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Technical Report Provides EDDL Guidance

Publication of the new report from the ISA Standards & Practices Board is said to mark “a major milestone.”

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The ISA Standards & Practices Board of the International Society of Automation (ISA, announced on Jan. 20 that it has approved a new technical report, ISA-TR104.00.03, “EDDL: Meeting the requirements for integrating Fieldbus devices in engineering tools for field devices.” This technical report is intended as a guideline in the use of the International Electrotechnical Commission’s existing IEC 61804-3 international standard, “Function blocks (FB) for process control - Part 3: Electronic Device Description Language (EDDL).”

“While the IEC 61804-3 standard provides specifications for device and system developers, this new ISA technical report provides guidance for device and system users,” stated Jonas Berge, ISA104 standards committee member and editor.

“We have passed a major milestone with this publication,” said Terry Blevins, chair of the ISA104 standards committee, which developed the technical report. “Once the technical report receives approval by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), expected in early February 2011, end-users around the world will be able to rely on an ANSI/ISA technical report developed in an open, consensus forum.”

The ISA104 standards committee brings together device integration experts representing diverse industrial and technical interests from around the world. The committee was established by the ISA to address device integration in control systems over the lifecycle of devices and systems. The committee's focus has been to improve the understanding of the EDDL approach and to provide criteria for procuring and implementing device integration technology in the control systems environment.

Factual guidance

ISA-TR104.00.03 is intended to provide factual guidance in using EDDL for device integration. The technical report reviews how end-user requirements for device integration are met by the EDDL standard. Although prior evaluations have already demonstrated that EDDL meets users’ lifecycle needs as defined in NAMUR NE 105 (from NAMUR, a European-based association of companies in the chemical/pharmaceutical processing industry), ISA-TR104.00.03 explains in greater detail these requirements and how EDDL meets them.

Those end-user requirements for device integration include:
•    Integration is provided for simple as well as complex devices, with a hand-held field communicator or a full-fledged distributed control system (DCS) with intelligent device management software
•    Workstation operating systems are not made obsolete by files for newly released device versions
•    New device files do not impact system robustness by overwriting others, software components or registry
•    New device files do not present difficult software installation questions
•    Device files are not affected by workstation operating system version, service packs or patches
•    Help, wizards, illustrations and conditionals are supported
•    Steps are the same for devices of all protocols, manufacturers and types
•    There will not be a multitude of license keys causing administration overhead and extra cost
•    Graphics, persistent data storage and wizards are supported
•    The EDD files are interoperability tested with the field device by independent third-parties

More information on the full scope of ISA104 committee is available at

International Society of Automation

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