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User Demand Drives Pace for Record Product Registration Numbers

Driving Growth

It seems digital process fieldbus can’t get away from people saying “it’s too hard” or “growth is flat”, yet every day in other areas of people’s lives they continue to adopt more and more digital technology. While unsettling as it is to hear that, the most unsettling part is that there seems to lack any evidence to support the conclusion. Why does someone believe it’s too hard? Where can they point to prove there is a stall in digital fieldbus growth? Somehow a message gets disseminated that fieldbus has reached some peak despite data from ARC stating fieldbus is still growing at double digit rates.

Are there regions where fieldbus isn’t as widely adopted as alternatives? Certainly. But are there also areas where fieldbus is overwhelmingly the de facto standard? You bet. It’s hard to argue there have not been projects that should have gone fieldbus, and instead went 4-20mA. It’s also hard to argue there have been projects that seemed certain to go 4-20mA but ultimately stepped into modern fieldbus. There are fieldbus “physics” to be considered. For a given negative story, there is an equal and opposite positive success story to counter. So what then are we to believe?

The Fieldbus Foundation sees it this way: user demand is responsible for driving registrations of fieldbus devices… and as of August 2014, user demand has pushed manufacturers to register record setting numbers of FOUNDATION capable process instruments.

Understanding the Impact of User Demand on Registrations

The data below is for FOUNDATION fieldbus specifically. It is sourced directly from our registration data and reflects a growth in FOUNDATION fieldbus by way of user demand driving increased development and registration.

When digital fieldbus was first introduced, there were only a handful of available device types. Today, thanks to user demand, there is a wide array of available devices to fit nearly every possible application each with their own unique set of capabilities and advantages.

Registered FOUNDATION Fieldbus Product Types

Registered FOUNDATION Fieldbus Product Types

This same user demand has led to the Fieldbus Foundation registering more devices with more companies every single year as it outpaces itself in frequency and rate of registration every year over the last 3 years. The Fieldbus Foundation also averaged roughly 15 new member companies per year during that same period.

3 Year Comparison of FOUNDATION fieldbus Product Registrations

3 Year Comparison of FOUNDATION fieldbus Product Registrations

As one can see, not only has FOUNDATION fieldbus been growing, it has just had the highest product registration month in all of  2014, registering nearly 30 devices. In fact, digging back through data to 1998, growth of product registrations with FOUNDATION fieldbus has never declined or become flat even once.

Looking closer at the sharp increase experienced in August (the end of the red line in the chart above), the Fieldbus Foundation actually had the highest number of product re-registrations since 2001…and we’re only now entering the 4th quarter of 2014. Additionally, the Fieldbus Foundation just registered the 3rd highest number of new product registrations since its founding. At current trends, the organization is projected to see the largest number of device re-registrations and new registrations in the 20 year history of the foundation. Let that sink in for a minute.

Yearly Product Registration Comparison since 1998

Yearly Product Registration Comparison since 1998

So what do the spikes in registrations mean? Well for starters, it means there is a clear and present economic business model for FOUNDATION fieldbus that manufacturers are capitalizing on. As the world has long since entered the digital age in nearly every facet of its life, it is only natural the process industries do the same. Digital provides obvious advantages over traditional analog systems, and Fieldbus Foundation feels that user demand comes from stronger standardization in the areas that the users require it and more flexibility where the users need it.

As the usability and simplicity of FOUNDATION fieldbus continues to improve and meet the needs of the user community, growth will continue as users demand more information and better awareness from their devices to run efficient operations that make reliable high quality products.

Social Interaction

Beyond the growth comparisons to the registration program, the Fieldbus Foundation has seen continued rise and involvement in social media across the globe. The official Fieldbus Foundation LinkedIn Group now has nearly 1,900 members and increases an average of 60 members per month. LinkedIn has shown itself to be a valuable way to communicate about FOUNDATION fieldbus installations with other industries experts. The level of interaction on each discussion post is impressive.

