Fieldbus Foundation Updates Version of SIF Technology

By Fieldbus Foundation

Oct 19, 2012

Fieldbus Foundation announced the release of an updated version of its Foundation for Safety Instrumented Functions (SIF) technology. The technical specifications now include support for Foundation fieldbus H1 (31.25 kbps) dual-mode devices employing powerful field diagnostics capabilities, which greatly simplifies the process of developing field instrumentation employing the SIF protocol.

Foundation fieldbus is an ideal platform for advancing standards-based safety instrumented functions. Foundation technology enables process end users to reduce both capital and operational costs significantly, and Foundation for SIF has the potential to greatly improve plant and process safety through superior advanced diagnostics at both the device and network level.

With the dual-mode H1 device capability, instrumentation manufacturers can bring new safety products to market without having to design two entirely different devices. Developers can implement H1 devices with SIF features activated or de-activated. More importantly, this means that plants will only have to stock one type of device that can be used as either a process device or a safety device.

When SIF mode is selected, the device will behave as specified by the SIF specifications, otherwise, it will function as a normal H1 instrument. To ensure conformance to safety standards, the two modes cannot run concurrently in the same device.

The Foundation for SIF protocol was approved by TÜV Anlagentechnik GmbH to meet the requirements of IEC 61508 up to, and including, safety integrity level (SIL) 3. Process automation end users have stated their desire for Foundation for SIF technology because of its reduced footprint, reduced installed cost,and advanced diagnostics capabilities. Foundation for SIF provides the most sophisticated diagnostics for safety devices and a truly digital path for safety devices.

The latest Foundation for SIF specifications release includes a number of updates to the system architecture, application model, protocol, function block and device ITK profile specifications to make everything possible. It also includes a new application note on macro cycle calculation.

Multiple Foundation for SIF pilot projects are taking place at locations around the world with different end users. These companies, along with other major end users, are encouraging the automation equipment industry to develop safety-approved products for their initial installations.
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