As reported in the Sound OFF! Editors’ Blog, the ISA issued a press release announced that the ISA-SP104 committee has completed adoption of EDDL as an ANSI standard specified by IEC 61804. It is now: ANSI/ISA-61804-3 (1004.00.01)-2007, Function Blocks (FB) for Process Control – Part 3: Electronic Device Description Language (EDDL).
So if you are an automation engineer you might ask… so what? I have attempted to address this “so what?” question in prior posts, but it is something I will try again in my quest to simplify in my mind–if not yours.
The best way I can think of it is a text-based file that is associated with your smart Foundation fieldbus, HART, or some of your PROFIBUS devices in your plant. This text-based file presents its operation, diagnostic, performance analysis, operating statistics, calibration and other information in a standard, globally agreed upon way. Applications like your control system, asset management software and handheld devices that support this standard can present the information to you in a standard, intuitive way.
The analogy I have used in the past is the Really Simple Syndication (RSS) standard for publishing and consuming information across the web. Like the smart field devices, web news feeds, blogs, and other RSS-enabled content provide their information in this agreed upon global data standard. You can use RSS readers like my favorite, Google Reader, to read the information to which you choose to subscribe.
Continuing the analogy, your RSS reader presents this information to you in a common way–the look, the fonts, the shortcut keys, etc. The content can come from different suppliers’ web servers, be on different operating systems, and even run with different software applications that create these standards-based RSS files.
Likewise, your application that understands the global EDDL standard (like Emerson’s AMS Device Manager and 375 Field Communicator) can present the information from various smart field devices, from different suppliers, and even running different digital communications protocols. As ISA-SP104 Committee Chair (and fellow blogger), Terry Blevins said in the release:
Using tools based on EDDL can mean faster device commissioning and loop checkout, as well as reduced field trips and the elimination of unnecessary maintenance.
In an earlier post, I had mentioned the ISA-SP104 committee had established an EDDL.ORG site as an educational site. The committee has been hard at work creating educational information including basic information, participating organizations in this standard, and other news, events, and technical resources.
And, as reported this past April, the EDDL team and another smart device-based standard, FDT Group, agreed to combine efforts and work toward a unified solution for device integration that is compatible with both technologies. ARC Advisory Group sums up this collaborative effort well:
ARC applauds the collaboration efforts of the parties involved. The actions of this group will be remembered as the tipping point where practical common standards for field device integration were founded. Working toward the singular goal of easy equipment configuration and management will provide more value than anyone could have imagined.