Fieldbus Foundation Group Growth on LinkedIn

Fieldbus Foundation Group Growth on LinkedIn

The @FOUNDATIONField twitter account has 1,885 followers as of this post with similar growth rates as the LinkedIn group. Twitter provides an immediate way people to interact with the organization and to read about current news and events natively on their mobile platform. Again, its the continued growth trend that illustrates user demand for FOUNDATION fieldbus.

The Fieldbus Foundation also utilizes a YouTube channel that has proven effective for spreading educational videos on FOUNDATION technology. It allows the organization to share great “how-to” videos and direct viewers to appropriate content they find useful when visual illustration is needed. For example, one of the most watched videos on the channel is a simple “how to” on wiring H1 fieldbus cable. This video alone has amassed over 16,000 minutes of viewing time. Growth in user demand for fieldbus has generated 50% more engagement in 2014 then in 2013. These numbers will continue to grow and expand as awareness of the channel increases.

Fieldbus Foundation's YouTube Channel

Fieldbus Foundation’s YouTube Channel

Conclusions

The Fieldbus Foundation continues to see double digit growth across the globe and it shows in both the registration program and social conversations. Users demand smarter instruments, more efficient systems and real-time closed loop control. FOUNDATION Fieldbus helps achieve these demands, and in so doing, allows the user to make a salable product safely and reliably on-time and with minimal interruptions. If it wasn’t for this strong user demand, manufacturers wouldn’t have a feasible economic business model to continue delivering fieldbus products at unprecedented rates. It should be said that the Fieldbus Foundation shares its users enthusiasm in looks forward to closing out another successful year of growth and a record breaking year of device registrations. This is a great thing for the process industry.

Forays into Fieldbus Technology Pay Off

Another stellar article by John Rezabek, Ashland Chemical, was published in Control’s magazine last month, and I’d like to highlight it. John, as many of you may know, is the End User Advisory Council Chairman for the Fieldbus Foundation, and a big reason for this is his experience, depth of knowledge, and motivation to understand and keep up with the latest trends in fieldbus.

His article covers the message of what some users have heard about “bitter” experiences with fieldbus in its original days. John goes on to explain the key game-changing factors in successful projects as well as advancements that have and will make things even easier for users. There is no reason fieldbus can’t be a highly-successful wonderful experience for users (John is one of many examples of a user reaping massive benefits from smart digital technology).

As usual, there is no reason to spoil the message and writing John has so eloquently put together so follow the link below to read his post.

http://www.controlglobal.com/articles/2014/forays-into-fieldbus-technology-pay-off/

FOUNDATION Fieldbus is the Process Industry Work Horse

It’s time we give Jim Montague over at Control Global a head nod for his recent coverage of the process fieldbuses. For those of you who have been following Jim’s writing you know he has been quite the advocate for Ethernet, but it is his most recent writings on the current state of the process industries that have been the most enlightening. “Okay, so it’s obvious that fieldbuses never went away. It turns out I was too focused on over-hyped technology trends and wasn’t paying enough attention to what was going on in the real world” said Jim.

In our current world of faster and faster processors, bigger and bigger hard drives and our unquenchable thirst to consume information, it’s easy to get caught up in the latest “sexy” new tech development that promises to be faster and better than the previous. Wireless was the sexiest new thing for a while until common sense kicked in and people started realizing that while it has some killer applications (large rotating equipment was one great example I heard), it doesn’t fit everywhere and frankly can’t be used everywhere. As with all technology, the market ultimately dictates where and how technology will be used and more often than not common sense applications drive implementation. This is the reason that Ethernet hasn’t yet grasped the process industry. It just wasn’t necessary. The killer application wasn’t there yet. FOUNDATION fieldbus’ HSE has seen slow adoption because prior to FOUNDATION for ROM, there wasn’t a strong value proposition since the increased speed alone wasn’t needed. (FOUNDATION for ROM certainly has changed the HSE landscape and a very strong value proposition exists now for HSE, but that’s a topic for another day.)

