End-user demands for easier integration of automation and control devices across industrial networks have been generating a great deal of response from the automation industry over the past few years. As an example of recent industry cooperation along these lines, see this article for details around recent OPC UA interoperability partnerships with FDT Group, ODVA, PLCOpen and MTConnect.
Now comes news that five automation foundations — FDT Group, Fieldbus Foundation, Hart Communication Foundation, Profibus and Profinet International, and OPC Foundation — have developed an organization though which to cooperate on finalizing a single common solution for Field Device Integration (FDI). By combining their efforts to form a joint company, named FDI Cooperation LLC, the new organization will:
• complete the standardization of FDI under the IEC (International Electrical Commission);
• manage the FDI specification; and
• finalize the FDI tool kits for system and device manufacturers
FDI is a unified solution for connecting field devices and control systems in all phases of a field device’s life cycle, such as configuration, commissioning, diagnostics, and calibration.
The agreement to form FDI Cooperation LLC was made formal by representatives who signed the contract documents in Karlsruhe, Germany, on September 26, 2011. The FDI Cooperation LLC will be headed by a “board of managers” composed of representatives of the involved automation foundations, as well as managers of global automation suppliers including ABB, Emerson, Endress+Hauser, Honeywell, Invensys, Siemens, and Yokogawa. Hans-Georg Kumpfmüller of Siemens will serve as chairman of the board. Achim Laubenstein of ABB has been nominated as executive director.
Origins of FDI Cooperation LLC began with the efforts of the EDDL Cooperation Team (ECT) to accelerate deployment of the FDI solution, which was launched at Hannover Fair in 2007.