Smar presents ISA web seminar on FOUNDATIONTM Fieldbus

In March 2004, ISA conducted web seminars on FOUNDATION™ Fieldbus technology for the third time in recent months. The current adoption rate of this technology is extraordinary and was reflected in the seminar participation figures. With 7 sites registered, there were more than 60 participants for the web seminar "Overview of FOUNDATION™ Fieldbus Technology". For the "FOUNDATION™ Fieldbus H1 Field-Level Installation and Commissioning" web seminar, 8 sites had registered totaling over 50 participants. The presenter of these web seminars is ISA's best selling author Jonas Berge (General Manager, Smar Singapore).

Although there are numerous users around the world using this technology in virtually all industries; and with major users now requiring FOUNDATION™ Fieldbus and allowing no alternative technologies, there are still countless people to which fieldbus is new. These individuals are now utilizing the web to learn this technology in order to close the gap on the leadership enjoyed by those who have implemented Fieldbus technology from its inception. The overview seminar introduces the FOUNDATION™ Fieldbus system architecture including H1 and HSE buses.

It touches on benefits and savings, network topologies, the block concept, coexistence with legacy conventional I/O, troubleshooting tools, operation, engineering, as well as maintenance and asset management. Specific concerns such as availability and safety are also addressed. The second seminar goes into greater detail on installation and commissioning of H1. It teaches network topologies, power supply considerations, intrinsic safety, wire types and length, repeaters and bridges, as well as host software preparation and commissioning.

Recently new material on non-incendive installation practices was also added. The technology behind the web seminar is simple. The slides are displayed in a regular web browser from the Internet after the participants log in with a name and password sent in advance. Participants listen to the speaker by dialing to a call center (toll free in the USA). An experienced conference operator facilitates the calls, ensures sound quality, and acts as host. Multiple participants at each site are permitted and quite common. The presenter has tools such as a "laser pointer", "check", and "pens", etc., and drives the presentation by moving through the slides. Participating sites are also given handouts. The presentation lasts 1-1/2 hours and is paced in three blocks each of a 20-minute slide presentation followed by 10 minutes of questions and answers. During the Q&A, the users can queue to ask questions by pressing a key on the phone. Users can also key in questions "live" through the Internet. Participant interaction is very effective with several questions probing further into specific details and providing shared experience for the group. Feedback from these seminars has been very encouraging and ideas and new developments continue to be added into the presentation which is now in its third revision.

The two seminars are based on the award winning book "Fieldbuses for Process Control: Engineering, Operation, and Maintenance" written by Jonas and now available in several languages. The book and the seminars complement each other. The book permits you to study at your own pace, while the seminar allows you to ask the author questions first hand.

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