How can industry take advantage of Fieldbus systems in process control, maintenance and asset management

PROFIBUS System Building Blocks (PNO, 2010)

Author: Rafael Koenig, B. EL Eng., MBT (UNSW)

Abstract: Traditional process control technologies cause a dilemma for designers and operators of modern processing facilities due to their limitation when it comes to planning, operation and service efficiencies. In particular the remoteness of Australia's resources centric industries requires effective ways to apply consistent process control technologies that are locally supported by skilled resources, knowledge development programs and product support infrastructures.

"In typical process industries, fieldbuses can contribute significantly to the achievement of operational excellence by enabling the sharing of critical information about the condition of devices. The problem-free and consistent availability of all necessary data is an important prerequisite for optimized processes (O'Brien, 2005)."

Technologies such as Profibus and Foundation Fieldbus offer comprehensive solutions including actual communication, application profiles, system integration and engineering.

In 2007 the ARC has identified plant asset management as an emerging area where the traditional definition of process automation does not apply. The plant assets in a typical control system include mechanical equipment, computers, networking, drives, motors, and process instrumentation. Through the use of Fieldbus technology, process control systems today have the capability to act as the centre point to gather, store, and manage health information about these plant assets. Asset management means the most beneficial operation of these assets from the time a piece of equipment is commissioned to when they are finally replaced or decommissioned.

With more around 40 million devices installed globally, Profibus is regarded as the most successful fieldbus system on the market (PI, 2011). This paper argues the customer benefits and solution competence of Profibus through an approach encompassing technological innovativeness, knowledge resource development, skills availability, open vendor strategy and a unique relationship based "Profibus Community" approach.

Click here to read the entire White Paper (pdf)

About the Author: Rafael Koenig heads the Process Control & Automation Division and PI Competence Centre at Tyco Flow Control in Smithfield, NSW. Holding a Bachelor in Electrical Engineering and a Masters Degree in Business and Technology, Rafael has over 20 years experience in the electrical and automation industry and was appointed Chairman of the Profibus Association of Australia (PAA ) in 2011. The PAA is a subsidiary of Profibus International, the world's largest organisation for industrial communication.