Certification Process

September 27, 2008

The certification process for DTMs is successfully established since years. DTMs for more than 1000 devices are already certified and listed on the FDT Group’s web site. The tests of DTMs are performed with the official test tool dtmINSPECTOR which checks the conformance of the DTM against FDT Specifications. The FDT Group has now decided to establish the Test & Certification procedure for frame applications: The development of a frame test tool – frameINSPECTOR –has started and is expected to be completed this summer. This test tool, similar to dtmINSPECTOR, will check the FDT frames for conformance against FDT Specification. As with dtmINSPECTOR, frameINSPECTOR will be based on test scripts defined by the FDT Group. The development and maintenance of frameINSPECTOR will be done by M&M Software which is already providing the official DTM certification tool dtmINSPECTOR.

Certification checks that the device model (DTM) adheres to the FDT specification and that it will be interoperable with other certified DTMs. This ensures a smooth project implementation, with minimal trouble and gives the end user the freedom to choose devices that provide maximum plant assets efficiency without being restricted by system integration constraints.

The FDT/DTM specification provides an interface between the host system (frame application) and the device model (DTM). In FDT/DTM technology, one DTM may support several device types and one device may be supported by several DTMs. A single DTM may support a pressure transmitter as well as several versions of a temperature transmitter (generic HART DTM) or one flow transmitter may be supported by two different DTMs for example, Basic and Advanced diagnostic versions. FDT standards require that DTMs be certified to ensure conformity to the specification. However the devices do not require FDT certification. Device (types) specifics are included or “wrapped” in the DTM. This is why, as of November 2007, there are about 68 certified DTMs supporting over 600 device types.

So, the FDT/DTM approach provides significant advantages for the device supplier while preserving for the end user all the quality and reliability of the rigorous certification process.

The FDT Group and M&M Software announce the release of DTM test tool dtmINSPECTOR 2.1. The official release of this certification tool became effective in February 2008. This version of dtmINSPECTOR contains certification tests for Foundation Fieldbus, Interbus, DeviceNet extension to CIP in addition to the already existing fieldbus protocols Profibus and HART. Several new test cases are also added for all protocols.

This addition to the FDT toolset significantly expands the reach of our certification process and enables certification and registration of DTMs for Foundation Fieldbus, Interbus and DeviceNet.

End users can now purchase and install DTMs for these protocols with the added guarantee of formal certification from the FDT Group.

The dtmINSPECTOR is a Software-Tool, which automatically and systematically tests the conformance of DTMs with the FDT-Specification. All DTMs, like Communication-, Device- and Gateway-DTMs, can be tested with this tool.  The dtmINSPECTOR gives the DTM manufacturer the best possible DTM development support and ensures a speedy and trouble free certification of the DTMs.

By using dtmINSPECTOR through the DTM development process, the developer picks-up right away the differences between the developing software and the FDT Specification.   It is possible to debug the DTM during the test run for the direct monitoring of the code interaction. This speeds up any trouble-shooting even further and significantly decreases the cost of error correction: an early detection of errors will lead to much lower cost for bug fixing.

In the same way, the DTM certification test becomes a formality.  The Certification Tests in the accredited Test Sites are also executed with the dtmINSPECTOR.  The developer can thus check the software conformance prior to shipping it to the test site, thereby ensuring successful testing at the first execution and avoiding costly repetitions of the process.

“The importance of DTM certification is also emphasized by the NAMUR AK2.6 workgroup on fieldbus. In its recommendation paper NE105, NAMUR demands the certification of all DTMs.

For the operator of a plant and the user of FDT/DTM Technology, the new release reinforces the confidence in the interoperability and stability of the final DTM product.” explains Suriya Kumar Selvaraj, FDT Group Test & Certification Chairman.

About the FDT Group AISBL

The FDT Group AISBL is a non-profit corporation consisting of over 55 leading process and factory automation companies worldwide whose major purpose is to provide an open and non proprietary interface for the integration of field devices with engineering, automation and asset management systems. In this environment, end users, manufacturers, universities and research organizations are working together to develop the technology, provide development tools, support and training, coordinate field trials and demonstrations, and enable product interoperability.


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