vendor organizations announced the availability of an FDT
specification extension for the SERCOS III Ethernet
communications system at the recent SPS/IPC/DRIVES show. SERCOS III is the
first high-performance real-time Ethernet communication standard to support FDT
technology, used by many manufacturers to connect field devices to a wide range
of software environments.
"Both FDT and SERCOS III are open standards, but the value of FDT comes in when a user needs an easy method for configuration, parameterization or device access and providing information to an asset management system," says David Tsaava, FDT/DTM Development Service Group Leader. "Different vendors can provide a device window and device driver tools which all work together in the FDT environment."
"The standard insures that different devices can be plugged together and managed in one engineering tool," he says. "This functionality makes it simple to manage devices available for SERCOS III, so different vendors who are implementing SERCOS III in their devices can be easily adapted for different engineering environments."
Click here for larger image.
Making SERCOS III FDT-enabled makes it compatible with the FDT core specification and includes a SERCOS III annex that provides protocol-specific integration information. Each device vendor can use the SERCOS annex to implement it or re-engineer the tools to make them useful in the FDT environment. The FDT tools can be embedded into higher level engineering tools, and provides users a method for managing device configuration and parameterization using the one standard interface.
The key advantages of FDT technology itself are the simplicity of configuring devices using the standard, plus DTM device drivers which create portability between different systems. DTMs also offer special functionality for detailed device configuration and analysis via a graphical user interface. The DTM application opens a window for the start-up, parameterization and diagnostics of field devices, reducing the complexity of the application and increasing transparency for users and service technicians.
"The FDT/DTM specification is another important step on the way to making SERCOS III a universal real-time network for all automation applications. The combination of these two open standards, supported by many manufacturers, reduces start-up times and increases the security of investments," says Peter Lutz, Managing Director of SERCOS International e.V.
The FDT interface specification describes the standardized data exchange between devices and control system or engineering or asset management tools. DTMs are classified into two categories: device DTMs which connect to the field device configuration components and CommDTMs which connect to the software communication components.
The DTM provides a unified structure for accessing device parameters, configuring and operating the devices and diagnosing problems. DTMs can range from a simple graphical user interface for setting device parameters to a highly sophisticated application capable of performing complex real-time calculations for diagnosis and maintenance purposes.
The FDT/DTM specification for SERCOS III was developed by a joint working group of SERCOS International and the FDT group, and has been verified by two independent implementations of SERCOS III manufacturers.