FDI moves a step closer

21 April 2015

Suzanne Gill reports on recent advances with the FDI specification, which aims to harmonise EDDL languages.

The FDI specification has been publically released and made available through the FieldComm Group. It was submitted to the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) for final approval in the international standardisation process and will be included in the emerging standard IEC 62769 that is expected to be approved very soon.

FDI was created to offer greater compatibility of EDDL-based (Electronic Device Description Language) networks such as HART, Foundation Fieldbus, Profibus & Profinet, and is designed to allow these networks to be more easily integrated with each other. It will also allow EDDL-based systems to be integrated into a host of other industrial networks, via existing FDT technology.

The FDI solution is needed because over the years different EDDL-based networks have developed their own unique dialogue, to the point where they are often not compatible, so, instrument manufacturers introducing instruments on multiple buses need to go through a variety of different certification processes – with a different EDDL file for each – even though the device is the same for each of the networks.

The different EDDL networks also pose problems for end-users it is necessary to find the right EDDL file for the network onto which a new device is being deployed.

One of the major requirements of the FDI standard, therefore, is to harmonise the EDDL language to create a single, common, interpreter for all the different EDDL files across the EDDL-based networks which will simplify the architecture and improve interoperability. 
The FieldComm Group was formed through the combining of two founding members of the FDI Cooperation, LLC – the Fieldbus Foundation and HART Communication Foundation.    

At the core of the FDI specification is the FDI Device Package that includes everything a host system needs to integrate an intelligent device. With FDI, a single FDI Device Package that can scale according to the complexities and requirements of each device will make it easier for automation suppliers to develop and integrate device information and configurations across a range of host systems and protocols.

Developers can now start to implement and test FDI Device Packages using the FDI Integrated Development Environment (IDE), which will help create FDI Device Packages for FOUNDATION fieldbus, HART and PROFIBUS devices.

Host system manufacturers can also now implement FDI Host Components for device management tools, asset management tools, or process automation systems. 

The FDI specification, developer tools and host components are be available through the FieldComm at www.fieldcommgroup.org

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