Field Device Integration (FDI) Specification and Developer Tools Now Available
After more than two years of waiting, the Fieldbus Foundation is pleased to announce the first public release of FDI Cooperation, LLC's Field Device Integration (FDI) specification and a demo of the FDI developer toolkits, both of which will make it possible for automation suppliers to prepare for developing products and host systems compatible with FDI.
The Fieldbus Foundation is one of the founding members of FDI Cooperation, LLC.
As part of the release, which coincided with the NAMUR annual meeting, the FDI specification and the latest Electronic Device Description Language (EDDL) specifications were handed over to the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) for the next important phase—the Committee Draft for Vote—in the international standardization process. FDI will be included in the emerging standard IEC 62769.
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 represents individual instruments.
Each FDI Device Package contains a mandatory Device Description (EDD), providing parameter definitions, structure for the parameters for context-specific views, and automated work processes for device procedures such as calibration. FDI Device Packages may also incorporate User Interface Plug-Ins, software components that support advanced device setup and diagnostic functions. Additionally, product manuals, documentation, images, electronic certifications and other attachments may be delivered in the FDI Device Package.
FDI Device Packages make it easier for automation suppliers to develop and integrate intelligent devices because they only need to create a single, unified FDI Device Package for each intelligent device that can work with all host systems and tools, reducing overall development costs while preserving and expanding existing functionality. Users will also find it easier to manage information from intelligent devices with a single device package, instead of juggling different technologies and investing significant capital in custom integration efforts to connect multiple technology platforms.
With the release of the FDI specification, FDI Cooperation demonstrated a preview edition of the common cross protocol Integrated Development Environment (IDE), which will help device manufacturers create FDI Device Packages for Foundation fieldbus, HART and Profibus devices. The purpose of standard developer tools is to ensure that automation suppliers can develop high-quality, reliable FDI-based solutions in a consistent manner. A standard set of developer tools significantly reduces development costs and speeds time to market for both device developers and system developers.
The IDE will include a reference host that allows device developers to execute and test FDI Device Package against a standard implementation to ensure product quality.
The demo of the developer tools was based on the protocol-independent FDI Common Host Components. Host system manufacturers implement FDI Common Host Components for device management tools, asset management tools, and process automation systems. FDI Common Host Components allow for rapid development and ensure FDI Device Packages behave consistently across different systems. FDI Host Components fully support legacy EDD libraries to protect end user investments.
The live demonstration at the NAMUR Annual General Meeting showed FDI functionality in field devices from six different suppliers, all of which are integrated with the help of FDI device packages within a process control system. The demonstration, organized and constructed by Siemens, included typical use cases, such as parameter assignment, configuration, diagnostics, functional testing, and maintenance. This was the first time a commercial system based on common components was applied to interpret FDI device packages.
The five major automation foundations, including the FDT Group, Fieldbus Foundation, HART Communication Foundation, Profibus & Profinet International, and the OPC Foundation have developed a single common solution for Field Device Integration (FDI). These foundations have combined their efforts to form a joint company named FDI Cooperation, LLC (a limited liability company under US law). FDI Cooperation, LLC is headed by a "Board of Managers," which is composed of the representatives of the involved organizations, as well as managers of global automation suppliers including ABB, Emerson, Endress+Hauser, Honeywell, Invensys, Siemens and Yokogawa. FDI Cooperation LLC marks an unprecedented level of cooperation among suppliers and foundations to achieve a single integration technology for the benefit of end users. FDI's mandate is to develop a single technology for the management of information that comes from all intelligent devices throughout all areas of the plant.The FDI specification will be available for download at www.fdi-cooperation.com.