Fieldbus Foundation updated technical spec supports fieldbus devices, diagnostics

Version 2010.1 of Fieldbus Foundation technical specification supports development of fieldbus devices and hosts employing NE107 field diagnostics.


Fieldbus Foundation announced Aug. 17 that an updated version of its FOUNDATION fieldbus technical specification is available. The latest specification includes guidance supporting the development of fieldbus devices and host systems that employ advanced field diagnostics per the NAMUR NE107 recommendation, as well as support for the upcoming H1 Interoperability Test Kit (ITK) 6.0, the organization said.

The Fieldbus Foundation's specifications define the open, non-proprietary FOUNDATION fieldbus protocol. The technology provides an all-digital, two-way, multi-drop communications link among smart field devices and automation systems. It serves as the network for instruments used in process automation, and has a built-in capability to distribute the control application across the network.

According to Fieldbus Foundation manager-Fieldbus products, Stephen Mitschke, the latest FOUNDATION fieldbus specification reflects growing industry demand for, and adoption of, NE107 field diagnostics.

“Field diagnostics, as implemented in FOUNDATION fieldbus, standardizes how today’s intelligent devices communicate—regardless of the vendor," he said. "This technology ensures that the right message will be delivered to the right person in the plant, at the right time. Operators, engineers and technicians not only receive detailed information, but it is provided in a categorized manner that makes data easier to assess and act upon.”

Mitschke added, “The updated specification also defines the minimum requirements for testing of hosts employing FOUNDATION for Safety Instrumented Functions, which is an ideal platform for advancing standards-based solutions for plant SIFs. FF-SIF enables process end users to realize significant reductions in their total cost of ownership by extending fieldbus benefits into plant safety systems.”

FOUNDATION fieldbus Specification Version 2010.1 includes:

  • Updates to the CFF Specification (FF-103) and Function Block Specification (FF-890, FF-891 and FF-892) to reflect changes implemented in the soon-to-be-released Interoperability Test Kit (ITK) 6.0. This includes support for required field diagnostics capabilities, which standardize how all fieldbus devices communicate their diagnostic data to process control and asset management systems. The test kit will also employ an all-new, intuitive user interface. Additional ITK 6.0 features will include support for testing Custom Profiled Function Blocks, software components built with VC9, and compatibility with the USB interface hardware available from National Instruments.
  • Updates to the Host Profile Specification (FF-569), which include new FF-SIF host test requirements, as well as "B" host profile support for all newly registered fieldbus hosts. Host features that have gone from “optional” to “mandatory” with the new “B” host profiles include: Configuration and Access to Field Diagnostics, Block Instantiation, Multiple Capability Levels, Enhanced Function Blocks, Profiled Custom Function Blocks, Configuration of Scheduled Control Function Blocks, and DD v5.1 Device-level Access. Support for NE107 field diagnostics is required as part of the second phase of host testing and registration.
  • Addition of a Block Instantiation and Capability Levels Application Note (AN-008 providing guidelines to both host and device vendors on how to handle system interoperability considerations.
  • Update of the FOUNDATION fieldbus AG-181 System Engineering Guidelines to Version 3.1, which provides the definition of the design, specification, installation, configuration, and commissioning for a FOUNDATION fieldbus-based control systems.

Fieldbus Foundation members purchasing or renewing a specification maintenance agreement will be able to download a complete copy of the FOUNDATION fieldbus H1 and HSE Specifications, including all updates to these specifications from the Fieldbus Forums.

FOUNDATION fieldbus specifications and maintenance agreement options are available at

Also read:

News and comment: EDDL team reorganizes for FDI;

First Fieldbus Foundation H1 Device Couplers get registered; and

Control Engineering Industrial Networks Channel.

- Edited by Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering,

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