FAQ

FDT 2.0

FDT2.0 will improve interoperability and will optimize DTM resources utilization. FDT2.0 will speed up calling times and data storage times of DTMs. With FDT2.0 you will use a future-proof technology. Backwards compatibility is one of the highest priorities of FDT2.0 thereby ensuring that existing 1.2.x DTMs can still be used in an FDT 2.0 application.

Using FDT2.0 will make your applications future-proof.

The existing technologies COM and ActiveX are replaced by .NET as a state of the art technology. As a result, the FDT2.0 project was initiated to migrate the FDT standard and to address additional feedback and requirements from users.

FDT2.0 also prepares the platform for future capabilities that are on the FDT Group technology roadmap.

If you have a running application with FDT 1.2.x there is no reason to update it. You should think about an implementation of FDT2.0 when planning a new application/plant and your DCS system provider supports FDT2.0. However, if you would like to benefit from the improvements of FDT2.0 you can update your application.. All DTMs based on FDT 1.2.x are useable in the new FDT 2.0 frame application.

Yes, the FDT2.0 standard suppors Windows 7. Please consult you suppliers to determine which operating systems their products support.

Yes, the FDT specification itself is independent from any operating system like Microsoft Windows. However, the implementation of the specification can be based on a particular operating system. Please consult your suppliers to determine which operating systems their products support.

The IEC standard will follow the standard maintenance procedure to include the FDT2.0 specification.

No, this will not run because the new interfaces of FDT2.0 are not supported by a 1.2.x Frame Application. In this case you have two possibilities. Either your device vendor has to deliver a FDT 1.2.x DTM or your Frame Application provider has to update the Frame Application to a FDT2.0 based version. An FDT2.0 based Frame Application together with a FDT2.0 DTM will bring you the benefits of the FDT2.0 technology. An FDT2.0 Frame Application is able to integrate both FDT 1.2.x DTMs and FDT2.0 DTMs.

This will depend on the device vendor since the vendor decides when a DTM for a certain device type will be available. However there is no urgent need to update all DTMs in one step because an FDT2.0 Frame Application will also support 1.2.x DTMs.

Yes, the certification process will be available in time for FDT2.0.

FDT 2.0 uses .NET framework. Software that is based on .NET can be developed to be independent from hardware architectures and operating systems. Only components that are not .NET based are specific to operating system and/or machine hardware, e.g. device drivers in Communication DTMs. The .NET framework is available on all Windows platforms (Desktop or Server Version on machine architectures x86, IA32, x64, IA64) and some others.

A draft specification was given to members in June 2010. The final specification is expected to be released by February 2011.

FDT Basics

FDT Technology standardizes the communication interface between field devices and control systems or engineering and asset management tools. Key features are its independence from the communication protocol and the software environment of either the device or the host system. FDT Technology allows any device to be accessed from any host through any protocol.

The FDT interface specification describes the standardized data exchange between devices and control systems or engineering and asset management tools. Devices can be configured, operated, and maintained through the standardized user interfaces integrated in an FDT Frame Application.

A Device Type Manager (DTM) is part of the FDT standard that is a software component for a device that contains the device-specific data, functions and logic elements. DTMs can reach from a simple graphical user interface for setting device parameters up to a highly sophisticated application that, for example, can perform complex calculations for diagnostics and maintenance purposes or can implement arbitrarily complex business logics for device calibration.

The DTM also contains FDT-compliant interfaces to enable communication with the connected system or tool.  DTMs are classified as Device DTMs, which represent a field device, and CommDTMs, which represent communication components (gateways, remote I/Os, couplers, etc.).
A typical FDT based application will contain dozens, hundreds, or thousands of Device DTMs and CommDTMS from a variety of manufacturers to make up the system.

Frame applications can be device configuration tools, control system-engineering tools, operator consoles, or asset management tools. The FDT Frame Application is a software program that initializes Device DTMs and CommDTMs and connects them to the correct communication partners. With the aid of a Frame application, the information of processes in the field is accessible in real-time and is available across the life cycle of a plant or application. 

The usage of FDT can be compared to the printer driver system known from office applications. The printer is delivered with the corresponding driver. That driver implements standardized interfaces so that any office application can make use of it.

In FDT, the hardware (the field device in this case) is delivered with a driver called DTM, which has the standardized FDT interface (see illustration). This enables any FDT Frame Application, e. g. control system or engineering and asset management tool to use it.

