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 RegistrationsThe 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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:
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.
The Fieldbus Foundation today announced a new technology development initiative—Project Gemstone—intended to make the digital fieldbus automation experience easier than conventional analog control systems in every conceivable way, from device setup to device replacement and daily maintenance practices.
Encompassing a wide range of FOUNDATION™ fieldbus development efforts, Project Gemstone covers many of the initiatives the Fieldbus Foundation is already working on today. This includes FOUNDATION for Remote Operations Management (ROM), Field Device Integration (FDI) Cooperation, and ISA108 intelligent device management.
FOUNDATION for ROM technology allows users to integrate their WirelessHART®, wired HART®, ISA 100.11a devices, remote I/O, and Modbus communication into the FOUNDATION fieldbus managed infrastructure. FDI is working towards a single device integration package that will provide all the benefits of Electronic Device Description Language (EDDL) and FDT/DTM technology. The ISA108 standards effort is defining recommended work processes for intelligent device management, regardless of communication protocol. The foundation’s new usability team is also focusing on how to make fieldbus devices easier to specify, set up, configure and maintain.
According to Fieldbus Foundation President and CEO Rich Timoney, “Our goal at the Fieldbus Foundation has always been to listen to the industrial marketplace and provide a managed infrastructure for process automation that allows end users to focus on their processes and their plants, not the technology tying everything together behind the scenes. For this reason, we have undertaken a number of key projects centered on making fieldbus automation solutions more user-friendly and compatible with other technologies.”
Today’s control technology should be easy to use and interoperable, and allow results to be achieved quickly, but end users need the right work processes to guide them in its successful application. For example, plant engineers want to be able to combine devices from different networks and manage them effectively, with minimal effort.
Experienced automation professionals in the process industries have taught us a lot about the implementation of fieldbus and how to make it better,” said Timoney. “As an end-user-driven organization, we are taking all of this feedback from our dedicated end user customers, suppliers and engineering partners and driving it into a continuous improvement process to make the technology easier to use in a wide range of applications. Many of the recent advancements we have made in our specification are geared not just toward the user. They allow process automation suppliers to create more effective applications as well. If you are a small supplier just starting out today, you can really use the FOUNDATION fieldbus specification to create an entire control system offering.
Project Gemstone will drive an innovation strategy enabling plant owners to focus more on what technology can do for them and their business, versus how they manage the technology itself. The project’s focus on standards-based solutions will also make it easier for automation suppliers to develop new fieldbus-based products and applications. In addition, the Fieldbus Foundation’s testing and registration process is designed to ensure FOUNDATION fieldbus devices, systems and components all work together as they should.