FDT – Field Device Tool
FDT standardizes an interface for communication between field devices on one side and Microsoft Windows-based host systems on the other for the configuration and management of field devices. Thus, FDT offers a common environment for accessing device specific data including the most special device functions. The commissioning, operation, maintenance, and repair, as far as this is possible via software, can be done via a standardized user interface that is independent of the manufacturer, type or communication protocol.
Since 2001, Thorsis Technologies has been involved in the development of standards and so we were early able to acquire an extensive technical expertise. Furthermore, the Thorsis Technologies GmbH is a member of the FDT Group, of the Pactware Consortium and was also involved in the development of FDT testing and certification tool.
In summary, one can say, FDT is an open technology, which allows the user easy access to all the information of their automation devices and to evaluate this information.
FDT-Interface – is the specification describing the standardized data exchange between devices and the control system and the engineering and asset management tools. In Version 1, this definition is based on the Microsoft COM technology. With the current version 2, a change in technology to Microsoft .NET was completed.
DTM – the Device Type Manager is the implementation of the device-specific functionality for a field device, a field bus connection or a fieldbus gateway. A DTM represents the abilities of the field device in software at the user level via the ‘Device Model’. It provides interfaces for the user to apply this functionality for engineering, operation and other tasks such as asset management.
Frame Application – The FDT frame application is the software program for the integration of DTMs from different manufacturers and with different communication links. The FDT frame application provides the following functionalities in general:
- user administration
- data management
- network configuration
In addition to the above features, the FDT frame application is characterized by a common, unified environment for heterogeneous systems in automation.
Another important point that speaks for the FDT technology is the way to certification. Since DTM and frame application are being developed independently of one another, an interaction can only work if strict adherence to the interfaces is guaranteed. The FDT Group has established a process which ensures high quality and interoperability of FDT-based products. In addition to regular interoperability workshops both DTMs and FDT frame applications can be tested on a standardized test. For certification this test must be performed in an accredited testing laboratory, in which the observance of high quality standards is ensured by regular audits of the testing laboratories.