The FDT Group AISBL (www.fdtgroup.org) in Jodoigne, Belgium, reports that its FDT Technology standard, previously approved as IEC 62453, has been approved by the ISA103 committee, and is now pending as an International Society of Automation (www.isa.org) and American National Standards Institute (www.ansi.org) standard. Once approved, FDT's ability to enable any fieldbus-, device- or subsystem-specific software tool to be integrated as part of a universal lifecycle management tool for American marketplaces will be validated by two independent sources.
The ISA103 Field Device Tool Interface Committee was formed in 2006 to consider the adoption of FDT Technology as an ISA standard. In May 2009, the ISA103 committee's efforts were accelerated when FDT Technology was unanimously accepted by the International Electrotechnical Commission (www.iec.ch) as IEC 62453. Since that time, the ISA103 committee worked to make the approved international standard available for approval by both ISA and ANSI.
Chaired by Ian Verhappen, the ISA103 committee represents a cross section of industrial automation industry professionals, including users, designers, implementers, educators and suppliers of leading industrial automation technology. The committee worked together to adopt the full suite of FDT standards as ISA-103.00.01 through ISA-103.00.09. Adoption of these standards will support the most commonly used protocols implemented in the process and factory automation industries today.
"The team could not have picked a better time to approve standardization efforts with the large number of projects that are being planned to enhance productivity while reducing integration costs," Verhappen says. "As a result of this effort, end users will have the freedom to choose best-in-class FDT-based products, allowing engineers access to their smart instruments in a rich, graphical environment, including tools that will allow users to make better use of diagnostic information, will improve their ability to perform maintenance and much more."
Wil Chin, research director of ARC Advisory Group (www.arcweb.com), adds, "With formal IEC, ISA and ANSI approvals, users can deploy standard FDT Technology globally, and expect seamless integration of asset information that can be freely distributed between the plants without custom intervention."
To confirm the strong acceptance of device integration based on FDT Technology, a public review of the standards has been submitted for adoption as an ISA/ANSI standard benefiting U.S. industry and its ability to better compete in the global automation and control community. Once complete, the ISA Standards and Practice Board will vote to finalize the ISA103 standard by December 2010. Moving forward, the ISA103 committee will focus on keeping pace with FDT specification updates and the late 2011 maintenance cycle of the IEC 62453 standard. As FDT Technology moves along its development path with additional enhancements such as FDT 2.0 and new annexes to incorporate additional communication protocols, the ISA103 working group will ensure that the pending ISA and ANSI standard is maintained to support the automation industry and the U.S. market.
FDT Group AISBL is a non-profit corporation consisting of more than 70 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 develop the technology, provide development tools, support and training, coordinate field trials and demonstrations, and enable product interoperability.