Cooperative project advancing support for EDDL technology

The Fieldbus Foundation (FF) reports that it recently added to its agreement with the HART Communication Foundation, Profibus Nutzerorganisation e.V., and OPC Foundation to further develop Electronic Device Description Language (EDDL).


The Fieldbus Foundation (FF) reports that it recently added to its agreement with the HART Communication Foundation, Profibus Nutzerorganisation e.V., and OPC Foundation to further develop Electronic Device Description Language (EDDL). The leading global user groups have formed a joint maintenance team to expand support for EDDL technology enhancements.

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. 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. In early 2004, the EDDL specifications of FF, HART, and Profibus organizations were unified in the International Electrotechnical Commission’s (IEC) 61804-2 international standard. More than 15 million field devices based on EDDL have been installed worldwide.

As a contribution to IEC, the EDDL maintenance team will provide and advance maintenance of Electronic Device Description (EDD) technology. This includes specifying compliance tests and developing a general test procedure. A steering committee consisting of representatives of the four user groups will oversee the project.

Richard Timoney, FF’s president and CEO, says the cooperation project will protect industry investments in EDDL by enabling additional enhancements to the IEC standard. “The Fieldbus Foundation strongly supports the effort to advance IEC 61804-2, which harmonized and extended the contents of the FOUNDATION feldbus, HART, and Profibus EDD specifications,” says Timoney. “The EDDL standard assists suppliers faced with developing intelligent instrumentation that is compatible with multiple protocols. The technology streamlines the device development process and lowers the cost of bringing new products to market.”

Timoney adds that EDDL technology enables end-users to achieve new levels of interoperability and device integration. “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. In addition, it provides consistency and ease of use when developing human interfaces across multiple systems and platforms.”

The original EDDL cooperation project, completed in fall 2004, developed enhancements that have been incorporated into the respective FOUNDATION fieldbus, HART, and Profibus technologies, and they’re now being incorporated into the OPC Foundation’s Unified Architecture specification. These enhancements extended the concept of interoperability to the HMI and diagnostic data level with improved visualization and graphical features .

—Jim Montague, news editor, Control Engineering,

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