SERCOS and FDT: Working Together for Open Systems

November 26, 2008

In November, the user organizations for the two open standards SERCOS III and FDT agreed to collaborate on drawing up an annex to the FDT specification for SERCOS III. SERCOS III will thus be the first high-performance real-time Ethernet communication standard to support FDT Technology, used by many manufacturers to connect field devices to a wide range of software environments. The extension of the FDT specification reinforces the flexibility of SERCOS III as a universal bus for real-time systems in the field of automation.

“The FDT Group’s collaboration with SERCOS offers users the greatest possible transparency and freedom of choice” stresses Flavio Tolfo, Managing Director of the FDT Group, which is based in Belgium. “The combination of these two open standards, supported by many manufacturers, reduces start-up times and increases the security of investments.” The collaboration agreement is to extend the range of SERCOS III applications beyond drive communication. Peter Lutz, Managing Director of SERCOS International e.V.: “The FDT/DTM specification is another important step on the way to making SERCOS III a universal real-time network for all automation applications.”

FDT Technology standardises the communication interface between field devices and engineering tools.  It consists of the FDT tool which already contains annexes for a range of different fieldbus systems. Extending the FDT specification to SERCOS III will allow users to configure SERCOS III devices via FDT’s powerful DTM device drivers.   DTMs offer special functionality for detailed device configuration and analysis via a graphical user interface.  The DTM application opens a window for the start-up, parameterisation and diagnosis of the field devices, thus reducing the complexity of the application and increasing transparency for users and service technicians.

The collaboration between the FDT Group and SERCOS is promoting the trend towards open standards in factory automation from the field to machine control. Design engineers and developers are able to combine products from different manufacturers in their automation systems thanks to the clearly defined interfaces.

About SERCOS International

SERCOS International (SI) is the responsible user organization for the technical development, standardization, certification and commercialization of the real time communication standard SERCOS interface. SI offers conformance testing to help ensure that products built to its specifications operate in multi-vendor systems. The organization with its headquarters in Germany has presently more than 70 member companies all over the world as well as own trade associations in North America and Asia.

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About the FDT Group AISBL

The FDT Group AISBL is a non-profit corporation consisting of over 70 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, provide development tools, sup­port and training, coordinate field trials and demonstrations, and enable product interoperability.


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