The FDT specification supports the communication protocols AS-interface, CANopen, CIP Annex Configuration, ControlNet, DeviceNet, EtherNet/IP, FOUNDATION Fieldbus, HART, INTERBUS, IO Link, MODBUS SL/TCP, PROFIBUS DP/PA, and PROFINET I/O.
The FDT Group is open to future developments and market requirements and continues to expand its support of new protocols.
Due to the open nature of the standard, several device and host manufacturers have even added their own proprietary or legacy protocols to the standard for use in their own applications.

FDT supports all industries in Process and Factory Automation, such as: chemical, pharmaceutical, oil & gas, automotive, food, etc.

FDT Benefits

The FDT technology delivers value in engineering, commissioning, operation and asset management. It provides an internationally recognized standard that allows all of the above protocols, components, and tools to interoperate seamlessly:
•    End users are free to select best in class products and be ensured of interoperability.
•    Device manufacturers can provide state of the art configuration and maintenance tools for their devices and be ensured they will operate the same in any installation,
•    Application providers can freely support communications with all devices on all networks - regardless of the device vendors selected by the end user.
•    All parties are ensured of backward compatibility and future expandability of networks and devices.
All this is achievable when products comply with the FDT technology described in the open, publically available FDT standards.

For more details please click here.

Due to the standardized FDT interface, the DTMs for your devices can be integrated into any control system or engineering and asset management tool that supports FDT. This results in resuable development efforts and broader integration possibilities at different customer sites. Moreover, DTMs allow you to implement specialized, differentiated features that emphasize the unique functionalities of your devices.

For more details please click here.

The FDT Group

The FDT Group, AISBL is an open, independent, international not-for-profit association of companies, universities, consultants, and end users supporting the FDT Technology as an international standard. The mission of the group is to advance the technology and promote its broad adoption in a variety of industries. It is open to all companies that wish to participate.

More than 70 companies, universities, and end users have pledged their support to the FDT Group.

The Group is headed by a Board of Directors, elected by the General Assembly. The Board of directors decides on the Group’s strategy and appoints an Executive Committee which is responsible for its execution. The strategy’s practical implementation is assigned to several working groups responsible for technology development, marketing, associations & standardization, and administration.

Currently the FDT Group consists of these members. Member Directory There are also companies that use the FDT Technology without being a member of the FDT Group.

FDT Group membership is the right first step to get started with FDT Technology. The membership gives you access to tools, information, and technical support for implementing FDT into your products. Membership entitles you to voting rights at the General Assembly and the option to participate to the technical and marketing working groups. Join the FDT Group and take advantage of the various benefits.
For more details please click here.

An FDT Group membership is open to all companies, universities, and individuals and is available at different levels. To become a member of the FDT Group, just fill in the application form for membership and return it to the address on the application.
For any enquiries contact us.

Get in contact by clicking here.

Application Questions

End users interested in integrating FDT Technology should contact their supplier and ask about FDT Technology, devices and Frame applications that are available. Also check the FDT website for a listing of certified DTMs and other FDT related equipment.

The device manufacturer usually provides the DTM for each device and supply it with the instrument. Therefore the first step is to ask your device manufacturer whether a DTM is available. Normally, the DTMs are available as download from the internet or on CD/DVD. If there should be no DTM available for a certain device, it may be accessed by generic DTMs or DTMs offered by service providers.

In general, all device manufacturers deliver their DTM free-of-charge together with the device. There are companies that charge for device DTMs with full functionality. Example: DTM without printing and device data storage is free of charge, with these functions at a fee. DTMs offered by service providers are often charged with a fee.

A list of the latest certified DTM revision for any FDT device is available on the FDT Group website at www.fdtgroup.org.  You can always visit this website to make sure you have the latest certified DTM version for your devices. Most manufacturers offer also regular updates of their DTMs which you can usually download on their websites. Always check with your suppliers before updating DTMs.

The FDT Specification is freely available on the FDT Group’s website and includes several requirements on DTM development. Based on the specification and other technical documents one can start to develop the DTM. In principle there are three options: One can either start from scratch, or use the existing DD or also generic DTMs as a basis.

As the development requires a certain level of know-how and understanding of the FDT specification and some technology experience, there are also companies offering tools, consulting services, expertise and other resources to support DTM development. They are all members of the FDT Group and you can contact them directly or use our contact form.

The FDT standard supports both EDDL and DTM configuration methods.

