The Fieldbus Foundation, conducting a press conference at Hannover Messe 2014, announced that the FDI Cooperation, LLC's Field Device Integration (FDI) specification and FDI developer toolkits are now available to beta test participants, enabling additional 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.
In November 2013, the FDI specification and FDI developer toolkits were released to selected companies but now all Fieldbus Foundation member companies licensed to use FOUNDATION developer toolkits are eligible to participate in the beta test. Final FDI developer tools are scheduled for release in Q3, 2014.
Coinciding with the NAMUR annual meeting in November 2013, 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, November 2013, 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 FDI specification will be available for download at www.fdi-cooperation.com.