance that people have to implement control in the field is often misplaced:
“I have had many people tell me that they will not implement Control in the Field because they wonder how they will be able to control the process should something happen to the control valve. I simply ask them, “If your control valve is not working well enough to control the process, what are you using to control the process?“”
Frost and Sullivan has issued a new market size and forecast report for fieldbus related products and services, similar in scope to the ARC report I mentioned last week. The difference here is that the geographic scope is limited to Southeast Asia. Nevertheless, F&S reports seeing the same sustained growth in fieldbus for the process industries, particularly in Southeast Asia, where there is still a lot of grassroots activity going on. According to the news release, the fieldbus market in Southeast Asia “earned revenues of US$170.1 million in 2010 and [the report] estimates this to reach US$ 252.0 million in 2017.”
Krishnan Ramanathan, the analyst at F&S who authored the report, states that “Foundation fieldbus enables 10.0 per cent higher throughput, 30.0 per cent greater capacity without an increase in personnel and 20.0 per cent better efficiency. Plant automation projects also benefit from reductions in selection, engineering, construction as well as start-up and overhead costs.”