Unlike the internet service providers of the world who have to meet the demands of users streaming massive high definition video files, the process industry is a historically slow moving giant with slow moving networks. Why is that?  Simple, because faster networks have just not been needed. A “large” file in the world of FOUNDATION fieldbus is a DD download of something in the neighborhood of 2 MB. In fact, did you know that the average file size of a registered FOUNDATION fieldbus DD in 2012 was 640 KB? That’s right. Kilobytes. By comparison, the average file size for a single MP3 music file is somewhere in the ballpark of 6 MB. That’s almost 10 times larger than an average DD file. Despite the obvious sufficiency of “slow” speed fieldbus networks, Ethernet seemed to be the next “sexy” tech advancement where speed and common interface connectivity would take over the industry. Jim Montague, however, seemed to come to the realization that Ethernet may just be another big uproar that doesn’t have the strong footing it might otherwise want our industry to believe. After all, is Ethernet actually addressing a user’s needs or is it an advancement for the sake of advancement?

Jim’s take on it is that while there is a lot of media buzz going on right now about Ethernet, the true work horse of the process industries quietly lumbers along at 31.25 kbps picking up project win after project win all while meeting the needs of the user today and in future expansion projects.

Jump on over and read Jim’s article on Control Global’s website called “Fieldbus Protocols Support All Processes“.

Latest Registered FF Products!

Did you realize we release the latest list of registered FOUNDATION devices in our eNewsletters? It’s a little known fact about our Fieldbus Flash Newsletter that can be quite beneficial to FOUNDATION  users all across the world. It is just yet another way we listen to user feedback here at the Fieldbus Foundation.

I was attending one of our great seminar roadshows a couple of years ago and was asked by a user how they can know when new versions of their favorite products have been registered. The simple answer was to encourage them to talk to their supplier directly, but upon further digging, I realized this was something not being well addressed by the process community at large. How are the users supposed to know when a new device is available? If they don’t know they’re a newer versions available how can they upgrade an old device that may not have the full capabilities they require in their demanding application?

The answer is to track and update our members and newsletter subscribers about the latest registered products and to direct them to their appropriate registration page for more information.

If you’ve ever wanted to keep up with learning when new products are available after official registration, be sure to sign up for our electronic newsletter “Fieldbus Flash”. You can do so here: http://www.fieldbus.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=217&Itemid=387

For those of you who want to see the latest registered products as of our September newsletter you can view it through our Media Partners web hosted version of the table here: http://www.controlglobal.com/industrynews/2013/foundation-fieldbus-products/

October Fieldbus Flash Newsletter Screen Capture

Last Seminar of the Year next month being held in the Houston Area – Sign up today!

Next month (November 6-7th to be exact) will be the last seminar of the year in North America and we’ll be in the Houston area. One of our prestigious certified training centers, Lee College in Baytown, TX has chosen to host us for our event. We look forward to this really great opportunity.

Lee College offers certified training courses of varying lengths and depths of study and is the only one in the Southern united states to offer this type of vendor-neutral excellent training.

Our day-long seminar on November 6th will focus on the applications side of FOUNDATION technology and how the technology unlocks more power for your process so you can spend more time at operational efficiency and less time in unexpected shutdown. In case you have not ever attended one of our seminars, you definitely don’t want to miss it. Some of the best and brightest minds in FOUNDATION fieldbus are in attendance sharing their knowledge and experience. The best part of it too is that it’s completely FREE for all attendees. You can find out more information as well as register on our website: http://www.fieldbus.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=136&Itemid=371

Typical seminar format

Following the end user oriented seminar, we have a Sales Force Training seminar on November 7th that is geared towards salespeople of FOUNDATION fieldbus. The class is a half day training session on the latest news of the technology and how it can be a major part of a customers next installation. The course gives market data and figures for FF as well as some great resource material to help guide you and your customer on every aspect of FOUNDATION technology. Learn how the latest FOUNDATION for Remote Operations Management can help your customers see further into their process by reaching out to remote assets and integrating them into their control systems and how they can integrate wired HART, WirelessHART and ISA100.11a into their existing FF infrastructure! Also come hear about our latest announcement on Project Gemstone and how FOUNDATION fieldbus is the only open system out there focusing squarely on making the user experience easier and more intuitive, including device replacement.

