22 Jul 2024

AUTOMATION FOR MANUFACTURING

FDT group targets factory automation

FDT group targets factory automation

The FDT Group, which is developing an open interface for integrating field devices with automation and asset management systems, has set up a working group to implement FDT technology in products for factory automation and machine-building applications.

Until now the 53-member Group has focussed mainly on process applications. The new initiative is aimed at balancing the needs of process and factory automation, especially in view of the growing number of hybrid installations that combine elements of both forms of automation.

The new working group is being led by Omron and its members include representatives from Bosch Rexroth, Pepperl+Fuchs, Phoenix Contact, Schneider Electric, Sick, Turck and Wago. All of these companies have committed themselves to launching FDT-based products, with drives, safety and IO-Link technologies being earmarked as priority areas. The group is trying to recruit more drives suppliers to become members.

The FDT (Field Device Tool) technology standardises a communication interface between field devices and systems. It is independent of the communication protocol and the software environment of both the device and the host system. FDT is intended to allow any device to be accessed, from any host, using any protocol.

The IEC has recently release the FDT specification as a PAS (publicly available specification). A full standard is expected to be published in late 2008.

The FDT Joint Interest Group was founded in early 2003 by ABB, Endress+Hauser, Invensys, Metso and Siemens. Last year, it reorganised as an independent, non-profit organisation, based in Belgium.