The SPS/IPC/DRIVES 2010 fair saw the announcement that the CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA) had signed an agreement with the FDT Group to incorporate the CC-Link family of open networks into the FDT standard by development of a protocol annex.
CC-Link provides high speed, deterministic communication linking a wide range of vendor automation devices over a single cable, regardless of the make of the devices. FDT takes the concept one stage further to standardise the communication and configuration interface between various open communications networks, with the aim of allowing any device to be configured, operated, and maintained through a standardised user interface – regardless of supplier, type or communication protocol.
Work on the annex has now been completed, meaning CC-Link is now fully supported by the FDT Group. Glenn Schulz, Managing Director of the FDT Group said: “This is a major step in the adoption of the FDT Technology into the world of discrete automation.” CC-Link is one of the leading open communications protocols in the world with an installed base of 8 million nodes and over 240 manufacturers producing compatible devices.
John Browett, Acting General Manager of CLPA Europe commented, “This is an important step forward for CC-Link. FDT is widely accepted in the process market, and is beginning to make its way into the discrete market. The completion of the annex means CC-Link will be well placed to take advantage of this trend.
The annex has been a mere six months in development. Initial talks lead in November 2010 to the FDT Group making a presentation to a selected audience of members, users and the press at the CLPA’s global 10th anniversary event in Tokyo. SPS/IPC/DRIVES 2010 in Nuremburg the same month was then used to announce the formal start of the development process. This also marked the announcement of the rebranding of CC-Link as “The Non-Stop Open Network™”, a statement of how its technical benefits translate to business benefits by maintaining productivity even in adverse operating conditions.
FDT technology is the final piece in the jigsaw of truly open communications. It standardises the communication and configuration interface between all field devices and host systems and as such provides a common environment for accessing each device’s most sophisticated features. Devices can be configured, operated, and maintained over the CC-Link networks through standardised graphical user interfaces – regardless of supplier or type.
Browett continued, “As the acceptance of open networks grows, users are demanding common tools and the transparency to enable them to access and integrate intelligent field devices.
“Implementing the common environment provided by the FDT Group provides this, but also gives us the potential to add new functionality for users of CC-Link networks.”
Schulz stated: ” We are pleased to have developed an excellent working relationship with the CLPA. Their broad acceptance in the automation market place is a compliment to the core goals and objectives of the FDT Group. Since CC-Link is also very strong in the Asian market, we are looking forward to wider acceptance of FDT technology in this globally important region.”
About the FDT Group AISBL™
The FDT Group AISBL is an international non-profit corporation consisting of over 85 leading worldwide companies active in process and factory automation. The major purpose of the FDT Group 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; to provide development tools, support, and training; to coordinate field trials and demonstrations; and to enable product interoperability. Visit www.fdtgroup.org for more information.
About the CLPA
The CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA) is an international organisation with over 1,400 member companies worldwide. The partners’ common objective is promotion and technical development, of the family of CC-Link open network technologies. Over 1,100 certified products are now available from over 240 manufacturers. CC-Link is the leading industrial fieldbus in Asia and is becoming increasingly popular in Europe and the Americas. The European headquarters is in Germany, with offices throughout the continent.
DMA Europa Ltd: Bob Dobson
Tel: +44 (0)1798 861677 Fax: +44 (0)1299 403092
CLPA Europe: John Browett
Tel: +44-(0)776 833 8708 Fax: +49 (0)2102 486 1751