JAN-FEB 2018

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16 INTECH JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018 WWW.ISA.ORG PROCESS AUTOMATION OT systems is simplified, because the data communicated has the context of the data with all the information about the HART devices. Standardization of devices, includ- ing their data and metadata, makes configuration easier, reduces applica- tion engineering labor, and simpli- fies training of new plant personnel, including operators, engineering, and maintenance. Training is a significant cost for any manufacturer, and having suppliers agree on data formats makes everyone's life easier. FDI technology has been developed and supported by the automation in- dustry's leading technology founda- tions and suppliers. FDI is scalable and combines the advantages of FDT ® with those of Electronic Device Description Language. FDI takes account of the various tasks over the entire life cycle for both simple and complex devices, including configuration, commission- ing, diagnosis, and calibration. OPC Foundation's president and executive director, Thomas J. Burke, emphasizes, "It has been rewarding to collaborate with FieldComm Group on crucial technology initiatives. Our or- ganizations have a common strategy and vision. We understand the value of implementing the best specifica - tion and certification processes, and providing technology to our respec- tive communities to bring world-class products to market." I believe the FDI standard provides a proven solution for end users to better manage their assets by having standard - ized device configurations that are inde- pendent of the vendors and networking technologies involved with their respec - tive installations. With FDI, the true po- tential of decentralization, transparen- cy, integration, and a central view of all data and functions can be fully realized. FDI device packages and EDDL In automation systems with field instru- ments from a variety of vendors, there is a need to reduce the effort of installation, version management, and device opera- tion. This requirement can only be met with an open and standardized device integration solution. For this reason, the FieldComm Group has specified a stan- dard architecture for device integration FDI (IEC 61769) that applies IEC 61804, Electronic Device Description Language (EDDL), for the description of devices, including their representation in the OPC UA information model. Typical use cases for this solution include: l interaction between users and the device (user interface) l integration of new communication protocols (i.e., FDI communication servers) l access to device information by OPC UA clients that are not FDI aware, such as archiving tools, maintenance tools, asset management, or ERP systems FieldComm Group and the OPC Foundation cooperated on a compan- ion specification defining how the in- formation of a field device—described by an electronic device description document—is mapped to OPC UA ob- jects, methods, and variables. The infor- mation model is primarily based on the OPC UA for Devices specification (IEC 61541-100); in fact, most of the OPC UA for Devices model has been driven by FDI requirements. FieldComm Group's director of in- tegration technology, Achim Lauben- stein, states, "FDI technology man- ages information from intelligent field devices during their entire life cycle— from configuration, commissioning, and diagnostics to calibration, making one-off solutions for different devices obsolete. The standardization of field device information facilitates the de- velopment of native OPC UA applica- tions that support the OPC UA device information model." In addition to the device model, FDI defines how communication topologies of the automation system, representing the entire communication infrastruc- ture, should be represented in an OPC UA AddressSpace. The comprehensive set of services provided by OPC UA en- ables the "how" of system integration. Cloud applications FieldComm Group's Integration Work- ing Group is enhancing the FDI/OPC UA information model specification to provide semantics for machine-read- able information. This specification will allow cloud-based applications to pro- cess field device information without extra configuration. Mapping the FieldComm Group's data model to OPC UA enables friction - less OPC UA client/server and pub- lisher/subscriber connections to the cloud. Applications that traditionally run on premise can now run globally in the cloud without having to change the interface to easily take advantage of robust cloud applications. Industrial organizations can have seamless infor - mation integration into cloud comput- ing platforms, significantly enhancing compatibility and interoperability in the new digital world. Future FieldComm Group and the OPC Foundation are committed to devel - oping complete infrastructures and solutions for seamless information integration in industrial automation applications. Both organizations rec - ognize they must provide standards that help solve real-world problems and create new opportunities. This includes ongoing enhancements to the FDI standard, and potentially in - corporating other organizations' net- working technologies into a common integration architecture. For more information, please visit the FDI Technology Overview (www. fdi/fdi-technology). n ABOUT THE AUTHOR Ted Masters (tmasters@fieldcommgroup. org), president and CEO of FieldComm Group, has supported the process indus- try in leadership roles at a wide variety of technology companies for about 25 years. He has managed the growth and delivery of products, software, and service solu- tions to industrial markets. Masters' career has been centered around converting op- erational data into actionable intelligence and helping users make better decisions to capture the value by integration into busi- ness systems and processes. View the online version at

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