Adopting Smart Instrumentation Diagnostic Operator Alert Standard

by | Mar 12, 2013 | Control & Safety Systems


The Fieldbus Foundation has been collaborating with the international process industry end-user association, NAMUR, to adopt the NAMUR NE-107 standard as part of the Fieldbus Foundation’s Diagnostics Profile Specification (FF-912). The purpose of this NE-107 standard is to make use of diagnosis from intelligent field devices to support operators to take appropriate actions as required.

The Fall 2012 Fieldbus Report provided a nice recap of this effort:

Fall Fieldbus ReportBased on the NAMUR NE107 recommendations, the Fieldbus Foundation developed a profiles specification enhancing the organization and integration of device diagnostics within Foundation fieldbus systems. The diagnostic profile includes a standard and open interface for reporting all device alarm conditions, and provides a means of categorizing alert conditions by severity. The technology facilitates routing of alerts to appropriate consoles based on user-selectable severity categories. In addition, it provides recommended corrective actions and detailed help, as well as an indication of the overall health of the device.

The Foundation fieldbus Diagnostics Profile Specification (FF-912) allows any Electronic Device Description (EDD)-based system to access and configure the diagnostics in fieldbus devices. The field diagnostics profile made no changes to the existing Foundation fieldbus stack specifications. However, it did introduce a new field diagnostic alert type. System updates will provide more extensive integration capabilities (such as Wizards for configuration) that will enhance diagnostics performance.

In a blog post, Putting NAMUR NE 107 to Work for You, the Fieldbus Foundation’s Larry O’Brien noted:

The Fieldbus Foundation made NAMUR NE107 part of our specification, and all the devices that get tested and registered under our new Interoperability Test Kit version 6 must conform to the NE 107 spec. The same goes for all our new host DCS systems tested under our new host profile registration process.

Configuring FF921 Alarms in a DeltaV systemI wanted to highlight a recent whitepaper by Emerson’s DeltaV team, Configuring FF912 Alarms in a DeltaV System, on how this standard has been incorporated into the DeltaV control system. For those familiar with the DeltaV system’s PlantWeb Alerts, these NE-107/FF-912 device alerts are mapped into the PlantWeb Alerts.

Support for the FF-912 alerts for both Emerson and non-Emerson smart instrumentation in introduced in the DeltaV v12 release. Alert classifications include failure, out of specification, maintenance required, and check function (temporarily non-valid due to some form of maintenance activity.) The system by default will use the NE-107 alarms when a device supporting FF-912 is created in the DeltaV system. Emerson devices supporting PlantWeb alerts can continue to use them as they exist today. Here’s how the alarm categories map between the two approaches:

NE -107 Device Alarm Category

DeltaV PlantWeb Alarm Category







Check Function

Check Function (new in DeltaV v12)


See the whitepaper for specific configuration settings. The whitepaper closes:

Out of the box, the DeltaV system provides a comprehensive device alert reporting system including support for FF912.

Fieldbus devices internally generate alert based on device conditions and report them to the DeltaV system for annunciation and logging. DeltaV v12 and later support devices using FF-912. The DeltaV system maps the FF-912 alerts into PlantWeb alerts and incorporate FF-912 alerts into the overall alarm management system with the ability to fine-tune annunciation based on assignment of alarm priority, plant area, and workstation alarm banner threshold. Device plant area assignment automatically follows the control module where they are assigned.

DeltaV v12 provides functionality that satisfies the intent of NAMUR’s NE-107 recommendation. Device alerts should be introduced methodically to a DeltaV system, to avoid inappropriate notifications to operators who either have no action to take when alerted or have not been trained to respond. When properly deployed, device alerts can significantly improve system availability and reduce unscheduled outages.

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The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the authors. Content published here is not read or approved by Emerson before it is posted and does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Emerson.

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