See EDDL in Action at ISA Expo 2007

For those attending the ISA Expo 2007 this week in Houston, Texas, there is quite a number of Emerson experts presenting papers. Topics being presented include: safety, analyzer integration, statistical analysis, EDDL, wireless, applied Foundation fieldbus, project justification, building automation, mesh networks, and predictive maintenance.

I’ll be coming in to listen in on some of these and meet with some members from our automation blogging community.

I had a chance to catch up with ModelingAndControl.com’s Terry Blevins who will be co-presenting, Keeping Systems and Communicators Up-to-date using EDDL. Here’s a quick preview if this standard is something you want to learn more about. Terry also chairs the ISA104 committee that is working to advance this standard.

This tutorial explores the history of the Electronic Device Description Language (EDDL) developments, how the technology works, the benefits of the approach taken, recent advancements, how systems and communicators are changing because of these advancements, and demonstrations. EDDL, or IEC 61804-3, is an international standard and is endorsed by four major interoperability foundations: Fieldbus Foundation, HART Communications Foundation, Profibus Nutzerorganisation e.V (PNO), and the OPC Foundation.

EDDL is a text-based language that is used to describe the characteristics of field devices. Following the EDDL standard, device suppliers create Electronic Device Description (EDD) files for their smart field devices. These files provide a standardized form and structure for automation systems and handheld communicators to access and display information, independent of communication protocol or operating system.

The goal of this technology is to provide an interoperable environment where automation systems and handheld communicators for the purpose of configuration, calibration, diagnostics, and operating data and alarms for display can access information available in smart field sensors and actuators. There are more than twenty million smart devices installed in the world that have EDDs. These first began to appear in the early 1990s in HART devices, and was adopted into the Foundation fieldbus and Profibus standards in 1994. The EDDL.org site provides much more on the history and activities in the advancement of this standard.

Recent enhancements to the standard include better parameter organization, support for charts, graphs help better visualize the information in the smart field devices, and persistent data storage to convey historical information. These enhancements were approved in 2006 as a part of the IEC 61804-3 maintenance cycle.

The next phase of enhancements includes additional support for devices connect to the process including the ability to pass procedures like device setup and maintenance. Other enhancements include increase data access to databases and lookup tables, extended product information access, OPC UA information model, and support for modular devices.

The common threads through the demonstration of EDDL in action is the versatility in support from simple to very complex field devices, the independences of operating systems and control platforms, the common look and feel from an information visualization standpoint, and the ability to add devices on the fly without affecting the running automation system.

The ISA104 committee is meeting at the ISA Expo, so stop by to speak with Terry and the committee members at booth 1356 to find out more first hand.

Posted Monday, October 1st, 2007 under Foundation Fieldbus, Interoperability, Profibus, Technologies.

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