CodeWrights – FDT Service Provider Interview

May 16, 2024

Today, Steve Biegacki, FDT Managing Director, sat down with Sven Giesecke, Director Sales & Product Management at CodeWrights, to discuss device integration strategies with FDT/DTM technology and their offerings supporting the industrial automation community as a leading FDT Service Provider.

Steve: Thanks for taking the time to talk about intelligent device management and integration strategies using FDT/DTM.

Please introduce CodeWrights, your mission, and the customer base you serve for the industrial automation market.

Sven: CodeWrights develops customized software solutions for device manufacturers in the automation industry. With many years of experience, we support our customers in further developing their devices so that they can quickly adapt to the market’s requirements. We provide pre-developed, tested software modules as well as individual software services.

We have been actively involved in FDT since its beginning, helping system and device vendors fully leverage the benefits of FDT technology as an official FDT Service Provider.

Steve: We are grateful to have CodeWrights as an essential FDT Service Provider to help the industry easily adopt and develop interoperable solutions using FDT technology.

As the industry grapples with demands for standardized device integration in a single device management tool, we are confident in CodeWrights’ readiness to offer support. Could you elaborate on the specific challenges the community is facing, and how CodeWrights is prepared to address them?

Sven: The FDT standard has been developed to provide a standardized interface for integrating field devices. These devices are sensors, actuators, or other instruments used to monitor and control processes in the industry.

When I speak with manufacturers, they regard FDT as one of the key technologies for interoperable configuration. But there are many other integration standards and technologies out there. One critical challenge is finding out which of these standards and respective device drivers are suitable for which use case. Do I, as a manufacturer, have to invest in and develop all of these, or are there other options and advantageous solutions?

This is where CodeWrights can help and advise—as we are involved in many, if not all, of these standards. Together, we can find out what is the best technology and standard for the current use case. Do we need an individual solution, or can we use existing solutions?

Our iDTM technology is a prime example of how we help our customers save costs. By efficiently combining existing device integration standards like FDI, EDD, and FDT/DTM, we significantly reduce development and maintenance efforts, leading to substantial cost reductions for our customers.

Steve: CodeWrights’ Interpreter DTM, the iDTM, is a great, cost-effective solution that provides investment protection for current installed base while promoting a unified environment for intelligent device management. We know the vendor and end-user communities enjoy this easy-to-use offering to streamline device management initiatives.

Why is the FDT/DTM standard (IEC 62453) important for device management?

Sven: FDT was one of the first and is currently the most widespread standard for device asset management. All major system vendors and instrumentation suppliers support this standard. It helps users configure field devices from different manufacturers easily and efficiently within their asset management system and saves time and effort in maintenance training.

Steve: It’s great to see the positive impact FDT/DTM technology has provided for the industrial automation community focused on interoperability and intelligent device management independent of protocol, device type, or vendor.

CodeWrights has been an FDT Service Provider for more than 20 years. Tell us about your FDT development tools and services.

Sven: We have been involved in the FDT developments from the beginning, starting in the Joint Interest Working Group. The goal has always been to create standardized interfaces that facilitate the development of clients and servers from multiple vendors that will interoperate seamlessly.

This is still the case, and much has been achieved. This is proven by the tens of millions of DTM drivers that support thousands of products that are used every day in the field. It started as Windows-based technology, but we have mobile and operating system-independent solutions since FDT 3.0, incorporating many new interfaces and standards, such as OPC UA.

CodeWrights helps its customers create the best possible solution for their needs. Our predeveloped components can significantly improve the time to market for these products.

Steve: It’s been a journey that has been supported by the industrial community for years. We are grateful to the user and vendor community for their support of the technology.

We are eager to learn about the advantages your vendors have gained from FDT-enabled device solutions and how it has translated into benefits for the user community.

Sven: The FDT/DTM and, thus, the supported device is integrated into multiple engineering tools from various vendors without additional effort. Users, whether chemical plant maintenance technicians or support engineers, can rely on a similar user interface. They don’t have to install or learn how to use additional software, which makes it a lot easier.

The vendors will get the best integration solutions for their devices, allowing them to interface with as many host- and asset-management systems as possible.

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