Future FISCO Star Trek IT

Future FISCO Star Trek IT is four topics, not one:

Future.   Jim Pinto writing in “Automation that Will Make a Difference in 2007”: “I’m willing to bet that advanced and innovative wireless products, if introduced rapidly at a breakthrough price, would sweep industrial automation markets; end-users would gobble them up. It could spark a new phase of growth that will re-energize industrial automation.”  Past experience (while no guarantee of future performance as the disclaimer disclaims) says: “Probably not.”  We are still waiting for the clear benefits of fieldbus to spark a new phase of growth.  Adoption of fieldbus (any fieldbus) is not as far along as we’d like to see.

FISCO.  Fieldbus Intrinsically Safe Concept was recently highlighted in Chemical Processing – “The intrinsically safe fieldbus has arrived.”  The title may be a bit behind the times; intrinsically safe fieldbuses have been around quite a while.  But FISCO does make them easier to design.  We cover this topic in our PROFIBUS in Process one-day training events.  We should know FISCO pretty well; we were involved in the creation of this concept.  Sorry if this comes across a bit like Checkov’s continual bragging about Russia on Star Trek’s Enterprise; for example:

     Does everyone know about this grain but me?” — Kirk

     “Not everyone, Kepten, it’s a Russian inwention.” — Checkov

           (in The Trouble with Tribbles, the second-best ST:TOS episode)


IT vs. Control Engineers.  This topic has been bandied about so much I’m starting to get tired of it.  So many articles describe the problem, but so few present a solution.  Here’s one of the few: “The great IT divide: good intentions separated by common objectives” in the Industrial Ethernet Book.  A must-read if you are trying to improve the relationship between IT and control, a how-to.

Quote of the day: “End users are increasingly specifying automation products and services not based upon the level of technology they provide, but on the business value proposition.”

–FOUNDATION Fieldbus Provides Automation Infrastructure for Operational Excellence (An ARC white paper on the Fieldbus Foundation website)

It’s apropos for more than fieldbuses be they Foundation, PROFIBUS, or other.