ISA SP104 gains support


The Fieldbus Foundation recently announced its support for an ISA committee creating a harmonized version of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 61804-3 international standard on Electronic Device Description Language (EDDL). The ISA SP104 committee will republish the IEC standard as an American National Standard Institute (ANSI) standard.

EDDL is a text-based language for describing the digital communication characteristics of intelligent devices and equipment parameters in an Operating System (OS) and Human Machine Interface (HMI)-neutral environment. EDDL enables a host system manufacturer to create a single engineering environment that eliminates the need for custom software drivers for each device type.

The ISA SP104 committee will create a national standard adopting the generic language specified by IEC 61804 to describe the properties of automation system components. The specified language is capable of describing device parameters and their dependencies, device functions, graphical representations, and interactions with control devices.

"End users are continually asking for better integration, interoperability and even greater ease of use,” said Martin Zielinski, the Fieldbus Foundation’s vice-president of standards. “In doing so, robust implementation must also be a number-one priority. The foundation is focusing its resources on enhancement and standardization of EDDL. We are collaborating with the HART Communication Foundation, PROFIBUS Nutzerorganisation e.V., OPC Foundation and the IEC to speed enhancement and standardization of this established technology toward the goal of an ever-strengthening User Interface. The objective is to increase interoperability by enhancing EDDL to improve device integration and ease of use, independent of the manufacturer."

"The SP104 committee will create a standard that adopts the IEC 61804 EDDL,” said Terry Blevins, SP104 committee chairman. “Modern control systems support advanced visualization of intelligent devices that are documented using EDDL."

In 2003, the Fieldbus Foundation, HART Communication Foundation and PROFIBUS Nutzerorganisation e.V. formed a cooperative joint working group to extend the capabilities of Electronic Device Description (EDD) technology. The working group developed extensions enabling robust organization and graphical visualization of device data, and providing support for persistent data storage. The extensions were made available to all three organizations to integrate within their respective control network protocols.

Device developers implementing EDDL do not need to deal with the burden of designing and programming a graphic display system to run under a variety of platforms and environments, from large HMIs to small handhelds. Instead, they can use common graphic display capabilities provided by the standard. Since many host systems today already implement EDDL-based graphic display systems, devices using the extended EDDL have a common look and feel with existing devices. This permits uniform integration, configuration/setup, operation and diagnostics/maintenance‹all very important in an interoperable, multi-vendor environment.

EDDL's operating system and platform independence also eliminates the need for special "plug-in" executable code that is costly to develop and can jeopardize the host

Additionally, EDDL enables end users to achieve unsurpassed levels of interoperability and device integration. It provides the freedom to choose "best-in-class" automation products from multiple suppliers, delivers the power to integrate devices to achieve optimum control strategies, and allows easy and efficient system upgrades.

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