Industrial Ethernet

FDI specifications, tools and host components delivered to automation market

By FieldCommGroup

Jul 10, 2015

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FieldComm Group is supporting the implementation of Field Device Integration (FDI) technology by distributing compliant specifications, tools and host components for the FOUNDATION Fieldbus, HART, PROFIBUS and PROFINET protocols. This effort will assist automation manufacturers in the development of FDI Device Packages and compatible host systems.

Major automation industry foundations and controls & instrumentation suppliers established FDI Cooperation, LLC to standardize the integration of field devices into host systems. This effort combined the advantages of Field Device Tool (FDT) technology and Electronic Device Description Language (EDDL) in a single solution.

With the dissolution of FDI Cooperation, LLC in July, FieldComm Group will become the home for FDI technology. According to President and CEO Ted Masters, the organization is committed to delivering FDI tools across the leading automation protocols, as well as driving enhancement and adoption of the technology as the integration standard for the marketplace.

"FieldComm Group will provide comprehensive support for FDI development, which includes technical assistance and conformance testing around the world," Master said. "Our goal is to ensure a high-quality standard that maintains interoperability between protocols and vendors, and enables backwards compatibility between generations of field devices and host systems."

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Approval of the FDI specification as part of the emerging International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 62769 standard is expected by mid-2015. At the core of the specification is the FDI Device Package, which includes everything a host system needs to integrate an intelligent device. A single FDI Device Package can scale according to the complexities and requirements of instruments, making it easier for automation suppliers to develop and integrate device information and configurations across a wide range of host systems and protocols.

FDI technology is future-proof and fits seamlessly into the Reference Architecture Model for Industry 4.0 (RAMI) described in the Implementation Strategy for Industry 4.0 by German industry associations BITKOM, VDMA and ZVEI. The Reference Architecture Model names FDI technology for the Integration Layer and the Functional Layer. The FDI client/server architecture with its Device Information Model (according IEC 62541-100) provides everything to model real devices as virtual objects and bring them to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

Developers can implement and test FDI Device Packages using the FDI Integrated Development Environment (IDE), which helps instrumentation manufacturers create solutions for FOUNDATION Fieldbus, HART and PROFIBUS/PROFINET devices. Electronic Device Descriptions (EDDs) are created with the help of an editor and converted to the encoded file format by means of "tokenizing" (the binary coding of an EDD). The encoded EDD, the UIP developed using Visual Studio, and the attachments are then combined to form an FDI Device Package. A runtime environment (reference host) runs the FDI Packages for tests and debugging. Finally, a test engine is used to automatically run FDI Package conformance tests.

Host system manufacturers may utilize FDI Common Host Components for host systems such as device management tools, asset management tools, and process automation systems. They allow for rapid development and ensure FDI Device Packages behave consistently across different systems. FDI Common Host Components fully support the new unified EDD file format for FOUNDATION Fieldbus, HART and PROFIBUS/PROFINET devices, as well as existing FOUNDATION Fieldbus and HART EDDs to protect end-user investments. The EDD Engine supports the entire language scope of EDD in a multiprotocol manner, in accordance with IEC 61804-3, and is backward compatible with existing EDD formats.

For more information about FDI developer resources, please visit www.fieldcommgroup.org.