By accomplishing the development of FDI (Field Device Integration) technology PROFIBUS & PROFINET International (PI) and its partner organizations have passed an extraordinary milestone. Not only because the technology will greatly facilitate the device integration in the future. But – and especially – because FDI is the joint result of a trusting and intensive network of manufacturers and organizations for industrial communication. We were motivated by the strong user interest in a uniform and practical integration technology for process automation. The goal was consistent, simplified device integration. The boundary conditions were maximum manufacturer-neutrality as well as use of proven elements of existing technologies.
The completion of the FDI technology is impressive evidence that a targeted intensive cooperation of different organizations in industrial automation can be successful and can provide users with operational technologies for their solutions. This includes the specification of FDI, EDDL, tools, and components to support efficient product development. After completion of work in the FDI Cooperation LLC, the establishment of FDI technology in the market is an important next step. Key elements to promote the market penetration of FDI are the tools and components. Another element is the joint establishment of testing, certification, and registration rules. To ensure this, PI and FieldComm Group are contractually bound to provide a common development, maintenance, and deployment on the market.
To support device manufacturers in integrating FDI in their devices, an across-protocol development tool (Integrated Development Environment, IDE) has been provided. It supports the efficient development, testing, and generation of FDI Device Packages, as well as a low-overhead pass-through of existing EDDs in an FDI Device Package. It enables device manufacturers to create FDI Device Packages for PROFIBUS, PROFINET, Foundation Fieldbus, and HART devices using unified processes. Another important result for FDI is definition of architecture for FDI Host Components that allow a uniform treatment of Device Integration Packages in various FDI Hosts. The implementation of such a component that has been created in the context of our activities will serve host manufacturers as a reference while implementing FDI in their tools.
The IDE and the Host Component can be obtained from the PI website.