DesignMATE™, a complete software tool for planning, validating, and documenting FOUNDATION fieldbus H1 segments, is now available from the Fieldbus Foundation. The user-friendly tool automatically audits segment layouts for conformance with the FOUNDATION physical layer specification, which is based on the international IEC 61158-2 (Type 1) standard. The software ensures end users that their fieldbus infrastructure will work with desired parameters such as cable length, number and type of installed devices, and selected power supplies.
"With the DesignMATE software, end users can simplify the implementation of FOUNDATION technology," said Stephen Mitschke, Fieldbus Foundation manager, fieldbus products. "This tool verifies that a fieldbus physical layer conforms to accepted industry standards and is designed for optimal performance and reliability. It is ideally suited for engineering firms or system integrators designing new or expanded process plants, as well as plant control engineers or technicians adding new devices to existing fieldbus segments. DesignMATE helps in foreseeing any issues with the configuration of a fieldbus system prior to implementation," he added. "It allows users to perform rapid calculations, eliminate human error, improve efficiency, and minimize the amount of paperwork required during the segment design phase."
DesignMATE software provides an intuitive graphical user interface and mouse support, enabling fieldbus segment design "on the fly" with drag-and-drop capabilities. The tool displays fieldbus segments in the form of an exportable image of a stylized topology. A printable report in rich text format (.rtf) is also available. Users can analyze and check key physical layer parameters such as supply voltage, load conditions at all terminals of power supply, fieldbus couplers, and field instruments. An error log shows deviations from the FOUNDATION specification in clear text visuals for immediate remedy by the user.
The software tool also is able to consider ambient temperature and cable parameters, which can be easily set in the respective dialog windows. Default values for spur length or device load current only need to be established once. In addition, the software features libraries for all components in the typical FOUNDATION fieldbus infrastructure, including power supplies, fieldbus couplers for both safe and hazardous plant areas, and field instruments. Fieldbus devices from a wide range of automation equipment manufacturers are available in the software. An easy-to-use device editor helps create custom instrument libraries.