By Shannon Foos, Director of North American Marketing – FDT Group
Over the years end users have requested a single technology that provides one software tool to integrate device assets over the life cycle of the plant. Today, businesses are frugal with expense budgets, but still driven to embrace technology advancements that result in increased plant performance with sustainable operating cost savings. FDT Technology and its intuitive Frame Application help realize cost reductions often associated with a facility start-up, from engineering through the maintenance stages, for automation devices connected to the automation system.
Smart instrumentation already in the plant or planned for the next project can benefit from FDT Technology to configure all the devices on the network from the maintenance station, engineering station or other remote locations with appropriate security. Once the devices are configured, centralized diagnostics, predictive maintenance and process optimization is achievable for the wide range of smart devices in the facility, regardless of protocol, in a single view. This makes the Frame Application the most powerful tool for smart device integration and management.
Because FDT Technology provides a solid and IEC-62453-standardized structure, end users can make best-in-class automation, asset management and FDT Frame choices—an important benefit in a variety of applications. So, with all of this in mind, let’s discuss Frames in more detail to explain why FDT Technology comes together at the Frame Application.
The Frame Application
Because DTMs are not tied to a proprietary platform and run independent of their environment, the Frame Application is needed to integrate the device intelligence to specific tasks within the system environment. DTMs are uploaded to the PC, which allows the Frame Application communication access to devices on the network. In a plant with multiple device protocols, for example, HART and Foundation fieldbus, or multi-level communication networks, such as HART over Profibus DP, it is the responsibility of the Frame Application to allow point-to-point communication of DTMs through a variety of architectures. The primary functions of Frame Applications are to maintain device and Comm DTMs, provide seamless transparent communication from the DTM to the field devices over a variety of fieldbus protocols, and allow multiple user operation through client / server access.
Fun and Familiar
A FDT Frame instantly feels familiar because it is similar to your favorite web browser, with an intuitive interface and user-friendly navigation tool bars. The Frame Application works in the same manner, making device configuration, operation and maintenance as easy and fun as surfing the worldwide web. Instead of surfing websites, the frame application allows you to view or “surf” the information pages, or DTMs, of the devices connected to your system. Just as web links allow navigation from one topic to another with a click of the mouse, the Frame Application’s hierarchy is linked to Comm and device DTMs to allow navigation through a variety of topologies.
The focus of the Frame Application allows an end user to configure devices using a single interface. Other technologies often use or require proprietary software tools to configure and operate devices. A single interface reduces the need for capital and training investment in additional hardware and software.
Comfortable in a variety of environments, Frames can be embedded in device configuration software, control system-engineering packages, operator consoles or asset management tools and are readily available from a variety of major control system and device suppliers across the globe. With over fifteen Frame Applications available today and a conformity style guide in place, each Frame maintains a consistent look and feel to empower plant personnel for action. To simplify deployment, FDT provides a solution like no other automation device integration technology available today. If your facility has or is planning smart instrumentation, start experiencing system-wide functionality with a single, standardized device integration and management interface by implementing FDT Technology.