FOUNDATION Fieldbus is a standard for digital field instrumentation enabling field instruments to not only communicate with each other digitally, but also to execute all continuous control algorithms (such as PID, ratio control, cascade control, feedforward control, etc.) traditionally implemented in dedicated control devices. In essence, FOUNDATION Fieldbus extends the general concept of a distributed control system (DCS) all the way to the field devices themselves. In this way, FOUNDATION Fieldbus sets itself apart as more than just another digital communication “bus” for industry – it truly represents a new way to implement measurement and control systems. This chapter is devoted to a discussion of FOUNDATION Fieldbus instrumentation, building on general concepts of digital data acquisition and communication previously explored in this book.
For brevity, “FOUNDATION Fieldbus” will be abbreviated as FF throughout the rest of this chapter.
This particular industrial network standard was first proposed as a concept in 1984, and officially standardized by the Fieldbus Foundation (the organization overseeing all FF standards and validation) in 1996. To date, adoption of FF has been somewhat slow, mostly limited to new construction projects. One of the “selling points” of FF is decreased installation time, which makes it a more attractive technology for brand-new installations than for retrofit projects.