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Challenge: To find a standardized IIoT migration path that aligns with industry
needs for a unified environment for device integration, operation, and maintenance
providing actionable data, consistency and accessibility across the enterprise.
Solution: The FDT Unified Environment (FDT UE), based on the FDT3 standard,
has evolved to a distributed software-based FDT Server (also an OPC UA server and
web server) solution delivering OT data consistency to IT applications empowering
Result: Scalable IIoT Solutions – support the current install base and integrate
smarter instrumentation delivering service-oriented device management, maintenance,
and data analytics improving reliability with real-time production visibility.
Summary: It’s no secret, IIoT connectivity will dominate the industrial automation workplace enabling modern ways to integrate intelligent device information. At the heart of the IIoT is FDT Group’s integration standard. The latest FDT UE (FDT3) version, has evolved to support both legacy and IIoT applications.
For end-users, system, and device suppliers, FDT is the data interoperability standard for the secure and reliable configuration and visualization in industrial automation devices and systems independent of protocol, vendor, and device (type and data model) for process, hybrid and discrete applications. Today, there are millions of smart device DTMs in use and serviced by FDT hosting environments – engineering, automation, and asset management applications.
Migrating to FDT UE carries forward traditional device management and data consistency features and adds support for modern IIoT device management use cases. The FDT Server environment (deployable in the cloud, on-premise, and edge) offers service-oriented, data-driven IT/OT operations with authenticated OPC UA, FDT, and mobile clients delivering faster performance, ease of use, and investment protection. New FDT Desktop applications offer complete backward compatibility supporting all DTM generations (FDT3, FDT2, and FDT1.2 and other representations). Modern DTMs come equipped with a WebUI allowing interfaces to be completely portable standardizing worker mobility.
The vendor community can jump-start FDT UE development with Common Components, to create FDT Server, FDT Desktop, and FDT device DTM solutions. Toolkits are available today and ensure specification compliance so vendors can focus on value-add. Toolkits auto-enable OPC UA, greatly enhance interoperability and help developers expedite time to market.
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Industry 4.0 and the convergence of Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT) is dramatically impacting the industrial product solution ecosystem. Everything from a simple sensor to an entire control system, including communication and integration standards, is driving a new way of thinking about the industrial computing environment.
To date, IT and OT have been in scope for different data domain experts in the manufacturing world. While IT and OT have different needs, the increasing need to overlap these territories will deliver a unified approach to data-driven smart manufacturing practices. These innovations will revive manufacturing’s critical infrastructure with new service-oriented architectures uniting communications for both the business and operating workforce.
FDT Group’s new FDT (3.0) Unified Environment (UE), with its FDT Server and built-in OPC UA Server solution, enables robust IT/OT integration and provides a secure gateway to network/device data and health information. The standard offers OPC UA Client/Server-authenticated access to operating data, and its utilization of a Publish-Subscribe environment allows for real-time data exchange.
A new age of industrial automation is being ushered in by rapid technological advancements in creating connected plants and factories. Mobile technologies are a key driving force to enable Industry 4.0 and further streamline manufacturing operations. Industrial companies want to harness the power of new technologies that hold the promise of smart operations.
The benefits of data capture and automation for enterprises can be seen in increased employee productivity, competitive advances, streamlined processes and improved operations. Being digitally mobile within the manufacturing environment means freedom of movement – being able to perform activities freely and at any location within the facility or remotely.
The latest advancements in FDT® 3.0 technology will drive a wider range of worker mobility applications in the Information Technology (IT)/Operational Technology (OT) environment. They help standardized and optimize industrial organizations and their operations and maintenance departments by enabling cloud-based enterprise data access, device diagnostics and mobility applications; modernizing asset management practices; and improving predictive maintenance programs.
With the recent developments to FDT, automation stakeholders can employ the familiar functionality of the integration standard on common mobile platforms. This, in turn, will provide access to additional data from any location with flexible deployment options.
The FDT mobility solution will benefit both control and instrumentation suppliers and end users. It applies a host of modern features to meet the contemporary needs for remote data access for the new era of automation. The familiar FDT Device Type Manager™ (DTM™) user interface has evolved to include a web interface environment incorporating browser-based visual solutions running on any authenticated mobile device on all networks. The FDT mobility solution is also platform-independent, which provides the flexibility to use any computing platform along with customizable app development. This approach contrasts with common proprietary, one-off solutions for industrial mobility applications.
This paper was presented in 2020 at the 59th Annual Conference of the Society of Instrument and Control Engineers of Japan (SICE) and is now recognized and published with IEEE and available for purchase. Please click the download button that takes you to the IEEE site for more information.
FDT (IEC62453) is a technology which allows integration of devices and networks to engineering tools, e.g. for industrial control systems (ICS) and asset management systems. This paper introduces the latest FDT3 (FDT version 3) technical specification which enables the FDT IIoT Server™ (FITS™) concept. FDT3 addresses end user requirements (total platform independence, support of fieldbus protocols, centralized DTM repository, NAMUR Open Architecture). This paper provides an overview of the FITServer and its components, including OPC UA Server and a web server, and how to get started with FITS development with FITServer Common Components.
