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Fieldbus products and integration solutions

ABB is a technology leader in digital automation communication networks providing device integration, wireless and wired products and systems for the 21st century - to make the "Internet of Things" and "Industry 4.0" a reality.

Fieldbuses have nearly always developed around a common theme of reduced wiring. However, the use of digital designs for field devices increased the benefits beyond wiring to enable maintenance practices and value-added asset management.

At present, the ultimate reduction in wiring is wireless. This has many forms and will undoubtedly have a considerable impact on the future. Integration of process and power automation is the next frontier in delivering a unified environment to increase availability, reduce costs, and drive energy efficiency.

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Supported technologies


Which protocol is the best?

The right answer is “it depends on the application and what’s already installed”. An optimized solution will probably use more than one fieldbus type. For example, new ‘analog’ installations benefit greatly from FOUNDATION Fieldbus, while new ‘discrete’ installations can benefit from PROFIBUS, PROFINET, DeviceNet, and Ethernet/IP. Electrical Integration depends on the equipment supported protocol, but IEC 61850, Ethernet/IP and PROFIBUS could all prove useful. The most common view is to look at the current installed base, whether HART, PROFIBUS, DeviceNet, MODBUS, or others. Why replace when you can integrate?

What’s the value with Fieldbus and similar technologies?

Capital expenditures
Many installations of fieldbuses are similar in CAPEX cost to conventional installations using remote I/Os. Savings are realized in reduced installation and commissioning costs. In addition, multi-function devices, e.g. pressure-temperature-flow, can reduce the number of devices required from three to one, and require only a single process penetration (instead of three). This generates big savings!

Operational expenditures
Plant operators who apply fieldbuses for device management and maintenance benefit greatly. Even standard HART, with devices communicating at 1200 baud, creates opportunities to implement maintenance strategies that optimize asset performance and utilization, eliminate unnecessary maintenance, avoid unplanned interruptions to plant operations, or extend plant turnaround cycles. For example, programs focused on reducing a reactor unit’s maintenance costs and increasing asset utilization by 15% or more can result in substantial savings.

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