We understand how valuable salespeople’s time is so we’ll have everyone out of the training day before noon so you can still make customer calls and site visits. Sign up today to refresh yourself on the latest FOUNDATION fieldbus has to offer!
http://www.fieldbus.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=136&Itemid=371

Be sure to check out our Twitter page for announcements on the seminars @FieldbusEvents. You can also view videos from previous seminars on our YouTube channel http://www.youtube.com/user/FieldbusFoundation.

Fieldbus at Emerson Exchange

Fieldbus is featured at Emerson Exchange in a big way this week through October 4 at the Gaylord Hotel in Grapevine, Texas. Emerson is one of the strongest supporters of FOUNDATION technology, with a full spectrum of registered devices, host systems, and applications.  They have some truly knowledgeable people using their products, and some of the best and brightest are at the Exchange this week talking about their experiences with fieldbus and best practices.  Our End User advisory Council Chairman John Rezabek of Ashland Chemcial is there along with EUAC member Rong Gul of Shell, and fieldbus expert Jonas Berge of Emerson.  Stephen Mitschke, Director of Products at Fieldbus Foundation, is also in attendance.

These experts and others such as Alan Dewey, Klaus Erni, and Marcos Peluso of Emerson comprised the panel of fieldbus experts at the “New Generation of FOUNDATION Fieldbus Solutions” technology forum held on Tuesday afternoon, and again today from 1:15 to 2:45 PM.

A quick look at the conference catalog reveals all the FOUNDATION fieldbus related sessions.  Stephen Mitschke’s session on enhancing fieldbus usability and the Gemstone continuous improvement project was held Tuesday:

6B-5013 – Leverage the Benefits of Intelligent Devices with FOUNDATION fieldbus through Enhanced Usability
Project Gemstone, a new Fieldbus Foundation initiative, provides a short and long term vision for users to achieve the benefits of intelligent devices by simplify engineering, commissioning and maintenance workflows. New specifications make device configuration easier with vendor supplied device templates. And, when the device needs to be replaced, a device with a newer revision can automatically be commissioned with an existing configuration. Future directions including ITK 7, ISA 108 and FDI make it easier and more effective to manage automation assets.

Rong Gul of Shell and Bob Lattimer of Emerson were co presenters in this session.  Our Project Gemstone is a continuous improvement project at the Fieldbus Foundation focused in improving the usability of the technology, helping the user realize the true economic potential.  Gemstone is making things like device replacement easier.  We have already made device replacement quick and easy for “like for like” devices in the latest revision of our Interoperability Test Kit.  

Al Dewey knows a lot about portable tools and has a great session on that as well.  Making templates for fieldbus devices is a great way to provide consistency and save time during the commissioning process, and there is a session on that led by Sarah Hough, Scott Hokeness, and Rong Gul.  There’s just too many other sessions to list them all here, but we’ll provide you with a report after the show.  

