Ethernet-based solutions: F-ROM in the process industries

201506011_IS1+_F-ROM_r_stahl_softing_300Now ready for series production, R. STAHL in cooperation with Softing Industrial Automation GmbH are introducing a hazardous area Remote I/O solution for the “Foundation for Remote Operations Management (F-ROM)” of the Fieldbus Foundation, which is now a member of the FieldComm Group.

Based on the R. STAHL IS1+ system and new functions developed by Softing for the FF HSE stack, this combination is the first ever FF HSE device to pass the FieldComm Group’s certification tests (ITK, CTK). F-ROM can be used to establish an Ethernet-based Foundation communication system for comprehensive plant control irrespective of underlying technologies. Various types of field device signals–4…20 mA, regular HART, WirelessHART, FF H1, Modbus RTU and others–are integrated into a common structure. F-ROM therefore enables much easier and more effective planning, deployment and operation of distributed automation infrastructures without requiring device or technology adaptations on the field level.

The IS1+ Remote I/O system’s crucial role is to gather conventional I/O signals e.g. from transducers, temperature sensors, or solenoid valves, and to transmit HART variables via the fast FF HSE network. Explosion-protected fibre-optic cables, which are unaffected by EMI, allow for communication even in Zone 1 or Division 1. For this F-ROM solution, Softing has integrated all-new “Remote I/O Function Blocks” into the FF HSE stack. For the first time ever, these enable a very effective transfer of the great amounts of data characteristic for Remote I/O systems and wireless gateways via Foundation fieldbus. New “Association Blocks” are also available for offline configuration of F-ROM devices. In order to facilitate the integration into F-ROM devices or F-ROM hosts, Softing provides the suitable certified HSE stack as well as extensive development support. Some host system manufacturers, e.g. SMAR Industrial Automation of Brazil and Azbil Corporation of Japan, are already working on F-ROM implementations for their products. Due to great user interest, Tokyo’s Waseda University, a Foundation-certified training site, is also making a certified F-ROM Remote I/O system available to students.