ISA Forms Field Device Tool (FDT) Interface Specification Standards Committee

  • April 03, 2006
  • News
Research Triangle Park, NC (3 April 2006) - ISA has announced the formation of a FDT Interface Specification standards committee. The committee, ISA SP103, will develop a standard to fully integrate fieldbuses, devices and sub-systems as seamless parts of the automation life-cycle. The main application domains will be industrial process control and manufacturing execution systems."This standard is needed to ensure the consistent management of a plant-wide control and automation technology, focused on life-cycle management," said Klaus-Peter Lindner, Standard and Practices Board Member and interim chair of the committee. A goal of the standard is to create universal and central plant-wide tooling for the life-cycle management of heterogeneous fieldbus environments, multi-vendor devices and sub-systems in process and manufacturing. The standard also aims to develop integrated and consistent life-cycle data of the control system. The committee targets to enact simple but still powerful vendor-independent integration of different automation devices and sub-systems into life-cycle management tools, either stand-alone ones orthose of a control system.The standard will define the interfaces for both the vertical and the horizontal data flow, called Function Control and Data Access, in the framework of a Client-Server architecture. It will allow application software and configuration tools to interact with field devices in a unified way. It will open the manufacturer-specific interaction with devices or sub-systems using software modules. The architecture and interface specification will define the following functions and features:
  • A channel oriented interface for analogue and discrete input and output process variables
  • An interface for device or sub-system parameters and diagnosis data
  • An interface for persistent data storage of all instance data
  • A communication interface which allows nested communication over different bus systems
  • A session model which defines the interaction between the software components and the host application using XML based data exchangeThe standard will allow any field bus, device or sub-system specific software tool to be integrated as part of a universal life-cycle management tool of a plant automation system. "As part of ISA's commitment to the development of global standards for industry, the committee will also be working with and attempting to harmonize their end products with the work of IEC SC65C WG14 (Field Device Tool)," noted Ian Verhappen, ISA VP of Standards and Practices. For more information about ISA SP103 or any of ISA's standards committees, please visit us online at About ISAFounded in 1945, ISA ( is a leading, global, nonprofit organization that is setting the standard for automation by helping over 30,000 worldwide members and other professionals solve difficult technical problems, while enhancing their leadership and personal career capabilities. Based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, ISA develops standards; certifies industry professionals; provides education and training; publishes books and technical articles; and hosts the largest conference and exhibition for automation professionals in the Western Hemisphere.

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