Recent announcements by the FDT Group AISBL (www.fdtgroup.org), indicate growing strength for the FDT standard both in Asian markets and on the international front. The FDT Group, with headquarters in Jodoigne, Belgium, is the trade group for FDT, or Field Device Tool, a technology that standardizes the communication interface between fieldbus devices and engineering tools.
On Oct. 29, the FDT Group announced that the CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA, www.cc-link.org) has signed a cooperation agreement with the FDT Group to promote the use of FDT as an international standard. That was followed by a Nov. 2 announcement that the FDT Group has formed a new China FDT Association with ten process and factory automation supplier members headquartered in China.
Both of these developments came following word on Oct. 26 that Emerson Process Management (www.emersonprocess.com), the Austin, Texas-based process automation supplier, has joined the FDT Group on its Executive Committee and Board of Directors. This announcement may be seen as significant by some industry watchers, in that Emerson has historically been a strong supporter of EDDL, or Electronic Device Description Language, another major standard for display of fieldbus data. Emerson has also recently provided support for the Field Device Interface (FDI) initiative aimed at harmonizing EDDL and FDT technologies.
In announcing the agreement with CLPA, the FDT Group noted that CLPA participation is significant for the growth of FDT technology because of its pre-eminence in the Asian markets. Under the agreement, CLPA will support the development of an annex of the protocol for the FDT standard to support the CC-Link family of networks including its CC-Link IE Field Gigabit Industrial Ethernet.
FDT standardizes the communication and configuration interface between all field devices and host systems. It provides a common environment for accessing the devices’ most sophisticated features. Any device can be configured, operated and maintained over the CC-Link networks through the standardized user interface—regardless of supplier or type, the FDT Group said. In addition to CC-Link, FDT supports more than 13 network protocols including Hart, Profibus, Foundation Fieldbus, DeviceNet, Interbus and AS-Interface.
China gets its own
The formation of the China FDT Association should also help add momentum for the FTD standard in Asia. “The China automation market has mirrored the high growth of the China domestic market. The FDT Group has supported China activities indirectly for several years. However, recent requests by indigenous automation companies to increase the China FDT activities led to the formation of the China FDT Association,” said Glenn Schulz, Managing Director of the international FDT Group. “This new FDT association has been structured to allow local control and focus of FDT activities in China.”
The ten China companies joining the FDT Group include: Beijing Automation Technical Research Institute; Beijing Hollysys Co. Ltd; Beijing Huakong Technology Co. Ltd.; Chongqing Chuanyi Automation Co. Ltd; ChongQing YuTong System and Software Co. Ltd; Microcyber Inc.; Shanghai Automation Instrumentation Co. Ltd; Shanghai Chenzhu Instrument Co. Ltd; Shenzhen Maxonic Automation Control Co. Ltd; and Supcom Group Co. Ltd.
“We are very pleased with the focus and dedication of our new China FDT Association. Our new chairman of the China FDT Association Board, Mr. Ken Qui of Endress+HauserChina, has set out an ambitious schedule for the new organization,” said Michael Sinz, director of marketing for FDT in China. “I extend a special thanks to our sponsoring member companies: Flowserve, Invensys, Rockwell Automation, Schneider Electric, and Yokogawa as well as ITEI and Southwest University for their guidance in the formation of our new FDT association.”
New Emerson role
In announcing Emerson Process Management’s new role, The FDT Group said that with its membership, Emerson will be in a better position to support field device users that deploy FDT/DTM (for Device Type Manager) technology. “We are delighted to have Emerson join our leadership team. Their broad industry footprint and their respected position in the marketplace will accelerate the advancement of the FDT standards,” said Schulz.
“By joining the FDT Group, we are reiterating our industry-wide commitment to support our customers and their installed base of global standards. We would like to take a role in the stewardship of the future direction of this technology,” said Peter Zornio, Emerson’s chief strategic officer. “Emerson is also committed to the FDI Project and our stewardship at the Executive level will help to unify collaboration on this important project.
As a result of Emerson joining the FDT Group as a sponsoring member, the FDT Board of Directors has named Steve Armstrong of Emerson to the Board of Directors and Martin Zielinski has been appointed to the Executive Committee as vice president.
CC-Link Partner Association
Emerson Process Management
FDT Group AISBL