Leading industrial communication foundations discuss potential merger

The HART Communication Foundation and Fieldbus Foundation announced that they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to discuss the benefits and industry impact of merging into one organization.


Emerson's AMS Suite integrated with Softing’s Foundation fieldbus technology, which enables users to access online diagnostics and alerts regardless of host system vendor. Courtesy: Emerson Process ManagementThe HART Communication Foundation and the Fieldbus Foundation announced Sept. 25 that they have entered into discussions on the potential for merging the two organizations into one industry foundation dedicated to the needs of intelligent device communications in the world of process automation. The chairmen of the two organizations - Mark Schumacher of the HART Communication Foundation and Dr. Gunther Kegel of Fieldbus Foundation - issued the following statement on behalf of their Boards of Directors:

"We believe combining the resources and capabilities of each foundation into a single organization will provide significant benefits to both end users and suppliers. For end users, a single organization that combines the power of both the Fieldbus Foundation and HART Communication Foundation would provide a full solution that addresses every conceivable aspect of field communications and intelligent device management for the process industries. For suppliers, a single organization would create efficiencies in resource utilization, consistency of processes and procedures, and would deliver significant improvements in member services and support."

HART protocol information can be useful in varied layers of a plant's network.The HART Communication Foundation and Fieldbus Foundation have worked extensively together in the past and have a long history of cooperation. The two organizations worked together on the development of common international standards such as Electronic Device Description Language (EDDL) and, most recently, the development of the Field Device Integration (FDI) specification. The merger offers significant potential to harmonize many aspects of the two protocols, making it easier for end users and suppliers to implement the technology and obtain the full benefits of each technology in plant operations and maintenance.

In preliminary discussions, the presidents of the two organizations - Ted Masters of the HART Communication Foundation and Richard J. Timoney of the Fieldbus Foundation - added that many synergies already exist and closed by commenting "We are both confident that today's decision to investigate the merger of these two organizations provides momentum for a major step forward in the evolution of intelligent devices and the world of industrial communications."

- Edited by CFE Media. See more Control Engineering process manufacturing stories.

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