FDT, SAM & a Common Interface

Dec. 11, 2009

Those of you in the process analyser community are likely familiar with the New Sample System Initiative (NeSSI) that started with a modular sample system backplane defined in ISA standard 76.00.02 and the supporting work is being led by the Center for Process Analytic Chemistry (CPAC) at the University of Washington. More information on NeSSI can be found at http://www.cpac.washington.edu/NeSSI/NeSSI.htm.

The NeSSI team is now working on the Objective 4 to “Lay the groundwork for Pipe to Pixel™ open connectivity architecture for intrinsically safe transducer communications and industry standard communication protocols.” and this is known by the acronym SAM – Sensor/Actuator Manager. SAM is to be the universal interface between the analytical backplane and the analyser network(s) including in some definitions the ability to be programmed and operate the sample system, definitely as a means to perform the maintenance and diagnostics of the sample preparation equipment.

Because SAM may need to support multiple different protocols, one alternative that should be considered is FDT http://fdt-group.org/ since with the right combination of Communication DTM’s and a single Style Guide it may just ‘do the trick’ with minimal new development/coding required by the analyser community and their suppliers. DTM’s are designed to provide calibration and maintenance information in a rich graphical environment so both organisations at least have that objective in common. Fortunately, these two groups are now in communication so time will tell how this works out. We’ll keep you informed as we learn more.

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