Unification demo: ISA100 wireless technologies at China conference

ISA100 Wireless Compliance Institute, with support from General Electric, Honeywell, and Nivis, demonstrated prototype ISA100.11a wireless standard-based products in the ISA100 booth at the 2008 International Industrial Wireless Conference.


Research Triangle Park, NC - ISA100 Wireless Compliance Institute, with support from General Electric, Honeywell, and Nivis, demonstrated prototype

ISA100.11a wireless standard

-based products in the ISA100 booth at the 2008 International Industrial Wireless Conference. The vision, say some involved, is a single, efficient, wireless network. ( Control Engineering provides more on ISA100 standard-making efforts .)
The conference was held in Chongqing, China, represented a worldwide collaboration of leading organizations with the Chongqing University of Posts and Telecommunications serving as host. The demonstration, or alpha test bed, will be expanded to include additional vendors' devices and will be shown at multiple conferences throughout the year.
"This demonstration is the basis of our alpha test bed for the


100 Wireless Compliance Institute," said Andre Ristaino, managing director of Automation Standards Compliance Institute in which the ISA100 Wireless Compliance Institute operates. "Since the design of the standard is nearly done, it was time to test in a live setting. Our discoveries from this effort will be used to further solidify the technology and ensure that users get a very robust standard."
The demonstration contained several field devices from each of the supporting vendors. The ISA100 technologies ran on multiple radio platforms communicating through backhaul routers to a single host system. Field devices deployed mesh routing and non-routing technologies, proving that each can operate in a single wireless network.
"We are excited to be a part of this historic demonstration which is the first of its kind in demonstrating multiple vendors' products using a wireless standard designed for industrial usage," said Dan Sexton of GE. "It shows that this technology is truly interoperable among multiple vendor offerings."
The demonstration was a simple tank gauging solution, which is a use case that many users have stated as an initial deployment for wireless solutions in their plants. Two tanks were alternatively filled and emptied to provide monitoring and control usage of the wireless technology. "This technology works and was designed by wireless experts to fit many process applications in an industrial plant, including control," said Marius Chilom of Nivis. "It not only accommodates straightforward tank gauging applications like in our demonstration at the conference, but also handles full scale, plant wide deployments using multiple wireless backhaul routers."
The demonstration viewed variables located in each field device. Data included the process variable such as traditional 4-20 mA wiring and device diagnostics and configuration data such as existing digital fieldbuses. The information was communicated to a host system over an Ethernet link from a gateway using the Modbus protocol. "The beauty of the ISA100 standard is that the host could have been any legacy system in a plant using any communication protocol like HART, Fieldbus Foundation, Profibus, DeviceNet, etc., and the field devices could have done the same thing," said David Kaufman of Honeywell. "This capability is the reason the ISA100.11a standard will be the next‘4-20 mA standard’ for the 21st century. It combines the advantages of the 'single variable 4-20 mA world' with the advantages of the 'multi-variable digital bus world' into a single, efficient, wireless network."
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