FDT Configuration Tool

May 19, 2009
Process device configuration helps process manufacturers increase reliability of instrumentation and simplifies regulatory reporting compliance efforts. The capabilities also help improve product quality in applications where conditions are tied directly to process parameters, such as temperature, pressure or flow.

The FDT Group has launched an aggressive press relations campaign recently. Rockwell Automation has been a member of the organization that believes that additional configuration flexibility for manufacturers needs to be added to the EDDL configuration tools. It has added process device configuration using Field Device Tool (FDT) technology to its FactoryTalk AssetCentre asset management software, further helping manufacturers in process industries centrally manage and maintain their production environments. This announcement further shows Rockwell's commitment to the process business.

The FactoryTalk AssetCentre process device configuration uses FDT technology to standardize the communication interface between field devices and systems. Because processing facilities rely on a wide variety of devices, it is important to choose an industry standard that addresses the broadest spectrum of device technologies. The process device configuration relies on the iDTM for the Hart Communication Protocol, making it simple for organizations to take advantage of diagnostic information that is already available in many of today’s processing facilities. The iDTM uses the data in the Hart device descriptor (DD) file and the graphical capabilities of FDT technology to integrate to any Hart Communication Foundation registered device descriptor. As a result, asset management of any HART device is possible.

"Process manufacturers continue to limit capital expenditures and take steps to reduce operational costs, making it increasingly important to optimize installed assets while evaluating opportunities to streamline ongoing operations," said Shannon Foos, segment manager for Process Asset Management, Rockwell Automation, and North American marketing director for the FDT Group.

Lorenzo Majewski, product manager for Rockwell Automation, continues, "The latest FactoryTalk AssetCentre software further cements our commitment to plantwide process control and asset management. It helps end users increase the reliability of their instrumentation while providing organizations the freedom to choose best-in-breed instruments. This better protects their ability to produce product and effectively monitor the performance of their automation assets."

With FactoryTalk AssetCentre version 2.31, engineering staff can remotely connect and conduct instrument diagnostics, view and edit device configurations, and quickly swap out or reconfigure devices with the last-known good configuration. The process device configuration functionality provides a common asset management platform that works within a multivendor field device environment to drive maintenance efficiency improvements.

In addition to process device configuration, the latest version of the FactoryTalk AssetCentre asset management software also includes calibration management capabilities and disaster recovery support for Rockwell Automation and third-party controller, operator interface and robotic assets. Calibration management functionality helps manufacturers develop calibration schedules, make calibration testing decisions, and better define what the testing schedule will look like for each individual instrument across the plant floor. It also helps maintain records and certificates related to calibration and testing schedules. Disaster recovery capabilities provide control system backup that is integrated with source control to provide easier and more reliable access to the latest control system configuration files. All new features are integrated with the broader Rockwell Automation PlantPAx process automation system capabilities.

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