The Fieldbus Foundation released the final FOUNDATION fieldbus Diagnostic Profiles Specification. Based on guidelines established by the NAMUR Working Group 2.6, the specification is designed to build upon the diagnostic features provided by FOUNDATION fieldbus devices, while allowing end-users to leverage added Electronic Device Description Language (EDDL) technology for actionable diagnostics.

Beginning in May 2006, the Fieldbus Foundation and NAMUR, an international user association for automation technology in the process industries, collaborated on enhancements to FOUNDATION technology, which improved its usability. A key objective of this work was to unify the integration of fieldbus self-monitoring data and ensure the availability of diagnostic information to process plant operators, engineers and technicians.

According to the NAMUR NE107 recommendation, “Self Monitoring and Diagnosis of Field Devices,” fieldbus diagnostic results should be reliable and viewed in the context of a given application. The document recommends categorizing internal diagnostics into four standard status signals. It also stipulates configuration should be free, as reactions to a fault in the device may be very different depending on the user”s requirements. According to NE107, plant operators should only see status signals, with detailed information viewable by device specialists.

The FOUNDATION fieldbus Diagnostic Profiles Specification identifies “role-based diagnostics” for fieldbus equipment and defines a consistent set of parameters for diagnostic alarming. This approach is designed to support categorization of diagnostics according to NE107.

A copy of the FOUNDATION fieldbus Diagnostic Profiles Specification is available to Fieldbus Foundation members at http://forums.fieldbus.org under “Member Forums – New Specification Forum.”