With the completion of its goals, the FDI organization is dissolving. But the technology is just beginning its solving of user and vendor requirements. In process automation FDI presents a harmonization of FDT/DTM and EDDL. These two disparate approaches now resolve to a single solution.
FDI was developed by major industrial automation foundations, including PI, and major automation vendors with input from user organizations. FDI is designed to cover the entire lifecycle of process devices including configuration, commissioning, diagnosis, and calibration. Because FDI models physical devices in the virtual world, it fits neatly into the Industrie 4.0 and Industrial Internet of Things strategy.
Permanent establishment of the FDI technology on the market requires continuing development and support. To this end, PI and the FieldComm Group (formed by the merger of Fieldbus Foundation and HART Communication Foundation) are joining forces under the framework of a long-term cooperation agreement. Furthermore the FDT Group and OPC Foundation together with the FieldComm Group and PI will continue to work on the FDI specification jointly. The platform and infrastructure for this will be provided by the FieldComm Group. This includes the establishment of working groups for support of the specifications and management of development projects. PI will also actively participate in the further development of FDI and will provide Profibus- and Profinet-specific parts in developer tools, as well. Another example is the handling of devices for mobile automation and handhelds in order to integrate FDI in an application-compatible manner. PI’s own experts will be represented in all relevant activities. Users urgently want the certification process, which should include interoperability in particular, to be carried out through user tests in test labs, similar as for Profibus and FF. This is also how PI sees it. The certification tests of Profibus and Profinet products with FDI will be performed in accredited vendor-neutral PI Test Labs and the certificates issued by the PI certification body.
Users all over the world can be sure that a device that has been tested in PI test labs is tested to the same specifications with the same test procedures. For Profibus PA devices, it is certainly appropriate to perform the Profibus and FDI certification in one step. This means that the Profibus PA test will have a test environment for testing the functions of the FDI package. We will also arrange with our colleagues in the FieldComm Group about offering the same test procedures.
PI catalyzed the formation of an FDI cooperation before the organization was even founded and will continue to shape, support, promote, and test FDI into the future.