- Fieldbus is a collection of standardized protocols used in industrial environments that are principally defined by IEC61158.
- It is a collection of communication protocols that enable seamless data transmission across diverse devices in industrial automation systems.
- These protocols improve the efficiency and flexibility of industrial processes by allowing real-time control and monitoring of field equipment such as sensors and actuators.
- Fieldbus enhances interoperability and simplifies data transfer in complex industrial networks through providing a standard language for communication, contributing to enhanced automation, reliability, and overall system performance.
Where is fieldbus used?
- Fieldbus is widely utilized in industrial automation applications where real-time distributed control is required.
- It is used in manufacturing facilities, process industries, and other industrial settings. Fieldbus technology has mainly replaced older communication technologies such as RS232 serial communications, which were confined to two devices.
- Fieldbus improves communication and management in industrial processes by connecting various devices in a network, providing enhanced flexibility, efficiency, and the capacity to monitor and manage a wide range of field devices in a simplified manner.
Different Fieldbus Network Topology
The elements in an industrial Fieldbus can be arranged in a variety of ways. Some of the most typical industrial Fieldbus configurations are as follows:
Ring: In a ring topology, each node is physically connected to two other nodes—one on each side—to establish a continuous, circular data flow.
Line: A line topology, also known as a daisy chain or bus topology, consists of nodes that are connected to a host computer one by one in a line.
Tree: A tree or branch topology is a hybrid topology that incorporates star networks connected by line topologies and resembles the branches of a tree.
What is meant by fieldbus?
- Fieldbus is an all-digital, serial, two-way communication system used in industrial environments to connect and integrate measuring and control equipment.
- It allows for effective data interchange and real-time control inside an industrial automation system by facilitating the interaction of diverse devices such as sensors, actuators, and controllers.
- Like typical point-to-point connections, Fieldbus systems, while similar to Ethernet in some ways, include a set of protocols that specify communication rules and standards.
- This technology allows several field equipment to be connected to a single point, facilitating communication and contributing to increased flexibility and control in industrial processes.
What does a fieldbus system do?
Fieldbus is a collection of industrial computer networks that allow input devices such as Ethernet switches and sensors to communicate with output devices like as valves and drives without requiring each item to be connected back to a controller.
What is an example of a fieldbus?
There are various instances of fieldbus networks, each customized to specific industrial uses and needs. Some the notable examples are:
- FOUNDATION Fieldbus: Used in process automation, FOUNDATION Fieldbus enables communication among field devices like sensors and actuators.
- DeviceNet: Part of the ODVA family, DeviceNet is commonly used for connecting industrial devices on the factory floor.
- ControlNet: Also part of the Allen-Bradley family, ControlNet is designed for high-speed and high-reliability applications in industrial automation.
- Modbus: Widely used for serial communication between devices, Modbus is a simple and robust protocol.
- PROFIBUS: Used in both process automation and factory automation, PROFIBUS supports various communication profiles for different applications.
- EtherCAT: Known for its high-speed communication capabilities, EtherCAT is often used in applications where rapid data exchange is crucial.
- CANopen: Commonly used in embedded systems and automation, CANopen is based on the Controller Area Network (CAN) protocol.
- Ethernet/IP: This is an industrial Ethernet protocol widely used in manufacturing and process control.
- Profinet: A real-time Ethernet standard used for industrial automation, Profinet supports both TCP/IP and real-time communication.
- IO-Link: Designed for point-to-point communication between sensors/actuators and controllers, IO-Link is used for connecting industrial sensors and devices.
- HART (Highway Addressable Remote Transducer): While not a fieldbus in the traditional sense, HART is a digital communication protocol used in process automation.
These examples highlight the variety of fieldbus networks, each adjusted for different industrial applications, and show the range of communication options accessible in the field of industrial automation.
How Fieldbus Works
Fieldbus operates through providing an all-digital, serial communication system that supports the interaction of numerous field devices in an industrial setting, such as sensors, actuators, and controllers. The following are the major aspects of how Fieldbus works:
Single Connection Point:
Fieldbus allows several field devices to connect to a single central point that acts as a communication hub. The central point is then connected to the controller, creating a networked communication system.
In a Fieldbus system, information is exchanged in the form of small data packets. These packets are sent sequentially and multiplexed over time to efficiently transport data between devices and the controller.
Sequential and Multiplexed Transmission:
Fieldbus uses a sequential system for transferring data packets rather than parallel transfers. This sequential transmission, in conjunction with multiplexing, enhances communication channel utilization and assures effective data interchange.
Elimination of Point-to-Point Links:
Increased Device Connectivity:
Fieldbus enables the connection of a large number of devices to a single controller by establishing a single connection point through which all information is exchanged. This scalability enables the automation system to incorporate hundreds of devices.
Levels of a Fieldbus System
Fieldbus systems are divided into four levels, with each level increasing in complexity.
Sensor Bus Networks:
This foundational level involves basic field devices like limit switches connected to a single network cable. It transmits output signals from the controller to actuator devices, such as alarms or indicator lamps.
Device Bus Network:
Operating on a larger scale, this level connects numerous sensors, actuators, variable speed drives, and motor control centers. It enables control over individual elements within the network.
Control Bus Network:
Enterprise Bus Networks:
The highest and most intricate level in a Fieldbus system, the enterprise bus network, also known as the information level network, interconnects all computers and departments. It is computer-driven, involving extensive data collection, file transfers, and computer monitoring.
