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Implementing Communication Buses

By Bill Tavegia, Bob Copeland, and Tom Muszynski, Novaspect Inc. |

    The reason for installing a bus is generally four-fold: to reduce costs; to speed and simplify control system design, installation, and startup; to provide alarming and troubleshooting diagnostics; and to gather valuable information about the process itself.   Today, we specify bus-connected automation almost exclusively for both new automation systems and retrofits in applications ranging in size from skids to large plants. The advantages are too great to ignore in cutting the time and cost of engineering, testing, installation, commissioning, and startup. Once up and running, the advantages continue in terms of alarming, troubleshooting, diagnostics, realtime and historic data capture, field device asset management, process revisions, connectivity to other systems, life cycle costs, and other benefits. (A thorough discussion of potential benefits is presented in Part 1 of this report, p. 48.)   Roughly speaking, any process automation system having more than eight devices or pieces of electronically controlled equipment becomes a candidate for economic bus connection. The minimum number of drops depends on many factors, not all economic – such as if detailed process data from devices and equipment must…
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