Quantitative evaluation of Foundation Fieldbus Control in the Field (CIF)
The Fieldbus Foundation, through its EMEA operations, has joined the Applied Control Technology Consortium (ACTC), based in Glasgow, Scotland. ACTC is wholly owned and managed by Industrial Systems and Control Ltd., a specialised control engineering consultancy with close links with the Industrial Control Centre at the University of Strathclyde, Scotland.
Through this membership, the ACTC will undertake a program of formal, quantitative evaluations of the performance, reliability and maintainability benefits associated with Foundation technology.
The first area of study is Control in the Field (CIF) in different industrial application scenarios. CIF is a key function offered by Foundation fieldbus technology to end users in process control applications whereby the control function may be performed locally at a sensor/actuator without requiring the data to be transmitted back to a central distributed control system (DCS) or programmable logic controller (PLC).
The project will use theoretical and simulation-based analysis to assess the improved control performance offered by CIF from the elimination of control-related data transmissions to the central control system, reduction in time delays and improved determinism, compared to using conventional fieldbus systems where control calculations are performed within the DCS. Several other perceived benefits of CIF will be highlighted including the improved reliability and availability of simpler control loops, improved network availability, and reduced CAPEX and OPEX costs.
Recognising the mutual value of a technical study into CIF, the CIF project will be a collaborative project between the Fieldbus Foundation and ACTC. On completion, ACTC member companies, many of which are large end users of control technologies, will be invited to become involved with further field studies and field trials.
Travis Hesketh, Vice-Chairman, Fieldbus Foundation EMEA Operations, commented, “The Fieldbus Foundation is committed to the ongoing education of end users and potential end users of the benefits that Foundation technology brings to fieldbus applications. It is clearly understood that CIF is a key function of Foundation technology but to have a formal, third-party evaluation of the deliverable benefits is very exciting.” He continued, “We are looking forward to an ongoing working relationship with ACTC and further collaborative projects.”
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