Emerson, Siemens to exchange interoperability technology

Source: ControlDesign.com

Sep 18, 2006

Emerson Process Management and Siemens Automation and Drives (A&D) announced their expansion of system interfaces to enable both companies to expand support of global fieldbus standards. The companies will exchange technology and engineering support to add the interfaces that extend their systems and software to offer customers expanded global interoperability and greater functionality. First products are expected to be available mid-2007.The cooperation grew out of the work both companies have done with user-supplier consortiums to deliver fully open and interoperable field instrumentation and electric drives using the newly enhanced global standard Electronic Device Description Language (EDDL).

Siemens will add interfaces to the company's Simatic PCS 7 process control system and its Process Device Manager (PDM) tool to support Foundation fieldbus standards, in addition to the Profibus and HART standards they support today. This will enable Siemens to connect to the extensive array of Foundation fieldbus instruments and valve controllers from Emerson, as well as devices from other companies who support Foundation fieldbus. Emerson will similarly expand its DeltaV and Ovation control systems, as well as the company's AMS Suite: Intelligent Device Manager application, with an interface for Profibus DP and Profinet standards, in addition to the Foundation fieldbus and HART standards they support today. This will enable Emerson to connect to the extensive array of drives, motor starters, and other discrete devices from Siemens, as well as devices from other companies who support Profibus DP and Profinet. 

"Foundation fieldbus is the established global standard in process automation," commented John Berra, president of Emerson Process Management. "In manufacturing automation, especially in electric drives, Profibus DP and Profinet are the established standards. Addition of new fieldbus interfaces will enable Emerson to use enhanced EDDL to easily connect the rich functionality of Siemens' drives to our AMS Device Manager and our automation systems. Extending the value of our asset management applications to more plant assets in this way is just one example of the benefit to customers of global standards."

According to Anton S. Huber, member of the board at Siemens A&D, further harmonization of field device integration will prove advantages particularly in heterogeneous system landscapes: "Foundation fieldbus, HART and Profibus have become the communication standards worldwide. Users can choose from a variety of process instruments that have the interfaces to suit the control system concerned. The potential for improving plant efficiency lies, however, in further integration by the uniform EDDL communication technology and the respective software tools. We strongly support such activities."

Emerson and Siemens will also use in their host systems the pending OPC UA (OLE for Process Control Unified Architecture) standard from the OPC Foundation. The combination of EDDL and OPC UA for data exchange is recommended by the Fieldbus Foundation, HART Communication Foundation and PROFIBUS Nutzerorganisation. The advantage of this technology is the consistent use of EDDL for data description and presentation to the user interface. EDDL is also used to describe the information exchange between any OPC server and OPC client applications, thereby attaining a major degree of independence from operating systems and their variants. Both companies will actively support development of the necessary OPC UA specifications and the enhancements of EDDL.