New tool-calling interface via PLCs

By Control Engineering Staff February 2, 2006

Discrete industries will get a tool-calling network interface for PLCs. Process industry requirements for unified operating tools have existed for many years. Namur , the German user association of chemical and pharmaceutical industries, has set forth these requirements in NE 105. FDT Group offers the unified tools for these markets its specification 1.2.1.

To support the unified idea, Profibus Nutzerorganisation e.V., an FDT Group member, will define an interface for calling device operating tools out of a PLC programming tool named “Tool Calling Interface” (TCI), complementary to existing FDT and EDDL technologies. FDT Group says it has embraced segmentation with TCI, to allow a unified and simple integration of existing tools in factory automation without diminishing functionality. Historically, most tools in factory automation are proprietary, FDT Group says. However users need to be able to call upon them via PLC programming systems. Intelligent drives and flexible components for safety engineering are using tools not integrated with PLC programming. In this area, protecting existing investment is the highest priority. Thus, a short-term migration strategy is necessary, to allow easier linking of tools to PLC programming systems. Consequently, there is no competing situation for FDT, according to FDT Group.

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— Richard Phelps, senior editor, Control Engineering