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IEC votes for multi-part fieldbus standard

01 February, 2000

IEC votes for multi-part fieldbus standard

A global field bus standard has moved a step closer to reality with a clear majority vote by members of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) in favour of a compromise eight-part standard based on a clutch of different bus systems.

The IEC`s original aim had been for one bus standard but a meeting of the IEC`s SC65C committee last October overruled a plea from the IEC`s technologies director for a single standard. Instead the 4,000-page document that was put out to vote added a clutch of other standards - including ControlNet, Interbus, WorldFIP and the high-speed version of Foundation Fieldbus - to the IEC`s original 61158 protocol.

Of the 29 participating countries that voted, only four - Canada, France, Russia and Japan - voted against the proposal. Italy abstained. Critics have said that compromise will benefit suppliers but not users who have been desperate for a single standard.

Suppliers of equipment supporting any of buses included in the new document will be now able to claim that their system is backed by an international standard. Supporters of the various bus systems included in the IEC document have welcomed the voting results.

"After 14 years of hard work, and many twists and turns, the situation is now finally resolved," said Klaus-Peter Lindner, chairman of Profibus International.

John Pittman, president of the Fieldbus Foundation said that his organisation was pleased that "after a long and arduous review porcess, [IEC 61158] is on its way to becoming the recognised international fieldbus standard".

The IEC document is now a "final draft international standard" which could still be thrown out by the IEC`s committee of action.

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