iDTM FDI – The Newest Tool for Device Integration Brings Simplifications

Until recently, end user in the field of device integration often had to decide between the base technologies, FDT Technology and EDDL, which often meant waiving some advantages that the other technology would provide. On the other hand, device manufacturers had to give their customers the choice by providing EDDs and DTMs.

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As a business partner, CodeWrights has supported device manufacturers in developing software for both technologies. Since 2008 it has combined both technologies in the iDTMTM product. It offers a complete DTM, which contains an official EDD-Interpreter from a communication foundation, and one or more EDD files from one device manufacturer. This means a 100% reuse of available EDD files and a very short time-to-market for the corresponding device DTM. This Interpreter-DTM is available and proven for HART and FOUNDATION fieldbus. Several international device manufacturing companies and their customers are already benefiting from this valuable product.

Reusing existing EDDs and using the standard interpreters in a DTM helps reduce test efforts significantly. But there are still different EDD language dialects for HART, FOUNDATION fieldbus and PROFIBUS, as well as for the respective development tools and interpreters.

That’s where the FDI (Field Device Integration) project comes into play. Three years ago, five major automation foundations - FDT Group, Fieldbus Foundation, HART Communication Foundation, PROFIBUS & PROFINET International and OPC Foundation - combined their efforts and began to develop a single common solution for integrating field devices using HART, Foundation Fieldbus, PROFIBUS, or PROFINET. One major part is the FDI Package, which is the specification of the device driver format for FDI systems. Along with the specification, the major target of the FDI Project is to provide one common set of tools. This includes a development environment, a single FDI Package Interpreter and common software components for FDI Hosts.

CodeWrights has been awarded with a development project to develop the “FDI Package IDE” and some common software components. Other software parts are under development by major process automation vendor companies. Details on the products and their release dates can be found at

Device manufacturers can start preparing to develop and provide FDI packages by using the IDE. They will also have to provide other kind of driver technologies that work with host software that is now in the field. CodeWrights is developing a new product called iDTM-FDI. It is based on the existing software for the EDD-based iDTM and uses the previously- developed common FDI components. It is intended to provide the key link between device integration technologies available now and those coming in the future. The FDI Packages containing EDD files are used as the driving force for the iDTM, giving you the following advantages:

#1: Reduces Development Time

Helps to keep your overall effort for Driver Development and Testing an absolute minimum. With the existence of three technologies, EDD, FDT and FDI, you have to provide an additional artifact. But you no longer need your own DTM development; the iDTM reuses your EDD and/or FDI artifacts without touching them.

#2: Harmonized Functions and User Interfaces

Device manufacturers are required to support the integration technologies used by their customers. Inevitably, manufacturers are expected to provide the same functions in all integration technologies and display the same user interfaces. iDTM-FDI is programmed to bring up the complete function set as defined in an EDD and/or in an FDI package with the same user interface without restrictions – without the need to program one additional line of code!

#3: Low Life-Cycle Cost

One of the big advantages of the EDD technology is the sharp focus on backward compatibility of the interpreter and the EDD files. Over the years, this has shown a very stable functional combination. FDI Packages, the toolset and the common software components will show the same long-term stability. In addition, the iDTM product (also the new iDTM-FDI) allows device manufacturers to update the contained FDI Packages by themselves.

CodeWrights is continuously contributing to the product and technology development in the field of device integration. The iDTM-FDI will, as its predecessors have done, help device manufacturers to get the best out of the technologies in a cost-efficient way.

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