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International wireless standard agreed

19 April 2010

Standards organisation International Electrotechnical Commission’s (IEC) has unanimous voted to certify WirelessHART technology as the first global standard for wireless communications for industrial process measurement and control.

International wireless standard agreed
International wireless standard agreed

Known as IEC 62591, the standard has been developed by the not-for-profit HART Communication Foundation and applies to refineries, chemical plants, energy producers, and other process businesses wanting to add wireless technologies to their operations.

It also provides end users with multi-vendor interoperability and protects their technology investment.

"The commission’s endorsement of this standard confirms that this technology is a reliable, versatile, and economical tool for improving process operations and enabling a significant return on investment," said Steve Sonnenberg, president of HART Communication Foundation member Emerson Process Management. "IEC 62591 compliant technology will have as great an impact in process plants as Wi-Fi has in offices."

IEC 62591 devices operate in state of the art, self-organising wireless networks that automatically re-route communications to avoid obstacles or other interruptions. The standard is also based on the widely used HART communication protocol designed for the configuration and integration of devices into automation systems. This enables customers who wish to add WirelessHART products to existing systems, the ability to take advantage of familiar tools and training.

Emerson was one of the first to offer WirelessHART products and now offers a broad portfolio of devices using the technology and like many other suppliers is building broad support for IEC 62591 by developing products based on the standard. "The adoption rate has been incredible," said Sonnenberg. "Emerson customers are already using our WirelessHART products in more than 1,200 installations around the world. Having an international standard should accelerate this growth by assuring them of future compatibility, allowing them to begin gaining the benefits of this exciting new technology."

Specifications for HART and WirelessHART are controlled by the HART Communication Foundation, an international, not-for-profit organisation with more than 200 member companies that include major process automation manufacturers.

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