FieldComm Group Releases Updated Development Specifications and Tools
Austin, TX, USA (9 November, 2017) — FieldComm Group has announced the availability of version 1.1 of the FDI Technical Specifications and version 1.2.1 of the FDI Development Tools. These specifications and tools allow suppliers to develop a broader range of products with fewer tools and better capabilities, while enhancing security and integration capability for their customers.
The new versions provide an additional step forward on unifying devices and systems on a single integration standard to fulfill the promise of “One Device. One Package. All Tools.” The enhanced technology bundle includes; FDI Technical Specifications, FDI Integrated Development Environment, and FDI Common Host Components. The features provided in these updates include:
- Cyber Security Updates – includes UIP sandboxing, and time stamping for device package signatures
- Additional Protocol Support – includes ISA100.11a, and HART-IP and WirelessHART
- Generic Protocol Extension – enables FDI extensibility to any protocol
- Support for DD Development within FDI IDE – includes FOUNDATION Fieldbus and HART
Arguably the most important feature, the latest version provides additional cyber security measures to FDI by enabling time stamping on FDI Device Package signatures and sandbox environments for UIPs to run in. Sandboxing is not only a valuable tool for cyber security, but also for overall system integrity as it isolates third-party code to a tightly controlled set of resources in a system to ensure no bugs in software code can impact the performance of the overall system it is operating within. Both additional features serve to ensure FDI meets the stringent security requirements of plant operations as we enter the era of the Industrial Internet of Things.
Additionally, these products now support 3 additional protocol profiles – ISA100.11a, HART-IP and WirelessHART, and Generic Protocol Extension. While HART-IP/WirelessHART is a natural addition for FieldComm Group, it is especially important to note the addition of ISA100.11a. This strongly illustrates FieldComm Group's message of unifying the industry to be more collaborative amongst the standards organizations to ensure they meet the needs of the user community first and foremost. In much the same vein, the tools now support Generic Protocol Extension that allows any protocol to be integrated into the standardized FDI interface to provide similar benefits enabled by the integration standard.
Lastly, the tools are now capable of creating and testing standalone EDDs for HART and FOUNDATION Fieldbus thus allowing manufacturers to develop the widely used EDD technology in the same development environment as modern FDI Device Packages. This reduces software maintenance costs and engineering training costs associated with disparate technology development tools. But these things alone cannot provide a robust system of integrated products without verification that each element is performing its intended functions; for that you need conformance testing.
Official testing and registration of FDI compliant products, as well as EDDL-only products, is an important step for device manufacturers to ensure robust, compliant solutions that meet or exceed the industry requirements. FieldComm Group provides this crucial step as a vendor-neutral third party tasked with ensuring conformance to its standards. Having products formally tested and registered offers a level of assurance to users that the product will integrate seamlessly into their enterprise of various manufacturer’s products.
Achim Laubenstein, Director Integration Technology states, “The FDI Technology bundle version 1.1 of our specifications and 1.2.1 of our tools represent continued hard work by technical experts around the world who are creating more robust, user oriented capabilities that exceed the rigorous demands of plant environments faced with modernizing installations without compromising security or reliability.” The world often takes facilities like these for granted, not realizing challenges faced by these institutions have direct and oftentimes immediate impacts on the surrounding world. “Process plants cannot simply shutdown due to security threats, parts replacements or system upgrades. Any process upsets have broad scale implications and the underlying technologies must be robust enough to meet those demands. FDI does exactly that by broadly integrating systems and instruments, while providing robustness and security to the enterprise,” says Laubenstein.
About FDI Technology
FDI solves the problem of integrating field devices with the multitude of networks, operating systems, and control systems used in the process industries. FDI technology is developed and supported by FieldComm Group, PROFIBUS & PROFINET International, OPC Foundation, FDT Group, and ISA100 Wireless Compliance Institute and aims to become the de facto global standard for field device integration independent of underlying device protocols. With FDI the advantages of FDT® are combined with those of EDDL in a single, scalable solution. FDI takes account of the various tasks over the entire lifecycle for both simple and the most complex devices, including configuration, commissioning, diagnosis and calibration.
About FieldComm Group
FieldComm Group is a global standards-based organization consisting of leading process end users, manufacturers, universities and research organizations that work together to direct the development, incorporation and implementation of new and overlapping technologies and serves as the source for FDI™ technology. FieldComm Group’s mission is to develop, manage, and promote global standards for integrating digital devices to on-premise, mobile, and cloud based systems; to provide services for standards conformance and implementation of process automation devices and systems that enable and improve reliability and multi-vendor interoperability; and to lead the development of a unified information model of process automation field devices while building upon industry investment in the HART®, FOUNDATION™ Fieldbus and FDI™ standards. Membership is open to anyone interested in the use of the technologies. For more information, visit their web site at www.fieldcommgroup.org.