Digitalization offers automation companies a great opportunity to successfully shape the future. However, this process also brings many challenges such as remote real-time data access, end-to-end security, and multi-vendor equipment integration and interoperability.
Industrial stakeholders want to do more with operational and business data, including accurate interpretation of the information and taking correct actions to ensure a desired outcome.
FDT Group’s new, forward-looking standard, FDT® 3.0 (also known as FITS™), will accelerate the evolutionary journey of the organization and its technology into the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Developed from industry-driven feedback, and providing a bridge between the current FDT installed based and next generation solutions, the updated standard enables an FDT Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)-based ecosystem to meet the demands for digitalization and Industry 4.0 applications.
FDT Group’s open, data-centric integration approach is the key enabler for the new era of industrial automation. FDT is the only standard of its kind providing an open architecture with standardized, built-in mobility and remote access; native OPC Unified Architecture (UA) integration; robust security; and platform independence, while still leaving the manufacturer in control of customizing their product or solution.
Preventing unplanned shutdowns, reducing downtime, and lowering maintenance costs have been shown to provide significant financial benefits. One way to achieve these results is to make certain that all installed assets are used to the best of their ability.
FDT Technology can be easily used in existing or new plants and can bring significant operational and financial benefits throughout the plant life cycle.
This paper provides an overview of FDT Technology and suggests text to use as part of your proposal or ordering specifications to make sure you are putting your assets to work.
The purpose of this whitepaper is to provide information related to the topic of device integration using FDI Device Packages with FDT Group’s publicly available FDT standard.
The FDT (Field Device Technology) standard, IEC 62453, advanced by the FDT Group, and started more than ten years ago, provides a platform for intelligent device integration across all industrial communication networks spanning process and discrete automation. FDT’s nested communication allows transparent information flow from devices to host systems across different industrial communication networks. Sixteen different industrial communication networks, tethered and wireless are fully supported and integrated into the FDT standard.
FDT 2.0 Technology
Over time, the technologies used to implement FDT 1.x became dated. The FDT Group developed a concept to further their standards and enable easier adaptation of future technologies. This resulted in a future-proof architectural concept for a new version of FDT known as FDT2™. FDT2 is based on the .NET Framework and uses the scope of functions available in Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) and Windows Forms libraries, among others. In addition, FDT2 implements persistent storage of device instance data to speed access time to device data. Interoperability, performance and operation of the DTM and FDT Frame applications are also optimized by the introduction of what are called Common Components.
Backwards Compatibility of FDT 2.0
In recognition of the large installed base of DTMs built on the FDT 1.x specification, the FDT2 specification was designed to ensure backward compatibility. Therefore all available DTMs from the FDT 1.x specification will work in FDT2 Frame-based systems ensuring investment protection throughout the life cycle of a plant.
Openness of FDT Technology
Users can select various manufacturers’ devices and easily integrate the best in class devices into their applications. The selection can be oriented towards the performance features of the device rather than the specifications of a system manufacturer or a communication protocol. The same applies for the FDT Frame Application.
FDT imposes no limitations on an innovative device technology as long as the DTM interface remains compatible. Investments are thus protected long-term. New communication protocols are regularly added to the FDT specification through protocol annexes. Backward compatibility of new interface descriptions is a requirement for all FDT working groups.
Integration of Device Descriptions
For devices which do not have a native DTM, but only a Device Description (DD) or Electronic Device Description (EDD), so named Interpreter DTMs are available. Interpreter DTMs are not uniquely programmed for a device, but rather use existing Device Description files created for a certain device. Usually these DTMs have fewer graphic and functional features because of the limited properties of the Device Description language (EDDL). One example is the “IO-Link Device Description interpreter DTM”, which interprets DDs from IO-Link devices for factory automation and, with its help, can provide parameters for these devices. There are further Interpreter DTMs, through which EDDs for HART, PROFIBUS PA and FOUNDATION Fieldbus devices are interpreted. For upcoming new Device Description formats FDT will be easily expanded by providing a corresponding Interpreter DTM, as it has been done before.
Interoperability of FDT 2.0 with FDI
FDI® (Field Device Integration) is focused on device integration for process automation applications using HART, PROFIBUS, and FOUNDATION Fieldbus based devices. The goal of FDI is to provide a common solution based on device integration technologies: (Electronic Device Description Language) and DTM (Device Type Manager) Technology. The FDI Device Package will address the requirements for simple and complex devices for process applications. FDI Device Packages can be processed in FDI Hosts as well as in an FDT2 Frame Application. This allows device suppliers to create an FDI Device Package for their devices containing both: an EDD and an optional UIP (User Interface Plug-in) that provides additional graphical capabilities similar to a DTM. Host suppliers are free to implement an FDI host, or an FDT2 frame application. End users in the process industries benefit because both solutions will use the same FDI Device Packages to provide the same functionality and experience. The FDT Group and FDI Cooperation are both committed to support this approach and ensure that FDT2 based systems can use and deliver the full functionality of FDI Device Packages. Hosts that are based on the FDT2 frame specification will process FDI Device Packages using an FDI DTM. This FDI DTM will be based on the same tools that are used to develop a native FDI host.
