How do you connect to your process and factory automation devices to configure and collect data from them without being aware of it? The answer is probably using a DTM (Device Type Manager), a software driver able to connect directly to your devices within a control system application.
The FDT Group specification, IEC 62453, is built into the core of most engineering control applications available today. The software-based solution promotes open device and system integration using DTMs for the user community. “The perfect adaptation of software and hardware platforms is the core of integration management, and it is also the core problem to be dealt with when developing your own AMS,” reports Nanjing Keyuan Wisdom.
It’s easy to forget that simple ideas, implemented perfectly, make for a great outcome. The DTM is often overlooked, yet it is ubiquitous in enabling control systems to manage their intelligent devices easily in multi-vendor, multi-protocol environments. “Open enables simple and simplification in a heterogeneous environment is what really matters,” says Paul Brooks, Senior Manager for the Technology and Innovation Group at Rockwell Automation.
FDT/DTM enables the interfaces needed to support open device and system integration. These key interfaces allow information to be presented consistently without vendor-specific models that limit interoperability and data access.
Control system users are searching for easy ways to configure and collect information from their intelligent sensors and actuators to strengthen the core connection of process and factory automation from machines and process applications. Those devices provide critical process information, enabling decision-making to improve manufacturing Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE).
The creation of the DTM started over 20 years ago. DTMs have evolved to support changes in operating systems and applications that have moved from device management to enabling IT systems with client access to configure the data in those devices – enabling IT/OT integration.
There are two basic types of DTMs: Communication (Comm) DTM and Device DTM.
Comm DTMs represent hardware devices supporting the integration of popular networking protocols. These DTMs give users the choice and flexibility to use any protocol or a mixed networking topology instead of being locked into protocol vertical control systems.
Today, Comm DTMs support over 17 protocols – HART, Foundation Fieldbus, CIP, Profibus, Modbus, IO-Link, OPC UA, and many others.
Device DTMs represent a physical device type. These DTMs can represent a single device, a family of devices, or a modular system and work as servers that supply device data to control systems to configure and collect defined data in sensors and actuators.
Today, there are nearly 12,000 devices supported by over 850 certified DTMs. Tens of millions of DTMs are deployed globally and serviced by FDT-hosting applications, making it a de facto standard while being IEC, ISA, and GB-T recognized.
The DTM is truly the heart and soul of the FDT Specification. Its holistic design promotes openness, independent of the system, device, and protocol, supporting a flexible and scalable architecture fit for newer technologies as they become available.
The solution works behind the scenes and is often overlooked with all the trendy topics and hype of big data, AI, ML, etc. While all these new technologies are critical to improving efficiency and sustainability, the DTM serving up all the field-level data to applications is needed to make these big ideas a reality.
The DTM enhances the circulatory system of your control application, keeping your device/process data and diagnostics flowing 24/7, allowing you to maintain (via NE 107 status alerts) and keep your application/process healthy, running in uptime!
Newer technologies will benefit from the simplification and openness DTMs provide for real-time data flow sensors to the cloud. DTM’s will accelerate the modern manufacturing world to revolutionize industrial automation as we know it.
To learn how DTMs can help improve the OEE of your manufacturing processes, request DTMs from your device and control system providers during the bidding process.
We recently asked vendors to comment on FDT’s device integration solution. This comment caught my eye, “FDT/DTM completely changes the concept for the user, including how an intelligent device is recognized in the industrial site and the entire domestic site to truly realize digitalization and intelligence.” – Chongqing Chuanyi Automation Co., Ltd