The FDT Group continues its activities to bring the system providers and the device manufacturers together in order to provide end users with integrated solutions right out of the box. Since November 2007, 22 FDT Group member companies have participated in a project at the facility of Dietz Automation GmbH in Neukirchen, Germany. The project is intended to test the interoperability of the FDT/DTM Technology in a very diverse setting.
The test system setup includes many products from different vendors; 7 Frames (systems or engineering tools) from 5 vendors, 21 Devices with DTMs from 13 vendors, and 6 communication DTMs from 4 vendors. The system currently uses the most familiar digital protocols; PROFIBUS, HART, and FOUNDATION fieldbus. By checking the interactions between these systems and devices, the interoperability tests weed out the common problems and offer the end user maximum assurance for a problem free implementation of their FDT/DTM applications in their automation projects.
As a precondition to test participation, all DTMs had to be certified through the FDT Group Certification process. During the preparation phases, participants had the opportunity to perform the tests on their own.
Additionally, while setting up the test, a test procedure was developed for the frames. This will be the base for the future frame certification procedure. During the project start-up, all the frames involved in this test passed the frame test procedure and were smoothly integrated in the system.
The test phase started in February and is scheduled to be completed in May. As an exciting side benefit, some of the companies accessed the test system via internet and tested their DTMs on-line, further challenging their DTM tools and frames with this very diverse test environment. This proved to be an advantage to companies located in North America and/or Asia.
The FDT Group intends to turn this test system into a permanent test and certification facility and to make it a part of the FDT certification process.
Achim Laubenstein, Vice President of Technology, declares, “This test facility further completes the FDT certification procedure. Besides the DTM certification, we will have shortly a frame certification procedure and a permanent interoperability test bed. This will ensure maximum robustness for the FDT certified products and provide end users the insurance of smooth project implementation.”The most important target of the FDT Group is to provide the FDT Specification as an open and freely available international standard for the benefit of end users worldwide.
About the FDT Group AISBL™
The FDT Group AISBL is a non-profit corporation consisting of over 60 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.