Steve Biegacki, FDT Group Managing Director, recently sat down with John Groom, CEO and President at VEGA Americas, to discuss what FDT/DTM means to VEGA, sensors, and the industry.
With over 20 years at VEGA, John has seen technology, software, and support tools come and go. However, one solution that has been key to VEGA’s success is the FDT/DTM. For this reason, VEGA is a long-time advocate and supporter of DTM development.
Steve: Thanks for joining me today, John, to talk about FDT/DTM technology and the value it brings to VEGA and your customers.
What does being a part of the FDT community for VEGA mean?
John: Being part of the FDT community allows VEGA to develop DTMs with enhanced features supporting best-in-breed sensors for commissioning, support, and diagnostics. DTMs enable the customer access to advanced diagnostics and reports, which is essential as the industry pivots to IIoT / Industry 4.0 initiatives.
The DTM provides the conduit to meet the digital requirements requested by the customer. This is because FDT/DTM technology is open-source and free software, allowing customers to get the most out of their sensors and processes.
Steve: Why is FDT a necessary technology standard for the industry?
John: FDT Group designed its technological standard to be an open communication platform. This is important because, in the past, manufacturers used proprietary software with control systems to try to lock out other sensor manufacturers.
FDT Group has leveled the playing field for all sensor manufacturers by introducing the DTM to the market. Most manufacturers today offer DTMs for their intelligent sensors, and most customers have bought into the DTM experience. The benefits and cost savings are real! By using DTMs, the amount of software required to commission all brands of sensors is reduced. This is important because now the customer can buy the best technology for an application and not be locked to a single vendor or purchase additional commissioning software.
Steve: How important is the DTM for the customer when using VEGA sensors?
John: The DTM allows the customer to achieve the maximum potential available in a sensor. Using a Device Specific DTM for a sensor, you can gather all values, diagnostics, and measurement data. For example, with our VEGA pressure transmitters, you can use the DTM to set up and store the sensor’s critical measurement data such as pressure, cell temperature, minimum and maximum pressures, plus monitor, all sensor diagnostics, and software changes made to the sensor since commissioned. DTMs allow users to gather and analyze data points for a specific process application. Our customers can use this data to optimize their processes for improved efficiency.
Steve: How does VEGA inform its customers about FDT/DTM technology?
John: VEGA is very customer service-oriented and works around the clock to communicate FDT/DTM software updates and new offerings. We strive to reach our customers via their communication preferences – webinars, emails, LinkedIn, Facebook, websites, etc. VEGA also offers global DTM and sensor commissioning training at offices and customer locations.
The investment and business benefits of using FDT/DTM are huge for VEGA and our customers. Making our FDT/DTM solutions freely available to customers makes the solution simple and easy to use.
Steve: What are the benefits VEGA and customers achieve when using FDT/DTM technology?
John: One of VEGA’s core values is simplicity. The DTM makes sensor commissioning and support simple for the user.
Looking ahead, as we plan to integrate IIoT and I40 sensor-related solutions, the focus is on predictive maintenance! Is the sensor performing at its optimum level? Are there software updates or changes that could help the sensor serve better? Has anyone accessed the software setup or made changes from the original setup?
Data collection, diagnostics, and event memory are all available in the sensor and can be accessed using a DTM. Identifying a sensor when it is failing or not performing correctly and fixing it before losing product or shutting a process down is the key to using DTMs. We need to keep it simple and easy for our customers. This is what a DTM does!
In summary, it is vital for VEGA to design DTMs and to inform our customers about the benefits of using FDT/DTMs. Technology is moving fast in a world where digital transformation is necessary. Sensor self-diagnostics and process data analysis must be easy to access, reducing the workload for users. FDT/DTM keeps up with the fast-changing world, providing a clear path with open-source software that is easy to invest in while supporting all intelligent sensors.
Steve: John, it was great talking with you today. Thanks for sharing how FDT/DTM technology delivers business value for VEGA and your customers focused on optimizing sensor-level measurement solutions. VEGA is a leader in this sector, and it is fantastic to hear VEGA’s viewpoint of FDT technology as a critical open communication platform enabling solutions today, and for sensors supporting IIoT and I40 initiatives ahead.