Siemens-FDI Cooperation, new FDI style guide

FDI Cooperation announced the first public release of the FDI Usability Style Guide and a preview release of the Field Device Integration (FDI) developer toolkit, which together, will make it possible for automation suppliers to prepare for developing FDI-compatible products and host systems. The announcements were made at the 2014 ARC Forum.


Stephen B. Mitschke, director of Fieldbus products, Fieldbus Foundation, prepares a demonstration showing the FDI Integrated Development Environment. He announced the FDI Usability Style Guide at the ARC Forum, Feb. 10.The FDI Cooperation LLC announced its new FDI Usability Style Guide. Here are some notes from the 2014 ARC Forum new product press conference:

  • The FDI Usability Style Guide was developed so that device packages look the same, which is a strong end-user requirement.
  • Standard software components enhance interoperability to ensure device package can be executed. UI Engine allows it to be used across protocols. The FDI IDE includes an EDD Editor, tokenizer, reference host, and sample device packages.
  • The demonstration from Steve Mitschke, director of fieldbus products, Fieldbus Foundation, showed the integration of a HART Communication Foundation device from Emerson, a PI device from Siemens, and FF device from ABB, using the FDI framework.
  • Foundation fieldbus, HCF, and Profibus PA networks are integrated with the FDI software.
  • Integration and scaling are important for end users.
  • FDI uses an open-source platform called Eclipse to create device descriptions (DDs). Context oriented menus help with organization. The new thing with FDI is the device package, the key driver supplied by vendor to allow FDI integration. Other documents may be incorporated. Manual, certification, and other documentation can be incorporated in the FDI package. It’s made easier for device suppliers with forms in the software. This file incorporates disparate file structures from the three networks. Two key points: (1) FDI has a well-defined upgrade policy. (2) Security is closely defined with certificates that are validated.
  • Demonstration showed loading the package. Screen and device settings are standard across all three devices, three vendors, three networks, showing configuration, diagnostics, and process variables. 
  • Tools are available on the FDI site to test. 

Here are some notes about the new Field Device Integration (FDI) toolkit:

  • ABB, Siemens, and the Fieldbus Foundation representatives spoke of the capabilities of Field Device Integration (FDI). Industry members and organizations founded the FDI initiative in 2009. Organizations included HART Communication Foundation, Profibus, and the OPC Foundation.
  • EDDL and FDT each have their advantages and disadvantages, and FDI combines the best elements from each.
  • Developers are currently working on an IEC specification.
  • The beta release is forthcoming. FDI specification has been available on the FDI site since fall 2013. 

Return to the ARC product press conference summary.

- Mark T. Hoske and Jordan M. Schultz, content managers CFE Media, Control Engineering, and Plant Engineering, m,

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