logo_fdiPROFINEWS Editor Geoff Hodgkinson reports on latest developments in the saga to find a single device integration solution to unify two existing technologies.

FDI products could reach the market by 2015, says FDI Cooperation Executive Director Achim Laubenstein of ABB. The first public specification has been published and handed over to the IEC for targeted inclusion in the soon-to-emerge IEC Standard 61769.

FDI, or Field Device Integration, aims to deliver a single, unified answer to the vexing presence of two technologies that dominate the world of device engineering, integration and management – EDD and FDT. Both have their supporters and users are faced with making a choice of one or the other, or both. Device vendors face the same choices, and the result is extra costs all round in terms of skills, personnel, complexities and so on if that decision is wrongly made.

PI is one of five automation Foundations who got together in 2011 under the banner of “FDI Cooperation”, to see if that single, unified solution could be achieved.  Last November, at a press conference in Germany, it was revealed that the specification has been published and handed over to the IEC as a proposed international Standard.  The IEC is currently organizing a CDV, or Committee Draft for Vote, which seeks technical responses from global experts to this first FDI specification. A demo system based on products from six vendors was shown (pictured above left).

Laubenstein (left) told PROFINEWS that normal procedure after that is for the CDV responses to be integrated into a revised specification. Further voting may be necessary but the eventual outcome will be a vote to agree FDI as IEC 61769.  Laubenstein thinks this could happen around the end of 2014. He said: “With the publication of the specifications, FDI has reached a major milestone. I am looking forward to seeing enhanced FDI Development Tools in 2014 that enable manufacturers to start implementing FDI-based products in readiness for publication of the Standard.”

FDI Chairman Hans-Georg Kumpfmueller of Siemens (right) said that, with FDI, device integration will be “easier, predictable and consistent.”  But, he emphasized, achieving the Standard is not the end game. “FDI will be developed further during the maintenance phases. Our wish list is long and you can expect additional features such as more protocols and easier testing.”  FDI COOPERATION.

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