Initiatives all over the world such as Industrie 4.0, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Open Process Automation Forum (OPAF) and the NAMUR Open Architecture (NOA) are working on concepts for digital transformation and new automation system architectures. Information models are key in all of these approaches to make device information available to any kind of application in a well-structured and transparent way.
FieldComm Group, OPC Foundation and PROFIBUS/PROFINET International have taken the initiative to jointly standardize and specify the information model for process automation devices – PA-DIM. The work is being performed in the working group structure of FieldComm Group with dedicated representatives from the cooperating organizations.
For the installed base of process automation devices, the PA-DIM is supported by Field Device Integration (FDI) technology. The FDI architecture foresees an OPC Unified Architecture (UA) information model represented through an OPC UA server. The structure of the FDI Information Model is being created from the Electronic Device Description (EDD), which is part of the FDI Package and describes all device-related information, business logic and user interfaces.
By using the FDI Information Model server, existing plants can be enhanced to expose information from HART, FOUNDATION Fieldbus or fieldbus devices through OPC UA and the standardized PA-DIM to any kind of OPC UA client. Information from existing field devices will be mapped to the PA-DIM by FDI mechanisms.
PA-DIM will be extended with new sub-models, standardizing security aspects and user interface information for comprehensive device configuration.
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