"This standard is needed to ensure the consistent management of a plant-wide control and automation technology, focused on life-cycle management," said Klaus-Peter Lindner, Standard and Practices Board Member and interim chair of the committee.
A goal of the standard is to create universal and central plant-wide tooling for the life-cycle management of heterogeneous fieldbus environments, multi-vendor devices and sub-systems in process and manufacturing. The standard also aims to develop integrated and consistent life-cycle data of the control system. The committee targets to enact simple but still powerful vendor-independent integration of different automation devices and sub-systems into life-cycle management tools, either stand-alone ones or those of a control system.
The standard will define the interfaces for both the vertical and the horizontal data flow, called Function Control and Data Access, in the framework of a Client-Server architecture. It will allow application software and configuration tools to interact with field devices in a unified way. It will open the manufacturer-specific interaction with devices or sub-systems using software modules.
The architecture and interface specification will define the following functions and features:
- A channel oriented interface for analogue and discrete input and output process variables
- An interface for device or sub-system parameters and diagnosis data
- An interface for persistent data storage of all instance data
- A communication interface which allows nested communication over different bus systems
- A session model which defines the interaction between the software components and the host application using XML based data exchange
The standard will allow any field bus, device or sub-system specific software tool to be integrated as part of a universal life-cycle management tool of a plant automation system. "As part of ISA's commitment to the development of global standards for industry, the committee will also be working with and attempting to harmonize their end products with the work of IEC SC65C WG14 (Field Device Tool)," noted Ian Verhappen, ISA VP of Standards and Practices.
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