Sunday, 10 October 2010

FDT news unveiled at #ISAwk

FDT Technology Moves Closer to ISA Standard
ISA103 overcomes significant hurdles, accelerates ISA standard

The FDT Group announced that FDT Technology, a previously approved international standard (IEC 62453), has been approved by the ISA103 committee and is now pending as an International Society of Automation (ISA) and American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard. Once approved, the value proposition of FDT that enables any fieldbus, device or sub‐system specific software tool to be integrated as part of a universal life‐cycle management tool for the American marketplace will be validated by two independent sources.

The ISA103 Field Device Tool Interface Committee was formed in 2006 to consider the adoption of FDT Technology as an ISA Standard. In May 2009, ISA 103 committee efforts were accelerated when FDT Technology was unanimously accepted by the International Electrotechnical Commission as IEC 62453. Since that time, the ISA103 committee worked to make the approved international standard available for approval by both the ISA and ANSI.

Chaired by Ian Verhappen, the ISA103 committee represents a cross section of industrial automation industry professionals including users, designers, implementers, educators and suppliers of leading industrial automation technology. The committee worked together to adopt the full suite of FDT standards as ISA‐103.00.01 through ISA‐103.00.09.

Adoption of these standards will support the most commonly used protocols implemented in the process and factory automation industries today. “The team could not have picked a better time to approve standardization efforts with the large number of projects that are being planned to enhance productivity while reducing integration costs,” said Verhappen. As a result of this effort, end users will have the freedom to choose best in class FDT based products allowing engineers access to their smart instruments in a rich graphical environment including tools that will allow users to make better use of diagnostic information, improve ability to perform maintenance and much more. Wil Chin, Research Director, ARC Advisory Group commented, “With formal IEC, ISA, and ANSI approvals, users can deploy standard FDT Technology globally and expect seamless integration of asset information that can be freely distributed between the plants without custom intervention.”

To confirm the strong acceptance of device integration based on FDT Technology, a public review of the standards has been submitted for adoption as an ISA/ANSI standard benefiting the US industry and its ability to better compete in the global automation and control community.

Once complete, the ISA Standards and Practice Board will vote finalizing the ISA103 standard by December, 2010. Moving forward, the ISA103 committee will focus on keeping pace with FDT specification updates and the late 2011 maintenance cycle of the IEC 62453 standard. As FDT Technology moves along its future development path with additional enhancements such as FDT 2.0 and new annexes to incorporate additional communication protocols, the ISA103 working group will ensure that the pending ISA and American National Standard is maintained to support the automation industry and the American market.

New FDT 2.0 Adds Features to Enhances Performance in a Full .NET Environment

The FDT Group, AISBL released the draft of its new FDT 2.0 standard to start its membership review process. This major update transitions the FDT standard to a full .NET development environment and provides significant performance enhancements for large installations and adds a wealth of new features requested by the manufacturer and end user communities. While the capabilities of the standard have been greatly enhanced, the number of interfaces has been reduced by nearly 50 percent to make it easier to develop and maintain FDT based applications.

“Our technical development team has done an outstanding job of catapulting the standard forward while ensuring backward compatibility to the installed base,” stated Glenn Schulz, Managing Director of the FDT Group. “The FDT standard has earned the reputation of being the standard that brings other automation standards to a common, interoperable platform for the benefit of the end user. This tradition will grow with the ability to use the upcoming FDI device package within FDT as a configuration method for process industry devices.” c
Wil Chin, Research Director, ARC Advisory Group commented, “The remarkable growth of the FDT standard in terms of vendor support and end user adoption is ensuring its continued success. The additional capabilities of FDT 2.0 make it the appropriate platform for process and factory automation applications regardless of network types and device configuration methods.”

Tightly coupled to the new FDT 2.0 standard is a richly integrated development environment (IDE) called FDT Express. “When we set out to update the FDT standard, we committed to fully author the standard within the development environment. This allows us to release FDT Express coincident with the release of the standard,” noted Ted Takeuchi, VP of Technology for the FDT Group. “FDT Express significantly reduces the development time of FDT applications while ensuring compliance to the standard." FDT Express will be made available without charge to all members of the FDT Group.

