Chairman's Corner February 2014

FDT2 Test Tool – dtmINSPECTOR4, FDI DTM Development, General Assembly

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The FDT2 standard has taken another exciting step forward. Our FDT Test and Certification Committee has released the certification tool for the FDT2 standard, enabling vendors and certified test centers to begin to certify FDT DTMs to the FDT2 standard. This new tool, called dtmINSPECTOR 4, automates most of the test procedures to ensure that the candidate DTM complies with the testing requirements laid out for FDT2 certification.  Once certified, the FDT2 DTM will carry a digitally signed certificate from the FDT Group Certification Office that an FDT2 Frame can inspect to display confirmation to the end user that the FDT2 DTM is indeed certified. Of course, we will also continue to publish the details of certified DTMs on the FDT Group website.

Check out the new dtmINSPECTOR 4  training videos available on YouTube.

The FDT2 standard released with many new capabilities that had been requested by the end user and vendor community. But we are always actively looking for opportunities to further enhance the footprint and scope of the standard. Our FDT Technology Marketing Committee has undertaken a major effort to update our technology roadmap that serves as the primary input to the technical development of the FDT standard. In order to capture a broad industry perspective, we are launching a new web survey to gather input for our technology roadmap. End users, vendors, consultants, system integrators, machine builders, universities, and other industry pundits are welcome to directly contribute by visiting http://techsurvey.fdtgroup.org. Here you can request new features, capabilities, or market coverage for the FDT standard. We value all responses and will carefully consider and prioritize all input received.

Our Executive Committee recently previewed a prototype of the interoperability of an FDI Device Package and an FDT2 Frame. One of our FDT member companies, CodeWrights, has begun development of an FDI DTM using the FDI tools and components and the FDT Common Components to allow an FDI device package to fully operate in an FDT2 Frame. This interoperability has been ensured by the FDI Cooperation efforts since the beginning but as the FDI standard and tools continue to mature, it is great to see the first results of this commitment.  The FDI work will continue well into 2014 but as the FDI tools and components become more complete, work on the FDI DTM will continue. An FDT2 Frame can already host FDT 1.2.x DTMs, FDT2 DTMs, Electronic Data Sheets (EDS) and Device Descriptions (DD). We look forward to publically demonstrating the addition of FDI device packages in the near future.

The FDT Group relies heavily on leadership from our member community. Our European, Middle East, and Africa Marketing Committee that oversees all FDT marketing activity in the region has recently undergone a smooth leadership change. After many years of outstanding leadership by Sandra Wesner of Endress+Hauser, Mr. Antoon Laane of Rockwell Automation has overtaken the responsibilities of chairing this important committee. Mr. Laane is Product Manager in EMEA for Controllers and Design Software at Rockwell Automation.  It is a pleasure to welcome someone with the experience and capabilities of Mr. Laane to the role. On behalf of the entire FDT organization, I also wish to thank Sandra Wesner for her many years of dedicated leadership in this key position. I am very pleased that Sandra will remain active in the committee in a participant role.

The FDT Group prides itself in being a membership lead organization that directly drives the scale, scope, and direction of all of our activities. A key event that underscores this tenet is our annual General Assembly meeting where all corporate member companies approve the activities and finances of the FDT Group and receive reports from the leadership of the FDT Group. As has been our practice for the last several years, the 2014 General Assembly meeting will take place during the Hannover Fair in Hannover, Germany during the week of the 7th of April. Further details along with formal invitations will be delivered in the very near future.  Our next board meeting will take place in Orlando, Florida in February.

- Hartmut Wallraf

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