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Intelligent Down to the Smallest Detail—FieldConnex® Surge Protectors with Diagnostics

FieldConnex® Surge Protector
The FieldConnex® Surge Protector offers more than lightning protection

Today's fieldbus systems are already highly reliable, meaning every effort is being made to ultimately secure full availability. In areas where storms cause voltage peaks, lightning protection for the fieldbus installation is a key topic - especially since the latest lightning protection is self-monitoring.

Due to the development of the innovative FieldConnex® surge protectors, Pepperl+Fuchs is able to take a crucial step towards greater availability. This innovative technology not only offers protection from lightning and voltage peaks, but also indicates when its functional reserve is exhausted. An automatic self-monitoring function measures the number and strength of power surges and uses this data to precisely calculate when the available lightning protection has been exhausted.

Lightning protection with self-diagnostics function

The duration for which a plant is protected against voltage peaks depends on the frequency and severity of the "strikes". While the lightning protection needs to be replaced immediately after a single severe impulse of 20 kilo amperes, the signal strength is exhausted only after approx. 1,000 minor surges of 3 kilo amperes.

  • The new FieldConnex® surge protector automatically indicates that the protector needs to be replaced when the lightning protection is exhausted. The diagnostic software indicates where devices need to be replaced within the process plant. In this way, time-consuming and costly manual checks after thunderstorms are no longer necessary.

During day-to-day plant operation, the performance of the lightning protection may be compromised by a number of small power surges. These surges cause a leakage current to form before the surge protector finally fails. This process affects the load characteristics of the fieldbus segment, which can result in overloading.

  • To prevent effects and unwanted incidents of this nature, the new diagnostic technology is able to identify and report any changes in the quality of the lightning protection. The information is communicated to the control system via the existing fieldbus infrastructure.

No additional wiring

Junction box with diagnostic-enabled components
Junction box with diagnostic-enabled components

Installing and replacing the new surge protectors is a quick and seamless process that can be performed on site. The devices are simply attached to the Segment Protector in the junction box. The time required and costs involved are considerably reduced since no additional wiring is necessary.

It is possible to retrofit an existing plant with surge protectors without the need for additional engineering work. Since the new surge protector for the fieldbus is available as an option without the self-diagnostic function, it can be easily attached to the FieldConnex® Segment Protector in existing plants.

Like all components in the new FieldConnex® diagnostic technology range, surge protectors are suitable for the FOUNDATION fieldbus H1 and PROFIBUS PA bus systems.

Benefits at a glance

  • Automatic self-monitoring and alarm reporting functions
  • Time-consuming and costly manual checks no longer required
  • Quick and simple installation with no additional wiring level
  • Can be retrofitted in existing plants

Learn more about the technical background

For more extensive details and background information on the functionality and wear of lightning protection, refer to the technical white paper entitled "Advanced Diagnostic Fieldbus Surge Protection." The paper explains the underlying physics, fault patterns, and cost/benefit calculation in greater detail.

White paper „Advanced Diagnostic Fieldbus Surge Protection“   

Download the white paper „Advanced Diagnostic Fieldbus Surge Protection“

Another white paper outlines typical problems that can occur during installation and how to solve these problems via the fieldbus while maintaining and increasing availability.

White paper entitled "Advanced Failure Protection by Fieldbus Device Couplers"  

Download the white paper "Advanced Failure Protection by Fieldbus Device Couplers"