In pursuit of engineering, fieldbus

Inspiring others in technology I enjoyed reading your article in Control Engineering Vol.55 No.4 [April 2008, p. 39] titled “Help Students in the STEM game.” I just wanted to let you know that I enjoy science, technology, engineering and math [STEM] and, since I’m an electrical engineer in industry, I’m also trying to do my part by inspiring others to either: A) Stay in ...


Inspiring others in technology

I enjoyed reading your article in Control Engineering Vol.55 No.4 [April 2008, p. 39] titled “Help Students in the STEM game.” I just wanted to let you know that I enjoy science, technology, engineering and math [STEM] and, since I’m an electrical engineer in industry, I’m also trying to do my part by inspiring others to either:


A) Stay in the field of engineering


B) Encourage our youth to pursue engineering.


It seems like engineers in industry are increasingly worried about their jobs going overseas, [so they are] considering career changes, and NOT encouraging their children to pursue engineering as a career. There is a thought that the U.S.A. will become a service industry and [they are not] encouraging their children to pursue a career (if not ownership) in this service industry, such as auto mechanic, HVAC, plumbing, etc... They tell their children the field of engineering is too uncertain and not very well respected nowadays. This breaks my heart since I have always loved STEM.


I’ve been on a personal mission to try and help encourage youth about engineering. I’m doing this with I’m still rusty on web-development, etc., but nonetheless, I’m trying to do my part. I’m also trying to establish a way for engineers in industry to keep the faith about engineering. I’m trying to do this with .


Working on these sites helps keep me inspired. I know I have more work to do, but I’m constantly trying to find ways to keep the motivation for engineers in industry and encourage youth to pursue an engineering career path. I enjoy editorials like yours addressing such issues, as I’m also working towards the STEM cause. Keep it up!


Charles Posey,


Thanks, Charles, for your comments and encouragement. Please feel free to paste these and future comments and URLs into the comments area of the online version of “Help Students in the STEM game,” April 2008, at . Scroll to the bottom and use the Talkback tool. — Mark T. Hoske, editor in chief,


Why 'Fieldbus Grows Globally’

Why has Foundation Fieldbus not been used more often in North America? One of the primary reasons is that the unique benefit of Foundation Fieldbus is its ability to do control in the field instrumentation and control valve positioners.


The visionary users on the original fieldbus standards committee demanded this capability that demanded secure low latency bidirectional communications. At the time, and today, there was no path to standardization for control strategy building for the DCS, and these users were seeking to remove control strategy from the proprietary DCS suppliers. Our solution was to embed control capability into the field devices. This was the principal benefit to the users, and is only implemented via Foundation Fieldbus. It is safe to say that the DCS suppliers, who also ALL produce field instruments, were not exactly thrilled with this user demand. However, since users responsible for new plant construction in Asia and the Middle East have been demanding Foundation Fieldbus, the DCS suppliers are forced to support it and supply instruments to implement the full Foundation Fieldbus protocol and set of function blocks.


This makes the control system (in the instruments) independent of the DCS which is the objective the users were trying to achieve. The side benefit, is that with most of the control loops executed in the field devices, fewer DCS mulitifunction controllers are required and the cost of the DCS can be reduced.


DCS vendors obviously do not favor this and don’t sell this feature, although they must support it. This point is made in my book “The Consumer’s Guide to Fieldbus Network Equipment for Process Control” available from


Dick Caro,
Past chairman of the fieldbus standards committee


Turning the clock back?


This is a response to Peter Welander’s article (Reviewed resource: Fieldbus Foundation also provides comparison, March 5, 2008) covering the latest salvo from both sides of the “fieldbus wars”:


Many thanks for fieldbus activists on turning the clock back again. For some time it was possible to convince the end users to select a process fieldbus for their new investments. Now a proposal of using legacy technology (HART) has been once again unearthed.


Raimo R. from Vantaa, Finland


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