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Control system is ‘first’ with built-in fieldbus diagnostics

07 March, 2016

Siemens has announced what it claims is the first control system with integrated fieldbus diagnostics. Its Simatic AFDiSD “active field distributor” provides extended fieldbus diagnostics for Profibus PA installations operating under its Simatic PCS 7 process control system. Siemens says this will allow faster plant start-ups and rapid identification of bus interruptions.

The system allows users to access data on the health of their fieldbus installations – such as power, voltage and bus interruptions – in real time via a PCS 7 operator station. They can thus identify potential disruptions and initiate counter-measures in good time.

The extended diagnostics are based on monitoring physical layer information from the bus. Variables such as current and voltage levels are recorded and visualised and can be used, for example, to identify faulty or unconnected field devices, to determine the exact location of bus interruptions and, if necessary, to repair them remotely.

It is also possible to identify changes in current without needing extra third-party hardware or software tools. This simplifies both the commissioning and the maintenance of the fieldbus systems and will raise the availability of fieldbus installations and systems “significantly”, according to Siemens.

Siemens' "active field distributor" allows users to monitor the health of their fieldbus installations

A commissioning wizard helps to install fieldbuses swiftly and reliably. The resulting commissioning report serves as proof of quality for the fieldbus installation.

The enhanced control system will be demonstrated at the Hannover Fair in April.

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