Benefits Of Fieldbus
Reduced Cabling Requirements:
Fieldbus allows hundreds of devices to connect to a single point, drastically reducing the number of cables needed compared to parallel wiring configurations. This simplifies the network infrastructure and minimizes cable lengths.
The reduction in cabling requirements not only simplifies the system but also leads to cost savings. Fieldbus significantly cuts the expenses associated with setting up and maintaining a network by eliminating the need for extensive individual device connections.
Ease of Installation:
Fieldbus systems are easier to install compared to parallel wiring due to their streamlined cabling structure. With fewer cables to manage, the planning, installation, and organization of Fieldbus systems require less time and effort.
Fieldbus systems often exhibit higher reliability than parallel wiring. Short signal pathways enhance system availability, and the technology provides better protection against interference, particularly in the case of analog values. This contributes to a more stable and dependable industrial network.
Fieldbus specification and Profiles
The structure of Fieldbus standards is organized under the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) framework, specifically IEC 61158 and IEC 61784, which define the specifications and profiles for industrial communication networks. Here’s an overview of their structure:
IEC 61158: Fieldbus specification for industrial communication networks
- IEC 61158-1 Part 1: IEC 61158 and IEC 61784 series overview and guidelines.
- IEC 61158-2 PhL: Part 2: describes the physical layer and defines services.
- IEC 61158-3-x DLL: Part 3-x: Definition of a data-link layer service – Type x elements.
- IEC 61158-4-x DLL: Part 4-x: The specifics about the data-link layer protocol – Type x parts.
- IEC 61158-5-x AL: Part 5-x: Definition of an application layer service – Type x elements.
- IEC 61158-6-x AL: Part 6-x: Protocol definition for the application layer- Type x elements.
The IEC 61158 standard is divided into different layers, each further categorized into services and protocols. The fieldbuses are incorporated as different types, and each part is subdivided into subparts, with each protocol type having its own subpart.
IEC 61784: Industrial communication networks – Profiles
- IEC 61784-1: profiles for fieldbus application in industrial control systems for both discrete and continuous manufacturing.
- IEC 61784-2: Additional profiles for ISO/IEC 8802 3 based communication networks in real-time applications.
- IEC 61784-3: Functional safety fieldbuses – Definitions of profiles and general guidelines.
- IEC 61784-3-n: Functional safety fieldbuses – Additional specifications for CPF n.
- IEC 61784-5-n: Installation profiles for CPF n during fieldbus installation.
The IEC 61784 series complements IEC 61158 by providing instructions for the use of different parts of IEC 61158 to assemble a functioning system. It includes profiles for continuous and discrete manufacturing, additional profiles for real-time applications, and profiles for functional safety.
IEC 62026: Controller-device interfaces (CDIs)
To address the diverse requirements of fieldbus networks in process automation and discrete manufacturing, IEC 62026 specifies controller-device interfaces (CDIs). As of 2019, it includes parts such as:
- IEC 62026-1: General rules.
- IEC 62026-2: Actuator sensor interface (AS-i).
- IEC 62026-3: DeviceNet.
- IEC 62026-7: CompoNet.
These standards cover different aspects of device networks, offering rules and interfaces specific to various types of fieldbus systems.
Overview of Industrial Fieldbus Protocols
The table below provides a comprehensive overview of various fieldbus protocols, highlighting key parameters such as speed, maximum distance, maximum nodes, topology, and use cases. Understanding the characteristics of these protocols is essential for engineers and professionals involved in designing and implementing industrial automation solutions.
Fieldbus Comparison Chart
|31.25 kbit/s to 1 Mbit/s
|1.2 km (RS485), Variable (TCP/IP)
|247 (RS485), 253 (TCP/IP)
|100 m to 9.6 km (speed-dependent)
|Broad spectrum of industrial control systems
|9.6 kbit/s to 12 Mbit/s
|100 m to 9.6 km (speed-dependent)
|Applied in factory and process automation
|125 kbit/s to 500 kbit/s
|500 m (at 125 kbit/s)
|Utilized in the automotive industry and industrial automation
|100 m (between devices)
|Facilitates real-time industrial control systems
|10 Mbit/s to 1 Gbit/s
|100 m (Copper Ethernet), Distance up to 40 km (Fiber Optic type)
|Star, Tree, Line
|Varied applications in automation and process control
|CAN (Control Area Network)
|50 kbit/s to 1 Mbit/s
|From 40 m (at speed 1 Mbit/s) to 1 km (at speed 50 kbit/s)
|Widely adopted in automotive and industrial control systems
|100 Mbit/s to 1 Gbit/s
|100 m (Copper Ethernet), up to distance 40 km (Fiber Optic Type )
|Line, Star, Ring
|Key role in industrial automation and process control
|100 m (extendable with repeaters)
|Line, Tree, Star
|Simple or binary device integration, e.g., switches and sensors
|100 m (extendable to 1.2 km with repeaters)
|Line, Star, Ring
|Predominantly used in Mitsubishi PLCs and Asian markets
|Foundation Fieldbus H1
|Bus, Star, Tree
|Applied in process automation and intelligent devices
|100 m (Copper Ethernet), Distance up to 80 km (Fiber Optic type)
|Primarily employed in servo drives and machine tools
|100 m (Copper Ethernet), Distance up to 40 km (Fiber Optic type )
|Real-time I/O and drives integration
|Peer to Peer
|Tailored for Modicon PLCs
This comprehensive comparison aids in selecting the most suitable fieldbus protocol based on specific industrial automation requirements, ensuring optimal performance and reliability in diverse applications.