Editorial: Data Harmonization on Course for the FDT Unified Environment

February 6, 2023

With a new year comes new beginnings for FDT Group and the FDT specification. Over the last year, the organization set the foundation for a bright future to maximize its value to the automation industry. It has created user awareness of the benefits of FDT host and device (DTM) products based on the specification, especially the latest release, FDT3, which defines the FDT Unified Environment (FDT UE) for modern intelligent device management for IT/OT data-driven operations. To that end, several large end users are understanding the benefits of having products and systems based on FDT UE. They are beginning to request their control system and device manufacturers to provide products based on the FDT3 standard, keeping FDT as the premier device management standard.

Additionally, deeper communications and collaborations with other industry groups such as OPC Foundation, FCG, NAMUR, and OPAF are occurring in parallel in effort to provide a harmonized device management standard that meets the needs of the user and vendor communities. Collaborating with these groups helps us better understand the requirements that their members want. FDT UE is truly an open and agnostic standard that provides the comprehensive integration solution for any other standard that wants to connect and communicate making users lives easier while improving the overall operation of their automation assets.

The power of the FDT spec, which defines the device and communication DTM ( Device Type Manager), and FDT Server – both which leverage OPC UA and Web Services makes asset management easier. Now, device data can be mapped and distributed throughout the automation system manufacturing enterprise via authenticated IT, OT and mobile clients as needed by the user. This enables true asset management of the process and manufacturing assets, not just the devices.

Applications like RedRaven from Flowserve (FDT Member) take advantage of the data centric FDT Server environment with OPC UA services. RedRaven provides users with a unique service-oriented device maintenance portal allowing remote access to all process and device diagnostics with NE107 status health alerts. The solution is a game-changer enabling predictive and proactive system changes required to keep the process operating at peak performance and running efficiency. This all means that manufacturers can improve their manufacturing operations and ultimately their profitability by specifying systems and devices based on the FDT3 specification.

Recently, PACTware 6.1 based on FDT3 was released to the market. The popular point-to-point configuration environment now supports new FDT3 web-based DTMs and expand integration to FDI Device Packages while supporting the millions of device DTMs in service today. Additionally, it creates a path for the FDT Server environment providing workforce mobility solutions, as well as data harmonization for enterprise-wide applications.

We are excited to begin seeing FDT3 DTM prototypes from companies including VEGA, KROHNE, Thorsis, and Flowserve. Additionally, there are several new vendors taking the steps to upgrade their DTMs to support FDT3 due to market demands.

FDT is looking forward to being present at upcoming tradeshow events including Hannover and SPS this year. If you are making plans to be present at those events, please note that the FDT Group will be present in the OPC Foundation booth at both these events with the FDT3 demo running equipment from all vendors and more mentioned above. We look forward to visiting with you!

Last year set the foundation for FDT Group and the future of automation system and devices delivering financial benefits to automation users through, improved device configuration, operation, and ultimately maintenance.

If you aren’t familiar with the new FDT3 standard and would like to request information, please contact [email protected].

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