Does this mean that all the backchannel backbiting and arguing for competitive advantage is going to go away? Can it be that this many automation vendors (plus Emerson who already has offered ALL its wireless intellectual property to both ISA and HART) might actually produce a consensus wireless standard sometime before the heat death of the universe? Will SP100 actually release a standard??
Just got this press release from Honeywell:
HONEYWELL JOINS INDUSTRY LEADERS TO ESTABLISH SP100 INDUSTRIAL WIRELESS STANDARD
Industry Group Will Develop a Multi-Functional Wireless Network Standard that Supports Sensing and the Wireless Worker in Industrial Environments
PHOENIX, May 2, 2006 – Honeywell (NYSE:HON), Adaptive Instruments, Endress+ Hauser, Flowserve, OMNEX Control Systems, 3e Technologies International (3eTI) and Yokogawa announced they have joined the Instrumentation, Systems, and Automation Society (ISA) SP100 working group to support the committee’s efforts to create an open industrial and multi-functional wireless standard. This industry group will work towards a joint solution that will enable industrial plants to use a single wireless network architecture to support a wide range of applications from low-rate monitoring to process control to wireless worker functions.
These industry group members are developing a network structure which is based on existing wireless technologies to meet current and future customer requirements. The SP100 committee has identified needs for managing just a few devices, or up to tens of thousands of devices residing on a single, scalable, wireless plant network. Plant operators can use this system to perform multiple, simultaneous tasks, including low- and high-rate monitoring, control functions as well as tasks performed with hand-held Wi-Fi devices. The network architecture will provide integrated end-to-end security that will guard against cyber threats, as well as enable companies to reduce the number of disparate wireless networks used at a plant – which also reduces operational costs and disruptions.
“Today, wireless networks serve a single function, which means industrial plants need one network to support hand-held devices, another network to support process sensors and so on,” said Jack Bolick, Honeywell Process Solutions President. “Customers are telling us they want a single wireless network to manage multiple functions across their plants because it improves productivity. Through this industry group, that’s what we will provide.”
Industrial wireless has many complex issues when compared to traditional wired offerings and needs a comprehensive solution to be successful in the long run. So, the industry group members are drawing from their current wireless industrial plant experiences as well as extensive research to select the best wireless technologies that will provide an open, standard environment for industrial vendors to develop interoperable products. Therefore, providing customers the ability to choose from many products they want to use in their plants.
“With unlicensed radio frequencies having limited wireless bandwidth, and the use of wireless networks growing, there are greater risks of collisions and interference causing communication disruptions,” said Robert Gooch, director of emerging technology at Flowserve’s Valve Division. “A comprehensive standard must address this as well as meeting end-user requirements today and into the future, including end-to-end security, power management, overall reliability, scalability, and multifunctional capabilities.”
“The industrial requirement is an open standard which ensures users utilize the technology for an extended lifecycle,” said Satoru Kurosu, vice president of marketing for Yokogawa Industrial Automation Business Headquarters. “The goal is a single, general purpose industrial wireless standard which can support multiple applications, and we’re making it easier for industrial plants to plan for future operations.”
The industry group will develop this solution within the ISA-SP100 committee, which was chartered last year “to establish standards, recommended practices, technical reports and related information that will define procedures for implementing wireless systems in the automation and control environment.” SP100 committee members will have the opportunity in the next few months to vote on the elements to standardize this solution. The group will also cooperate with associations like the HART Communication Foundation (HCF) and others to ensure a single wireless network architecture for easy use in industrial plants.
“Customers need a safe, secure, reliable, scalable and multi-functional network that delivers the low installation costs and improved productivity that wireless promises,” Bolick said. “Honeywell is pleased to join with these industry leaders to meet the needs of our industrial end-users with a truly strategic and scalable solution and encourage other companies to support the SP100 effort.”
Each partner in the industry group brings a wealth of industrial and wireless expertise. Adaptive Instruments has provided a broad range of digital micro-powered measurement and control instrumentation to the global process automation industry for over two decades. Adaptive has pioneered the development of Class 1, Div 1 industrial-strength wireless technologies specifically for applications in the most demanding industrial and processing environments. Flowserve is a recognized world leader in supplying pumps, valves, seals and automation services to industrial companies. Endress+Hauser is a world-wide operating company providing automation and logistics solutions and instruments for the process industry. OMNEX is a provider of trusted wireless RF solutions for industrial applications. 3eTI, also a member of the Wireless International Network Alliance, is a wireless infrastructure and application provider that focuses on the government sector. 3eTI provides wireless infrastructure for U.S. Navy ships. Yokogawa is a total solution provider in the industrial automation business arena – manufacturing both process control instrumentation and systems. Products include analyzers, flow meters, transmitters, controllers, recorders, data acquisition products, meters, instruments, distributed control systems and more.