EDDL Technology Enhancements Debut At ISA EXPO 2004 | Automation.com

EDDL Technology Enhancements Debut At ISA EXPO 2004

October 122004
Fieldbus Foundation demonstrates results of FF, HART and PNO cooperation

HOUSTON, Texas, Oct. 5, 2004 — The Fieldbus Foundation, conducting a press briefing at the ISA EXPO 2004 Exhibition & Conference in Houston, Texas, today outlined enhancements to the IEC 61804-2 “Electronic Device Description Language” (EDDL) standard, which includes the Device Description Language (DDL) used as an underlying technology in FOUNDATION™ fieldbus. A cooperation project to extend EDDL was undertaken by the Fieldbus Foundation, HART Communication Foundation (HCF) and PROFIBUS Nutzerorganisation e.V. (PNO).

EDDL is a text-based language for describing the digital communication characteristics of intelligent devices and equipment parameters in an Operating System (OS) and Human-Machine Interface (HMI) neutral environment. The technology enables a Host System manufacturer to create a single engineering environment that can support any device, from any supplier, using any communications protocol, without the need for custom software drivers for each device type.

Major automation equipment suppliers strongly support EDDL in its native form, and have played a key role in enhancing the technology. Siemens Automation & Drives Group and Emerson Process Management, for example, identified EDDL as the basis for future product developments. Siemens and Emerson will leverage the established EDDL technology already in use in millions of field devices worldwide.

The EDDL cooperation project extended the concept of interoperability to the HMI and diagnostic data level with improved visualization and graphical features. Specific enhancements focused on device data organization, graphical visualization consistency, and support for persistent data storage. EDDL technology supports systems today that are backward compatible with the existing base. The recent enhancements will be incorporated into the respective FOUNDATION, HART and Profibus technologies.

Recently, NAMUR, the end user association for chemical/pharmaceutical producers in Germany and other European countries, substantiated the goals of the cooperation project by specifying OS-independent technologies for Electronic Device Descriptions (EDDs). The NAMUR Recommendation NE 105, “Specifications for Integrating Fieldbus Devices in Engineering Tools for Field Devices,” included requirements for investment safety with fieldbus systems. According to NAMUR, end users should not be required to update their OS when integrating new field devices with new Device Descriptions (DDs), nor change DDs when implementing new OS versions. Additionally, OS and DD changes should not be required when updating a device integration tool.

The NAMUR recommendation further addressed possible version conflicts between configuration tools and DDs. It specified that DDs be upward and downward compatible for device integration, and that configuration tools and framework applications also be upward compatible.

Fieldbus Foundation President and CEO Richard Timoney said the NAMUR guidelines are well supported by the use of EDDL in its native form. “NAMUR’s recommendations closely parallel the key benefits of EDDL technology, most notably, platform and protocol independence, and reliable device revision control,” said Mr. Timoney. “EDDL utilizes flat text files that can be read by any operating system. No patches or OS changes are required to read the EDD. Conversely, a change in the operating system does not require a change to the DD.”

He continued, “Because EDDL is an open technology with international standard status, it can be easily and effectively applied to any device and any fieldbus protocol. EDDL enables a host system manufacturer to create a single engineering environment that can support any device, from any supplier, using any communications protocol, without the need for custom software drivers for each device type.”

Mr. Timoney added that EDDL technology enables end users to achieve unsurpassed levels of interoperability. “EDDL provides the freedom to choose best-in-class automation products from the suppliers of your choice, delivers the power to integrate devices to achieve optimum control strategies, and allows easy and efficient system upgrades,” he said. “In addition, it provides consistency and ease of use when developing human interfaces across multiple systems and platforms.”

With EDDL used by millions of installed field instruments, it is the process industry standard for ensuring that information about intelligent field devices is consistently available for use by operators, engineers, and maintenance technicians. The technology was designed to eliminate the need for special, proprietary and operating system specific host application files. For end users, this means the same DD file is used with a large DCS as with a simple handheld configurator. Device developers are no longer required to develop, test and maintain different files to support different host applications. This eliminates the economic barriers for smaller device manufacturers to enter the fieldbus market. End users benefit from access to a wider range of instrumentation choices.

About the Fieldbus Foundation™
The Fieldbus Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation consisting of nearly 350 leading process and manufacturing automation companies worldwide whose major purpose is to provide an open and neutral environment for the development of an international, interoperable fieldbus. In this environment, end users, manufacturers, universities and research organizations are working together to develop the technology, provide development tools, support and training, coordinate field trials and demonstrations, and enable product interoperability. Visit their web site at www.fieldbus.org.

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