Electronic Device Descriptions to be extended into OPC’s Unified Architecture

Austin, TX—The Fieldbus Foundation (FF) reports that the OPC Foundation (OPCF) has joined an international cooperative team of the three leading fieldbus organizations to extend the reach of the trio’s Electronic Device Descriptions (EDDs) into OPCF’s Unified Architecture.


Austin, TX— The Fieldbus Foundation (FF) reports that the OPC Foundation (OPCF) has joined an international cooperative team of the three leading fieldbus organizations—FF, HART Communication Foundation (HCF) and Profibus Nutzerorganisation e.V. (PNO)—to extend the reach of the trio’s Electronic Device Descriptions (EDDs) into OPCF’s Unified Architecture.

In 2003, FF, HCF and PNO formed a cooperative joint working group to extend the capabilities of Electronic Device Description Language (EDDL). An underlying technology in millions of installed field instruments, EDDL is a text-based language for describing the digital communication characteristics of intelligent control devices. Device suppliers use EDDs to provide information on parameters and other data in a device.

The joint working group developed extensions enabling robust organization and graphical visualization of device data, and providing support for persistent data storage, while maintaining operating system (OS) and platform independence. The extensions will be integrated within the respective control network technologies and added to the IEC 61804-2 standard upon completion.

Following their successful collaboration in Phase 1, the joint working group’s members have begun efforts to further extend the open and interoperable EDD standard for delivery of extensive device, control configuration and diagnostic data to

Larry O’Brien, ARC Advisory Group’s analyst, reports that the automation community has long speculated on the role that OPC would play in the context of FOUNDATION fieldbus. “The inclusion of EDD in the OPC framework is a smart move that will enhance interoperability significantly at the system and enterprise level in a truly open fashion that is independent of any operating system architecture,” says O’Brien. “EDD also provides OPC with a technology that is an accepted part of the IEC fieldbus standard and is already embedded in millions of FOUNDATION fieldbus, HART, and Profibus devices and systems that are installed in the field and running today.”

Richard Timoney, FF’s president and CEO, adds that, “Phase 2 of this agreement will continue to enhance the delivery of critical data from the device, and provide a standard and consistent structure for data transport within the OPCF Unified Architecture. The overall effect will be a vastly simplified approach for users to access and distribute performance measurements and process data such as alarms. Users will also take advantage of increased system interoperability and cost-effective control system integration.”

Tom Burke, OPCF’s president, adds that users will benefit most from the interoperability of the OPCF Unified Architecture. “This is the beauty of working with standards like OPC and EDDL. Users can take advantage of open systems, but be assured of connectivity and interoperability among these systems,” says Burke. “Without this standards-based approach, the industry would have to create a community of software developers to support all the different systems, each with a unique set of software drivers and the associated revision management issues that are part and parcel of operating system changes.”

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Jim Montague, news editor

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