The Steering Committee of the EDDL Cooperation Team (www.eddl.org), in cooperation with the FDT Group (www.fdtgroup.org), continues efforts to achieve a common solution for field device integration. The FDI (Field Device Integration) team has worked over the past 18 months identifying use cases that encompass all facets of plant operations — from startup and commissioning to ongoing maintenance activities and plant operations. This team’s efforts also included drafting an architecture concept that meets the needs of both technologies as they are migrated to a common standard.

Both the draft architecture concept and the complete inventory of use case analysis have been completed due to the close cooperation between key global process control suppliers including ABB, Emerson, Invensys, Rockwell, Siemens and Yokogawa. Future efforts will be focused on completing two remaining documents. The first is a functional specification, which will detail how EDDL, FDT, and the OPC Unified Architecture will be combined. Release of this draft functional specification is planned for February 2009. The second will be a comprehensive technical specification.

EDDL Cooperation Team (ECT): In 2003, the three leading field device foundations (Fieldbus Foundation, HART Communication Foundation and PROFIBUS Nutzer-organisation) signed a cooperative agreement to develop a common specification for graphical visualization and persistent data storage enabled by Electronic Device Description Language. All three of the organizations utilize EDDs for parameterization and description of their devices. In 2004, OPC joined the cooperation team. With EDDL™, an established IEC standard, it made sense for the OPC specification to base its data structure on that same standard and work with the organizations to develop a standard interface to the Unified Architecture. The four organizations signed an agreement in 2004 to cooperate in the development of that interface.

In April 2006 the FDT Group joined the ECT on the basis of a technical agreement to jointly develop a new common standard for device integration. The Steering Committee is comprised of the presidents of each foundation, plus one representative from each organization’s membership. Hans-Georg Kumpfmüller is chairman of the committee.