Mobile configuration of field devices in process industry

Digital, mobile, networked and standardized solutions are needed, which make plant, machine and field device data available easily and which improve and rationalize maintenance processes for device confi-guration, implementation and troubleshooting. 

 

Intelligent field devices offer innumerable configurable parameters. A radar level sensor, for instance, normally has more than 500 parameters which can be configured. Added to this, field devices with different protocols are used in typical process industry installations and explo-sion-proof areas. The most common protocols are HART, FOUNDATION Fieldbus and Profibus PA. It is not unheard of for process plants to use several hundred or even more than a thousand field devices by different manufacturers, which have different protocols.

The different device manufacturers normally also provide different inter-faces to device configuration. This increases investment costs and makes data collection and analysis unnecessarily complicated and inefficient. Initially, it seemed impossible to maintain an overview of the many different technologies and handle the many tasks required. Different organizations and institutions identified the need for standardization early on and developed integration technologies and data provision technologies which are based on open, protocol- and manufacturerinde-pendent architectures and offer seamless interoperability and flexibility during integration. But a generally applicable solution could not be agreed upon.

Our solutions

Currently, end users have a choice of the following integration techno-logies which use different approaches:
  • EDD (Electronical Device Descriptions) – text device description file
  • FDT/DTM (Field Device Tool, Device Type Manager) – device driver with integrated user interface
  • FDI (Field Device Integration) – combination of FDT and EDD

Example connection to a HART device

Mobile enterprise solutions from i.safe MOBILE

Digital, mobile, networked and standardized solutions are needed, which make plant, machine and field device data available easily and which improve and rationalize maintenance processes for device confi-guration, implementation and troubleshooting.

 

i.safe MOBILE offers a range of mobile communication devices, such as the smartphone of the series IS530 or the tablet of the series IS910. Both devices have an ANDROID operating system. Depending on the field of application they are available as IECEx Zone1, IECEx Zone2 or none Ex-device. This is where mobile-based asset management tools are ideal, which enable maintenance personnel to manage the entirefield device lifecycle on site and configure devices using standardized integration technologies. By linking up the IS530 or the IS910 with the whole system, the data are available anytime, anywhere.

Such complete solutions are supplemented by interfaces which enable mobile access to field devices via the corresponding integration technologies and protocols on site.

Field devices are replaced before they break as part of the predictive maintenance strategy. But before maintenance personnel visit the plant, the replacement device is preconfigured on the workbench. The networked smartphone IS530 and the tablet IS910 is also used here in conjunction with the interface in order to enable a fast, simple device replacement with the lowest possible downtime. The devices can also be configured offline in advance without the need for the device to be physically present.

Parameters are saved in the application based on the description files for the integration technologies, and these are loaded when the device is implemented, which saves time and effort.

Flexible configuration interface

Field devices are replaced before they break as part of the predictive maintenance strategy. But before maintenance personnel visit the plant, the replacement device is preconfigured on the workbench. The networked smartphone IS530 and the tablet IS910 is also used here in conjunction with the interface in order to enable a fast, simple device replacement with the lowest possible downtime. The devices can also be configured offline in advance without the need for the device to be physically present. 

 

From there, the user can intuitively navigate to the device detail, such as diagnostics, state moni-toring, parameterization and configuration. Users which require interfaces for several protocols save costs when using mobiLink, because they only need one interface. In addition, the use of only one interface results in a significant work reduction when implementing and maintaining field devices. The ATEX-certified mobiLink is suitable for use in potentially explosive atmospheres due to its explosion risk approval for Zone 1, its robust design and the option to connect to intrinsically safe circuits.

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