Whether there’s a difference between the HART and FOUNDATION Fieldbus networks depends on how your devices are set up. If they only read 4-20 mA outputs, then yes, you’ll receive fewer data on a HART network. In fact, all relevant diagnostics and features will die in the field!  You have to configure your devices to send their digital data as well, or the control system will only receive the process values through the 4-20 mA.

HART network

Quantum system with HART card diagram
Quantum system with HART card

Fortunately, a HART system offers the same intelligent device management (IDM) that you’d find in a FOUNDATION Fieldbus (FF) device. As a matter of fact, a HART network can provide easy setups for your transmitters through its configuration tool. Of course, your control system will need to use 4-20 mA to control loops, which is the main disadvantage when we compare HART and Fieldbus.

FOUNDATION Fieldbus network

foundation fieldbus network diagram
Foundation Fieldbus – Copyright Relcom Inc.

FF offers digital communication from the primary device to the final control element. You also have the IDM in all devices, providing the same level of information as HART. FF uses digital communication and HART uses analog, so it makes more sense to compare FF and 4-20 mA.

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