Fieldbus interoperability test kit

Austin, TX—Fieldbus Foundation (FF) has released its enhanced Interoperability Test Kit (ITK) version 4.61.

By Control Engineering Staff August 16, 2005

Austin, TX— Fieldbus Foundation (FF) has released its enhanced Interoperability Test Kit (ITK) version 4.61. The test kit has been updated with added functions that expand the scope of interoperability testing to benefit end-users of FOUNDATION fieldbus devices.

ITK 4.61 test kit verifies the functionality of a device with FOUNDATION fieldbus function block specifications. FF says the kit is an excellent tool for troubleshooting and debugging devices, and that it includes all hardware and software required to ensure complete device interoperability as specified by the foundation’s official registration testing procedure. ITK 4.61 maintenance release also includes minor bug fixes, expands support for additional hardware interfaces, and enhances ITK Automation Toolkit interoperability.

Stephen Mitschke, FF’s fieldbus products manager, says ITK 4.61 is the foundation’s latest resource for testing and verifying the interoperability of multi-vendor fieldbus systems. “ITK 4.61 is the most powerful FOUNDATION fieldbus test kit available in the automation industry. Implementation of this tool provides assurance that fieldbus devices are completely interoperable and able to deliver the full, robust functionality of the FOUNDATION protocol.

Developed by the Fraunhofer Institute, located in Karlsruhe, Germany, the foundation’s ITK testing tool consists of a test engine, communication stack, and function block interface card. The ITK test engine executes more than 400 test cases that exercise the device implementation. The tester also includes a device description (DD) viewer that allows examination and verification of a device’s DD, and a conformance test procedure for the physical layer.

As additional standard function blocks become available, ITK will be upgraded with new test cases to verify these expanded implementations. As an internationally recognized expert in communication and network testing software, Fraunhofer designed the ITK to verify a unique aspect of FOUNDATION fieldbus that makes device interoperability possible—standard function blocks. For a device to pass interoperability testing, it must contain an FF-registered communication “stack” that has passed conformance tests.

Most recently, the interoperability test suite was enhanced with an ITK automation tool to eliminate several manual intervention steps required when performing pre-registration testing of fieldbus devices. The tool improves ITK schedule efficiency and provides a direct reduction in the person-hours needed to complete the testing phase.

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Control Engineering staff