The decisions and ROI calculations get even more complex when plant staff and their engineering partners are constrained by or must factor in obsolescence should the plant want to consider upgrading their process systems’ communication method. Clearly being able to upgrade or change out the output from an existing instrument is the preferred and lowest cost solution to this situation. Randy Brown, marketing manager for FCI, says his company’s newest line of thermal mass flow meters is designed to do just that.
FCI’s new ST100 Series air/gas flow meters not only have the most comprehensive selection of outputs, but all are field changeable by the user. An ST100 flow meter with traditional 4-20mA/HART outputs today can be migrated to a ST100 with Profibus or Foundation Fieldbus bus communication any time in the future. FCI’s ST100 Series design team listened to instrument, process, and plant engineers to better understand their problems and needs. A common theme was for a flexible design that could adapt to alternative communications technologies that might be deployed in the future. Brown said the ST100 meets that demand and more.
While all thermal flow meters provide at least a single 4-20mA analog output only a few, including FCI, provide any two-way bus communications and none with interchangeability. FCI’s ST100 Series has multiple analog and bus communications outputs for the user to choose from. More importantly, said Brown, all these output are changeable – a unique feature that lets the user adapt the flow meter to present and future needs. If a plant’s process control communications strategy ever changes, the user can switch the ST100 outputs to adapt to it.