“The Fieldbus War Is Over” – now there’s a magazine article title I like (by Bill George in the Industrial Ethernet Book, September issue). Yes, there’s still some competition, but I continue to believe that competition is a good thing. I do have to take exception to one of the paragraphs, though:
It should of course be said that the ODVA, which backs the predominantly North American interest in EtherNet/IP, has a proxy bridge to its own crop of process industry fieldbus protocols and MES layers, and it certainly won’t take the Siemens/Emerson collaboration lying down.
ODVA does not have a process industry fieldbus, certainly not in the sense of connecting process instruments in an intrinsically safe area, although DeviceNet is used to connect discrete devices in process plants. [The contrast here is with PROFIBUS where the discrete and process protocols are the same even though the physical layers are different.] I’ve been jabbering about no other Industrial Ethernet connecting to MES, so the comment here about MES and Ethernet/IP sent me scrambling. I scrambled over to the ODVA website and found absolutely nothing about standards for connecting to MES. Maybe Bill George knows something I don’t?
The article also makes the observation that “barely 20% of some markets have moved over to fieldbus.” Now 20% seems to be the generally accepted market penetration for fieldbuses, but the ARC PAM webcast this week had an interesting slide. (More on the webcast here.) They had a slide that showed 40,000,000 process devices installed. Now process devices can be utilized with either 4-20mA (with or without HART) OR a fieldbus (PROFIBUS PA or Foundation Fieldbus). Since their respective fieldbus organizations have announced their individual installed nodes (about 600,000 each), the math shows a penetration of only 3%. Yikes!
Don’t let my nitpicking keep you from reading the article; it’s really quite good overall. So is the magazine for that matter… and the website: http://ethernet.industrial-networking.com/.