SERCOS III Adds FDT Extension

DN Staff

January 4, 2011

3 Min Read
SERCOS III Adds FDT Extension

TheSERCOSvendor organizations announced the availability of an FDTspecification extension for the SERCOS III Ethernetcommunications system at the recent SPS/IPC/DRIVES show. SERCOS III is thefirst high-performance real-time Ethernet communication standard to support FDTtechnology, used by many manufacturers to connect field devices to a wide rangeof software environments.

"Both FDT and SERCOS III are open standards,but the value of FDT comes in when a user needs an easy method forconfiguration, parameterization or device access and providing information toan asset management system," says David Tsaava, FDT/DTM Development ServiceGroup Leader. "Different vendors can provide a device window and device drivertools which all work together in the FDTenvironment."

"The standard insures that differentdevices 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 beeasily adapted for different engineering environments."

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FDT technology standardizes the communicationinterface between field devices and engineering tools, and contains annexes fora range of different fieldbus systems. Extending the FDT specification toSERCOS III allows users to configure SERCOS III devices via FDT's powerful DTMdevice drivers.

Making SERCOS III FDT-enabled makes itcompatible with the FDT core specification and includes a SERCOS IIIannex that provides protocol-specific integration information. Each devicevendor can use the SERCOS annex to implement it or re-engineer the tools tomake them useful in the FDTenvironment. The FDT tools can be embedded into higher level engineering tools,and provides users a method for managing device configuration andparameterization using the one standard interface.

The key advantages of FDT technologyitself are the simplicity of configuring devices using the standard, plus DTMdevice drivers which create portability between different systems. DTMs also offerspecial functionality for detailed device configuration and analysis via agraphical user interface. The DTM application opens a window for the start-up,parameterization and diagnostics of field devices, reducing the complexity ofthe application and increasing transparency for users and service technicians.

"The FDT/DTM specification is anotherimportant step on the way to making SERCOS III a universal real-time networkfor all automation applications. The combination of these two open standards,supported by many manufacturers, reduces start-up times and increases thesecurity of investments," says Peter Lutz, Managing Director of SERCOSInternational e.V.

The FDT interface specification describes thestandardized data exchange between devices and control system or engineering orasset management tools. DTMs are classified into two categories: device DTMswhich connect to the field device configuration components and CommDTMs whichconnect to the software communication components.

The DTM provides a unified structure foraccessing device parameters, configuring and operating the devices anddiagnosing problems. DTMs can range from a simple graphical user interface forsetting device parameters to a highly sophisticated application capable ofperforming complex real-time calculations for diagnosis and maintenancepurposes.

The FDT/DTM specification for SERCOS III wasdeveloped by a joint working group of SERCOS International and the FDTgroup, and has been verified by two independent implementations of SERCOS IIImanufacturers.

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