The FDT Group is also preparing its supporting infrastructure for the new standard. Common
components, test tools, the style guide, the life cycle policy, and the product certification process will all be brought forward to match the new standard. Immediately after the members who chair the technology leadership positions have concluded their review of the draft standard, the general membership of the FDT Group will formally enter in the review process of the new FDT 2.0 standard prior to its anticipated public release in the first quarter of 2011.

First FDT Americas Certification Testing Site
Center will offer DTM certification testing, analysis services and will welcome end user visitors to see FDT in action.

Lorain County Community College in Elyria, OH will be the home to the first FDT certification testing center in the Americas. This new center will support the global automation market by providing consultancy services in the areas of DTM analysis, testing of communication, gateway and device DTMs during development and final DTM certification testing to ensure conformance to the FDT specification. In addition to these services, LCCC will host an in‐house integration evaluation and testing lab providing a hands‐on facility for users to validate benefits of FDT Technology, implementing asset management strategies based off FDT Technology.

FDT Technology known as IEC 62453 provides the device integration standardization solution for the communication and configuration interface between all field devices and host systems. DTMs are the ‘key driver’ to provide a centralized remote access point for horizontal and vertical data flow, allowing for a safer work environment by reducing the number of trips to the field and lowering start‐up and commissioning costs.

The opening of the certification testing center supports a $5.5 million grant from the Wright Center for Sensor Systems Engineering (WCSSE) that LCCC recently received. The WCSSE Program as outlined is funded by the State of Ohio’s Third Frontier Program (TFP), supporting economic development objectives allowing transition from older industries to newer, high‐growth industrial technology markets like sensor technology. “This is an exciting step for Lorain County Community College,” said Duncan Estep, Director, FDT Technology Certification Testing Center –Americas. “The college’s alignment with the FDT Group and their international membership of leading automation users and suppliers builds on the steps we are taking to make Lorain County and Northeast Ohio a center for the automation and sensor markets.”

Currently the center is installing lab equipment and building competency as it prepares for the rigorous accreditation audit to be conducted by the FDT Group. Once complete, LCCC will receive accreditation status as an official FDT testing laboratory for three years. After that time, a repeat audit will be performed to ensure the integrity of the activities conducted at the facility. All test laboratories are audited against the official FDT ‘test and certification quality assurance system.’ These guidelines state that each location must meet the following three guiding principles:
• Must maintain as an independent entity to ensure no commercial influence.
• Will establish a quality management system to ensure reproducibility of test results.
• Required to provide detailed documentation and provide outstanding technical expertise in certifiable equipment and the official testing tools.

LCCC will provide complimentary services to the DTM certification testing activities. With consultancy services now available, LCCC can provide assistance to companies specifying DTMs for their automation products or to DTM software developers to provide guidance and expedite efforts for DTM implementation and certification. LCCC will soon provide an independent environment for integration evaluation and a testing center to allow end users access to a single product or a complete multi‐vendor control system. LCCC has been equipped with state of the art products from FDT member companies allowing suppliers and system integrators the opportunity to conduct interoperability testing prior to project, and so much more.

The FDT Group is projecting a healthy 45% annual growth rate in devices supported by DTM certifications for 2010, providing the automation market with over 2700 devices supported by certified DTMs. “This is the perfect time to initiate this activity in the North American market,”
Tobias Horn, Chairman of the working group Test & Certification stated, "Certification of FDT based products is one of the main customer requirements and therefore also a key goal of the FDT Group. The Test & Certification Team strives to ensure that all preconditions such as test specifications, test tools and accredited test sites are available all over the world. With the first official FDT test site in North America we will have achieved a major milestone for FDT Certification and the contribution of the LCCC will multiply the acceptance of FDT in the North American Market."

FDT maintains certification capabilities globally including locations in Germany at BIS Prozesstechnik GmbH, Dietz Automation, Ifak system GmbH, and M&M Software GmbH; Switzerland at Endress+Hauser Process Solutions AG; and China at M&M Software (Suzhou) GmbH.

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