The desire for fieldbus technologies and networking protocols to work together more seamlessly has become a greater need for end users as they begin to see the benefits of an all-encompassing communications system.
Fieldbus Foundation (FF) and the HART Communication Foundation announced a potential merger that would help leverage benefits between the two technologies to improve intelligent device communication for process automation. The merger would create a harmonized relationship between FF and HART protocols, allowing users to obtain optimal benefits in each organizations plant operations and maintenance.
Together, the organizations created a memorandum that states each will explore "a merger of equals" that would not only provide benefits for a complete communication system, but would also merge training, education, testing, registration, tradeshow and event involvement, online presence and social media initiatives, which in return would improve economies of scale for both. These include increased efficiencies and reduced total costs as more standards, process and procedures are conjoined, according to the original statement.
Each company will remain separate entities, but will collaborate on wireless strategy. The goal of both organizations is to enhance products and improve services, as well as increase market share in digital devices.
"We are both confident that today's decision to investigate the merger of these two organizations provides momentum for a major step forward in the evolution of intelligent devices and the world of industrial communications," said Richard J. Timoney, FF, and Ted Masters, HART.
Both organizations have a history of working exclusively together on projects surrounding the development of common international standards, including Electronic Device Description Language and Field Device Integration specification.
"We believe combining the resources and capabilities of each foundation into a single organization will provide significant benefits to both end users and suppliers," said Dr. Gunther Kegel, FF, and Mark Schumacher, HART. "For end users, a single organization that combines the power of both Fieldbus Foundation and HART Communication Foundation would provide a full solution that addresses every conceivable aspect of field communications and intelligent device management for the process industries. For suppliers, a single organization would create efficiencies in resource utilization, consistency of processes and procedures, and would deliver significant improvements in member services and support."