The EDDL (Electronic Device Description Language) allows a device to be described using a text like language. This is then compiled into an EDD file that is unique for each HART, FF, and Profibus network. The host system interprets the compiled EDD file and determines how a device appears in the applications..
While the EDDL method is a simple way to describe the device, it is at the same time limited in the features it offers.

The DTM method of representing a device is consistent in any FDT Frame application. The device supplier is in control of the visualization, functionality and advanced features. This can be compared to a company’s website: It creates a website and wants it to look and feel the same regardless of which internet browser is used and independent of how the information gets to the website – Cable, DSL, dial-up, etc.

When planning a system change you should contact your system supplier and device vendors and ask whether the required software is released for the operating system you intend to use. If so, no change of the installed software may be necessary. Otherwise an update of the software may be needed.

Test & Certification

It is the aim of all test and certification procedures to ensure the interoperability of DTMs and frame applications. The interaction can only work if compliance with the FDT specification can be ensured. To this end the FDT Group has established a “test and certification” quality assurance system.   The certificate is the official acknowledgement for the conformance to the FDT specification and thus an important mark of quality in the market.

Users will minimize their implementation effort at start up and during operations, because the certification process ensures compliance of the frame application and the DTMs with the FDT specification. This saves time and money.

A complete listing of all certified DTMs and Frame Applications is publicly available on the FDT website. Please click here

The FDT Group certification process consists of three steps:

1.) At first the manufacturer develops a DTM and performs first internal tests. Then the manufacturer contracts an accredited test laboratory for an independent conformity test.

2.) Next, the test laboratory tests the software in compliance with the rules of the FDT certification office with the official certification tools “dtmINSPECTOR” and “frameINSPECTOR” and issues a test report.

3.) The manufacturer submits the test report to the certification office and, if all tests are passed, receives a certificate of conformance. The product is then added to the catalog of certified DTMs and Frame Applications on the FDT Group website.

For more details on the certification process, the costs and the test sites, please click here.

In addition to the certification process the FDT Group hosts FDT Interoperability Test Laboratories, where a huge variety of different systems and devices are available. In this multi vendor environment suppliers can test their new products during the development phase to ensure maximum interoperability on the market. Moreover, there are organized interoperability workshops where several vendors bring their new software and hardware together for common extensive testing. These steps help to ensure interoperability on the market.

Yes. The FDT Group has developed a DTM Style Guide, which defines the look & feel of a DTM by assigning certain areas and standard functionality. It includes a multilingual glossary and is an optional part of DTM certification. Also requirements formulated by end users (e.g. NAMUR AK 2.6 Fieldbus) are taken to account in the FDT Style Guide.

FDT Technology Evolvement

The main objective of the FDT Group is to provide the FDT specification as an open, freely available international standard for the benefit of all users worldwide. The formal acceptance as an international standard is a lengthy and comprehensive process with several stages. In 2005, FDT applied with the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) for acceptance of the FDT standard as an international standard. The process was successfully concluded in 2009 by achieving the formal release as International Standard IEC 62453 for the FDT Technology.

The FDT Group is dedicated to provide Open Access to Device Intelligence for the automation industry.
Like with other technologies, the FDT Group takes care of the evolution of the FDT specification in
response to the feedback from end users. The feedback is collected at FDT events, fairs, customer visits or special meetings with user associations, such as NAMUR or WIB. End users may also become a member of the FDT Group and be invited to serve on various technology committees within the FDT Group. Thus, FDT Technology development involves close cooperation with complementary technologies and milestone reviews with end users.

FDI is focused on device integration for process automation. The goal of FDI is to provide a common solution based on device integration technologies EDDL (Electronic Device Description Language) and an FDT2™ based DTM (Device Type Manager).

This solution, called an FDI Device Package will address the requirements for simple and complex devices for process applications. FDI Device Packages can be processed in FDI hosts as well as in an FDT2 frame application. This allows device suppliers to create a single FDI Device Package for their devices - instead of separate DTMs and DD’s - while still providing users the choice of using either an FDI host or an FDT host environment.

Host suppliers are free to implement an FDI host, or an FDT2™ frame application. Thus, both solutions will use FDI Device Packages to provide the same functionality and experience for the end user. The FDT Group and FDI Cooperation are both committed to support this approach and ensure that FDT2 based systems can use and deliver the full functionality of FDI Device Packages.

FDI Device Packages are expected in the market around 2014.