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New Fieldbus Standards Drive Industrial Automation to the Express Lane

New York, Feb 08, 2008

Real-time industrial network systems – known as fieldbus – connect controllers and devices in a manufacturing plant, helping to enhance safety, control costs, increase productivity and improve accuracy in an automated environment. In an effort to respond to advancements in the latest fieldbus technology, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) recently released 79 standards that update and compliment the previous edition of the IEC fieldbus standards published in 2003.

One of the chief advantages of fieldbus is its ability to connect a wide variety of controllers and devices within a common, standardized network infrastructure. The new IEC standards provide guidelines for a wide variety of instruments and application requirements, allowing manufacturers to choose the solution best suited for their particular industry.

The series of standards and technical reports, IEC 61158, Industrial communication networks - Fieldbus specifications; IEC 61784, Industrial communication networks – Profiles; and IEC 61918, Industrial communication networks - Installation of communication networks in industrial premises, are broken down into 15 communication profile families:

  • FOUNDATION Fieldbus
  • CIP
  • P-NET
  • WorldFIP
  • CC-Link
  • HART
  • Vnet/IP
  • TCnet
  • EtherCAT
  • Ethernet Powerlink
  • EPA

Cutting edge technology such as real-time ethernet-based fieldbus and the installation of programmable and networked equipment in safety-related applications are incorporated into the updated standards.

IEC sub-committee (SC) 65C, Industrial Networks, is the technical committee responsible for developing the new fieldbus standards. SC 65C prepares standards on digital data communications sub-systems for industrial-process measurement and control as well as on instrumentation systems used for research, development and testing purposes.

ISA, a member and accredited standards developer of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), is the U.S. National Committee (USNC) approved Technical Advisory Group (TAG) Administrator to SC 65C.

For more information about the new IEC fieldbus standards, please view the IEC press release.

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