FDI project team announces 'milestones'

Author : M Babb

05 September 2009

The Steering Committee of the Electronic Device Description Language (EDDL) Co-operation Team (ECT) announced at Achema that its technical team has achieved “important milestones” as it develops a common solution for field device integration (FDI).

Jörg Freitag, PNO; Hartmut Wallraf, Invensys; Daniel Huber, ABB; Bill Tatum, Fieldbus Foundation; Hans-Georg Kumpfmüller, Chairman of the ECT
Jörg Freitag, PNO; Hartmut Wallraf, Invensys; Daniel Huber, ABB; Bill Tatum, Fieldbus Foundation; Hans-Georg Kumpfmüller, Chairman of the ECT

The FDI project team has been working over the past 18 months to identify use cases encompassing all facets of plant operations, from start up and commissioning; to ongoing maintenance activities and plant operations.

A key outcome of the effort is a draft architecture that migrates Field Device Tool (FDT) and EDDL technologies to a common device integration standard.

The success of the FDI project is the result of close co-operation between the ECT and key global process control suppliers including ABB, Emerson, Endress+Hauser, Honeywell, Invensys, Rockwell Automation, Siemens, Smar and Yokogawa.

Along with the draft architecture, the technical team performed a complete inventory of use cases and wrote a draft functional specification.

The solution is a client/server structure based on the OPC Unified Architecture (OPC UA). The FDI solution contains two elements: a “Device Package” provided by the device supplier containing EDDL components and an optional programmed application for customized user interfaces.

This design permits complete flexibility for users to develop customised user interfaces to meet individual needs.

The next milestone of the project is the development of detailed specifications of the FDI solution. The specifications will then be validated by each of the member organisations which will begin during the second quarter of 2009.

Details of the exact FDI architecture and associated device interface will be unveiled with the release of the final functional specification, currently planned for the summer of 2010.

In 2003, three field device foundations (Fieldbus Foundation, HART Communication Foundation and PROFIBUS Nutzer-organisation) signed a cooperative agreement to develop a common specification for graphical visualisation and persistent data storage enabled by EDDL. 

Hans-Georg Kumpfmüller, Siemens, Chairman of the ECT
Hans-Georg Kumpfmüller, Siemens, Chairman of the ECT

All three of the organisations utilise EDDL for parameterisation and description of their devices.  EDDL was established as an IEC standard (61804-3).

In 2004, the OPC Foundation joined the cooperation team and as a result based its data structure on that same IEC standard and worked with the organisations to develop a standard interface to OPC UA. The four organisations signed an agreement in 2004 to cooperate in the development of that interface.

In 2007, the FDT Group joined the ECT on the basis of a technical agreement to jointly develop a new common standard for device integration. The Steering Committee is comprised of the presidents of each foundation plus one representative from each organisation’s membership. Hans-Georg Kumpfmueller is chairman of the committee.

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