waltboyes (waltboyes) wrote,

Are SP100 and HART Wireless Back on Track? Inquiring Minds Want to Know!

Here's a press release from ISA:

Wireless Users Summit Discusses Standards for Industrial Automation

Research Triangle Park, NC -ISA's Wireless Systems for Automation
standards committee (ISA-SP100) and other interested parties met last
week in Research Triangle Park, N.C. to discuss wireless technology
implementation and standards development logistics.

The Wireless Users Summit attracted about 40 key end users from a range
of industries including petrochemical and power generation to help
define the needs of the user community and guide the standards
development activity. The Summit preceded a meeting of the ISA-SP100
committee, a collaboration of end users and technology suppliers working
to establish standards, recommended practices, technical reports, and
related information that will define procedures for implementing
wireless systems in the automation and control environment with a focus
on the field level.

Committee co-chair Richard Sanders of ExxonMobil said, "We're pleased
with the end users who joined us this week. It is critical that we
understand the needs of users and work together with suppliers and
integrators to develop practical solutions that can be extended across
diverse applications. This is one of the key values of standardization
work and the reason why we participate in this committee."

Compliance with the ISA-SP100 guidance will improve wireless
manufacturing and control system deployment as well as identify
vulnerabilities. The committee will address end user needs for wireless
manufacturing and control systems across a range of application classes.
ISA-SP100 has identified 6 different classes of applications ranging
from critical safety applications (class 0), to basic wireless
monitoring and logging for condition based maintenance and simple
regulatory compliance (class 4 and 5).

"The technology is ready, but additional details need to be resolved for
widespread adoption to occur," said committee co-chair Wayne Manges of
Oak Ridge National Lab. "A number of efforts are underway in the
industry, including projects under the Sensors and Automation Crosscut
in the Department of Energy's Industrial Technologies Program. These
efforts, in cooperation with ISA's, will permit the introduction of an
entire suite of wireless products into the industrial environment."

Sanders further commented, "This is a pivotal time for industry. Any end
users interested in participating and helping shape the future of
wireless industrial applications should contact ISA."

At the committee meeting after the Summit, two working groups were
approved to produce practical standards defining the OSI layer
specifications, security specifications, and management specifications
for wireless devices and networks.
*The SP100.11 working group will strive to provide a wireless
connectivity standard for applications in classes 1-5, and possibly
class 0.
*The SP100.14 working group seeks to provide a wireless connectivity
standard for class 4 and 5 applications.
Watch for future updates on the activities of these working groups.

The next meeting of the ISA-SP100 committee will be at SENSORS Expo in
June, followed by a meeting at ISA EXPO 2006 in October.

Considering that SP100, before the summit, was not likely to report a technical standard (there are some people on the committee who don't want that to happen), it seems from this release that that hurdle has been overcome.

Now, what's up with the HART Wireless working group? Confirmed rumors tell of intense arguments leading to complete stalemate at the Venice meeting. Other confirmed rumors tell of Emerson beta-test instruments using Dust Networks equipment failing at major beta test sites.

Will there be a HART Wireless protocol?

It is very important to remember here that we are trying to make a market where one currently does not exist. It is instructive to look at the history of standards. Jockeying for proprietary advantage almost ruined HART, and did ruin Foundation fieldbus and Profibus. Contrast that to the wild success of the CCITT (fax) standard, and the cell phone standards worldwide, as well as other telecom and communications standards, including video and radio broadcast standards. We cannot as an industry afford another lame effort like SP50 and the IEC 8-headed monster.

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