FOUNDATION™ Technology Study Day – Middlesbrough, 2 October, 2013

Middlesbrough, UK – 18 September, 2013 – The Fieldbus Foundation UK Marketing Committee (FFUKMC) is finalising its plans for the third of its 2013 schedule of end user events – a FOUNDATIONTechnology Study Day to be held in Middlesbrough on Wednesday 2 October, 2013.
With a morning session focused on an introduction to FOUNDATION technology, a lunch break with tabletop displays and additional presentations, and an afternoon session offering a more advanced programme, delegates will be able to tailor the day to suit their own requirements. Delegates may choose to attend either the morning or afternoon session or they are welcome to attend both. There is no charge to attend and the lunch and lunchtime sessions are open to all delegates.
Following registration and coffee, the morning session, from 10.00-12.30, will include an introduction to FOUNDATION technology and solutions, and an insight into the lifecycle economics of the system.
The afternoon session, from 13.30-16.00, will present a more in-depth programme of presentations and practical workshops with a focus on supporting a FOUNDATION installation through asset management; device replacement; calibration and recommended maintenance practices.
All registered attendees are invited to the complimentary lunch during which Fieldbus Foundation member companies will be available to discuss and demonstrate their Foundation products and services.
Also available during the lunch break are update presentations on Foundationfor Remote Operations Management (F-ROM) and Foundationfor Safety Instrumented Functions (FF-SIF).
Richard Barnes, chairman of the FFUKMC is looking forward to welcoming current or potential end users, system integrators, EPCs, and all personnel with an interest in FOUNDATION fieldbus systems or a need to gain an understanding of the technology. “The FFUKMC has tried and tested this new approach to its end user seminars – we understand the need for differing levels of information to suit individuals in differing roles within the process automation enterprise. The study day format which we adopted for our recent events in London and Aberdeen allows everyone to gain high quality information whether it’s at an introductory level or an advanced level.” He continued, “There will also be several opportunities throughout the day for networking with other users and potential users, as well as industry experts and suppliers of the systems, devices and components that make up a FOUNDATION system.”
The event will be held on Wednesday 2 October at the Emerson Process Management offices, 2, Eggleston Court, Startforth Road, Riverside Park, Middlesbrough, TS2 1RU. Delegates are invited to register their names, company, email address and session preferences with the UK Committee, email: uk_info@fieldbus.org.
The FOUNDATIONTechnology Study Days will continue to be held at locations around the UK. The next scheduled event will be announced in due course.
About the Fieldbus Foundation UK Marketing Committee
The FFUKMC was formally established in 1999 to promote an increased awareness and adoption of FOUNDATION™technology throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland through a range of end user focused activities including technology seminars and roadshows, technical demonstrations and support, and trade show and conference participation.
The FFUKMC membership now includes: ABB, Beamex, Beka Associates, Emerson Process Management, Endress+Hauser, Honeywell, MTL –Cooper Crouse-Hinds, Moore Industries, Pepperl+Fuchs, Rockwell Automation, Rotork, R.Stahl, Smar, Turck, Vega and Yokogawa.

For more information about the Fieldbus Foundation UK Marketing Committee and its activities in the UK and Ireland, visit the FFUKMC webpages of the Fieldbus Foundation’s website www.fieldbus.org, or email uk_info@fieldbus.org

NEW Brochure Released on the Basics of FOUNDATION Fieldbus

What is FOUNDATION fieldbus? How does it differ from 4-20mA? What are the advantages of our all-digital FOUNDATION fieldbus network? These are just a few great questions users find themselves looking to understand before retrofitting their existing plants. The Fieldbus Foundation has put together a new brochure addressing just these types of questions. The new literature is a ‘back-to-basics’ style brochure focusing on the core of what FOUNDATION fieldbus is at its roots. This guide provides a simple explanation to new users, potential users, marketing professionals etc looking to understand what value FOUNDATION delivers.

What is FOUNDATION fieldbus?
Get back to the basics with the new FOUNDATION fieldbus brochure

Click on the link above to download the brochure and understand how this real-time digital communication network designed specifically for process control can help you gain the competitive edge through reduced hardware footprint, reduced device count, faster commissioning, tighter control, better signal quality and advanced diagnostics.

The Fieldbus Foundation also has many alternative resources available to help understand the value of FOUNDATION technology on an ongoing daily basis. Below are a few;

Social Media/Forums

Official FOUNDATION Fieldbus News Outlets

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