Fieldbus, HART Foundations link to form a single industrial-bus body

July 25, 2014 // By Graham Prophet
The Boards of Directors of the Fieldbus Foundation and the HART Communication Foundation are to unify the two Foundations into a new industry organisation, “dedicated to the needs of intelligent devices and their integration in the world of Process Automation.” - potentially bringing some much-needed rationalisation to the industrial-bus-sector.

The joint statement says that the combined power of both organisations will serve to protect the investments that end users in Process Automation have made in HART and FOUNDATION fieldbus communication technologies.

However, FOUNDATION fieldbus and HART specifications will continue to exist individually, and to evolve into the future. Each protocol will retain its own brand name, trademarks, patents, and copyrights.

The mission of the combined organisation will be to develop, manage, and promote global standards for integrating devices into automation-system architectures, providing functional solutions for process automation suppliers and end users. Suppliers will also profit from the increased efficiencies in resource utilisation, procedure consistency, and member service and support improvements.

The Fieldbus Foundation and HART Communication Foundation cite a long history of cooperation. For example, the two worked together to develop common international standards, such as Electronic Device Description Language (EDDL) specifications and Field Device Integration (FDI) technology. Combining the organisations offers significant potential for harmonising the procedures and efforts supporting the two protocols, as well as simplifying each technology's implementation while better delivering their full benefits in plant operation and maintenance.

The new organisation will continue development, support, and promotion of the two existing protocols, and will direct the development, incorporation, and implementation of new and overlapping technologies. It will eventually serve as the single source for FDI, the sole integration tool for HART and FOUNDATION fieldbus technologies. The name of the proposed organisation is not yet finalised.

A merger process is anticipated to result in new organisation offices that will be consolidated and located near Austin, Texas, in early 2015.

Fieldbus Foundation;

HART Communication Foundation;