Today’s process automation field devices communicate with host systems over either analog 4-20mA connections, sometimes with embedded digital HART data; or via 2-wire digital fieldbus connections conforming generally to the FOUNDATION Fieldbus (FF) or PROFIBUS PA standards as well as wireless protocols like WirelessHART or ISA100.
Initiatives all over the world such as Industrie 4.0, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), and the NAMUR Open Architecture (NOA) are working on concepts for digital transformation. The enormous installed base in the process industries requires a digital transformation solution which can make use of information from devices communicating via current field communication solutions. Each of these existing communication protocols employs different software structures, or information model, to represent the same information.
To ensure interoperability and seamless access to device information it is necessary to standardize on the form and basic contents of the information models for certain device classes independent of a specific communication protocol. Thus enabling seamless instrumentation information flow throughout the enterprise.
This is the Process Automation Device Information Model (PA-DIM™).
This specification describes a unified Process Automation Device Information Model that enables protocol and vendor independent data exchange. The illustration provided above shows a system with two devices interacting with multiple cloud applications accessing generic and product type data. This is made possible by the Information Model of these devices including a standardized device model based on PA-DIM. The model exposes IEC 61987 semantic dictionary IDs which are used by OPC UA clients to obtain definitions of vendor specific data. PA-DIM makes use of the Dictionary Reference model defined in OPC 10000-19 and defines the proper International Registration Data Identifiers (IRDI) for entries in the IEC 61987 CDD (Common Data Dictionary).
For a quick overview of PA-DIM, check out our technical white paper. For an in-depth examination, please see the read-only version of the PA-DIM specification developed by the Joint Working Group between FieldComm Group and OPC Foundation.
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