WirelessHART™: From Technology to Products

Field test clears the way

WirelessHART products

The NAMUR recommendation NE124 defines the requirement for wireless communication in process automation. One of the stipulations is an open and interoperable standard that is supported by many vendors. The only available standard today is WirelessHART. In order to operate the network seamlessly, all WirelessHART devices must be compatible and interoperable with each other. To ensure this, the HART Communication Foundation (HCF), NAMUR, and BASF teamed up with the leading manufacturers of WirelessHART products, including Pepperl+Fuchs, for a field test. With the help of BASF, NAMUR examined WirelessHART in terms of NE124. Pepperl+Fuchs determined how well its products conformed to the specification.

Pepperl+Fuchs participated in the field test with the WirelessHART Gateway and the WirelessHART Temperature Converter. The WirelessHART Adapter, which also will be offered by Pepperl+Fuchs, was provided by partner Endress+Hauser.


Strengths and weaknesses

The results of the field test were positive, and also revealed areas for improvement. Wireless communication and security mechanisms proved to be extremely robust. However, there was some negative feedback regarding complete field device integration and plurality of battery solutions. As an improvement, BASF and NAMUR proposed a reduction in the amount of key performance indicators to enable easy network diagnostics instead of relying on vast amounts of statistics.

Conclusion

The test produced positive results: The core technology is mature, and the wireless communication between different vendor devices works well. There are no significant issues that might hinder the use of WirelessHART for industrial applications. HOST integration will be improved, but can be realized today as Pepperl+Fuchs offers all necessary DTM and DD versions.

As a specialist in communication infrastructure, Pepperl+Fuchs will promote this technology. Visit us at the Hannover fair where the WirelessHART Gateway, the WirelessHART Adapter, and the WirelessHART Temperature Converter will be introduced at Pepperl+Fuchs' stand C14 in Hall 7.


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