FDT Hosts Provide the Broadest Solution
A native FDT2 host system supports more than 16 network protocols including the 3 supported by a native FDI host. The FDT2 standard is designed in such a way that additional future networks can be added without re-releasing the standard or modifying an existing FDT2 host system. This feature proofs the interoperability with new networks as they come onto the market. Vendors have also used this feature to deliver seamless support for proprietary or legacy protocols. In addition, an FDT2 based host is optimally suited to implement device and asset management tasks as it integrates seamlessly both FDI Device Packages and device DTM’s.
Unique to the FDT architecture is the ability of an FDT2 host system to natively communicate with end devices by tunneling through any number of disparate networks and associated gateways. This so called nested communications occurs without the host needing to intervene in any way and without modifying the communications stack of any of the networks through which the tunneling occurs.
The FDT architecture allows communication adapters and gateways to be added to an FDT2 system without explicit support from the host through the use of communication DTMs. End users therefore can pick best in class network components and extend FDT2 based host systems as new devices and networks become available. Recent trends in communication DTMs have shown significant advancements in network level diagnostics delivering proactive maintenance indicators previously only available with specialized hardware and software. As networks communicate faster and through wireless mediums, the advantage of the integrated network configuration and predictive diagnostics becomes a game changing advantage.
FDT as a standard for device integration fulfills the requirement to offer to the user a free selection of all components installed in their system, independent of the manufacturer, and with it the option of being able to use the most suitable devices for their applications. Moreover, the open FDT Technology protects investments of the plant operator in field device technology for the long term and makes it possible for device manufacturers to create uniformity in device drivers running in different system environments.
The goals of maximizing assets and improving plant reliability are common today. And, as the expression goes, “if it was easy everyone would be doing it.” An effective asset management program might be easy to financially justify because the investment can sometimes pay for itself by preventing just a single unplanned shutdown. That said, why is it that more companies are not actively using asset management programs to improve performance and increase plant reliability? Several large companies have asked and answered this question and initiated a program only to find that the people asking for reliability improvements might be the same people that are preventing it!
This white paper explores the experiences of users who have successfully implemented an effective asset management and reliability program and discusses the culture and work process changes required in order to achieve significant change. The paper also looks at the work being done by ISA108 Intelligent Device Management to define best practices and work processes surrounding the use of information provided by intelligent field device.
When a device is suspected of having a problem, don’t grab the work order and go out into the plant to “see what might be wrong.” There is a more productive approach! This “user guide” outlines an alternative proactive maintenance method, using the smarts in your current installed intelligent devices with FDT® Technology doing the troubleshooting work for you! Focusing on brownfield applications using legacy 4-20mA systems, we will identify a path for you to jump start your maintenance strategy for your installed assets starting with just a single device (or point to point) connection. This paper will motivate maintenance team members and encourage them to use a PC and a FDT enabled configuration application (free), to configure and diagnose a single device enabling lower maintenance costs and increased plant reliability.
Let’s get connected! Thanks to the internet, we can now connect in ways we never dreamed about – social media, automobiles, home appliances, security systems, and the list goes on. And, if the fortune tellers are right, we haven’t seen anything yet! What is the common characteristic in all of the mentioned scenarios is that they all include “smart” devices that communicate with each other and/or within a system to help optimize their value and deliverable.
This paper is a user guide to optimize smart device management by looking at the benefits of connecting to the information in smart measurement and control devices (one point at a time or thousands of points) for process and/or factory automation applications markets utilizing FDT Technology. With full user driven scalability options, plant operations and maintenance efforts will benefit from– lowering maintenance cost, reducing unscheduled downtime and improving compliance to new safety and environmental regulations.
This white paper discusses a general approach for providing OPC UA services for field devices, based on an already existing and widely supported device integration technology – FDT.
Providing OPC UA services for device management and device integration may be considered as a strategic development towards support of remote configuration of devices (e.g. via the Internet), support of access by mobile platforms and support of integration into cyber physical systems.
Abstract: In an industrial environment, asset health monitoring is key for making informed decisions about maintenance activity, component replacement etc., to reduce the plant downtime and improve asset performance. FDT Group’s emerging FDT IIoT Server (FITS) architecture empowers a robust FDT Server solution featuring a client-server architecture scalable to suit the needs of a single manufacturing facility or an entire industrial enterprise by enabling secure mobile, cloud, on-premise, edge and enterprise-wide applications. The FDT Server natively integrates an OPC UA Server which exposes information about the devices connected to the FDT Server via the OPC UA companion specification Information Model. Any authenticated OPC UA Client can fetch the device information from the OPC UA Server via Request-Response Pull mechanism. This paper focuses on the FITS architecture by enabling the OPC UA Server with OPC PubSub mechanism, so that the remote asset health monitoring application can monitor the asset health in a different network, using various messaging protocols like AMQP, MQTT utilizing pull mechanism. This reduces the message traffic between Asset Health Monitoring Application and the FDT Server, improving the performance and scalability.