ABB comments on role of FDT/DTM and EDDL


Wickliffe, OH — The ongoing debate on the value of FDT/DTM and EDDL for automation industry end users has become more heated. ABB Inc., which has traditionally supported both FDT/DTM and EDDL, issued the following statement on the relationship between these two technologies:

"Recently, there have been negative public statements about FDT/DTM technology. The authors of these statements want their audience to believe that FDT/DTM technology and EDD are competing—mutually exclusive technologies—either you support EDD or you support FDT/DTM," said Mark Taft, senior vice president, Systems Marketing, ABB Inc., and board director for the Fieldbus Foundation. He continued, "This assertion is simply false. In working with customer-owners, ABB understands their high expectations for interoperability and integration of automation systems and intelligent field devices. While progress has been made, their expectations have not been met by any of the current fieldbus standards. These customer-owner needs drove ABB and other like-minded automation and instrumentation companies to develop FDT/DTM technology (as Control Engineering reported, FDT Group held its first formal End-User forum in October 2005).

ABB has also actively participated in and supported the enhanced EDDL cooperation initiatives between Fieldbus Foundation (FF), Hart Communication Foundation (HCF), Profibus Nutzerorganisation (PNO) and the OPC Foundation (OPCF). While these cooperative efforts have taken a first step in addressing customer-owners' needs for a higher level of interoperability and integration, the results still fall short of customer-owners' desire for integration of increasingly sophisticated device applications with automation systems.

Unlike some automation system and instrumentation suppliers, ABB has implemented support for all major field instrumentation integration standards in its automation systems. ABB uses EDDL technologies together with these technologies (Hart, Profibus, Foundation Fieldbus) in its systems to integrate intelligent field devices. Our customer-owners have implemented systems combining these technologies to allow for best-in-class multi-vendor solutions. EDDL provides the support necessary for basic integration and interaction with process instrumentation.

However, customer-owners are increasingly focusing on the utilization of the more complex and sophisticated intelligent field device applications. They require a consistent and rich integration of these applications, meaning they desire the same performance when they buy a field device from one supplier, and the automation system from another, as they receive when they buy the whole package from a single supplier. EDDL solves that problem for the bulk of instruments available on the market today. It does not solve the problem, however for the more sophisticated (and one could argue more valued) applications that have traditionally been performed by stand-alone, or "bolt-on" applications. Examples include Metso's valve diagnostics and partial stroke testing for safety valves, Vega's radar level measurement, Emerson's valve diagnosis software, and ABB's 2600T Multivariable Transmitter configuration wizard. Solutions are also desired for integration of intelligent devices not addressed by EDDL such as electrical equipment including variable speed drives and intelligent motor controllers.

ABB uses FDT/DTM technology to integrate these more sophisticated device applications, when DTMs are available—as is the case for the Metso, Vega, and ABB equipment mentioned above. The FDT standard provides field device suppliers a rich environment to de-velop and then integrate their applications into the context of an automation system that supports DTMs. Moreover, customer-owners who want the freedom to choose devices and systems from different suppliers are able to take advantage of these sophisticated applications, which decreases their life-cycle costs.

The recent controversy—dubbed by some as "fieldbus wars" is very one sided. A couple of vendors have chosen to withhold support for FDT/DTM from their customer-owners. Automation system and field-device supplier-members of the FDT Group have gone on record as supporting both FDT/DTM and EDDL for their customer-owners. The FDT Group has grown to nearly 40 member companies made up of automation and field device suppliers like ABB, Endress & Hauser, Honeywell, Invensys, Metso, Rockwell, Schneider, SMAR, and Yokogawa, and customer-owners like Saudi-Aramco, and Shell.

ABB also has an inclusive strategy. As a member company of all the major fieldbus foundations, including the FDT Group, our active participation in the ongoing development of these standards, aims to ensure that our customer-owners' desire for true interoperability among devices, systems, and applications is met. Therefore we will support both EDDL and FDT/DTM as complementary technologies in our process instrument, control system, and power technology products. We feel strongly that exclusion of either technology would compromise that goal," said Taft.

For more information visit ABB .

— Richard Phelps, senior editor, Control Engineering

No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Learn how to create value with re-use; gain productivity with lean automation and connectivity, and optimize panel design and construction.
Go deep: Automation tackles offshore oil challenges; Ethernet advice; Wireless robotics; Product exclusives; Digital edition exclusives
Lost in the gray scale? How to get effective HMIs; Best practices: Integrate old and new wireless systems; Smart software, networks; Service provider certifications
Fixing PID: Part 2: Tweaking controller strategy; Machine safety networks; Salary survey and career advice; Smart I/O architecture; Product exclusives
The Ask Control Engineering blog covers all aspects of automation, including motors, drives, sensors, motion control, machine control, and embedded systems.
Look at the basics of industrial wireless technologies, wireless concepts, wireless standards, and wireless best practices with Daniel E. Capano of Diversified Technical Services Inc.
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
This is a blog from the trenches – written by engineers who are implementing and upgrading control systems every day across every industry.
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Control Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.