As part of its strategic vision, the FDT Group has established collaborative agreements with various automation industry trade associations and user groups. This effort is intended to leverage areas of mutual interest on behalf of control and instrumentation suppliers, end users, system integrators, engineering firms, research organizations, training providers, and other industry participants.
OPC Foundation is an automation industry consortium dedicated to standardizing and promoting (OPC) technology. The OPC standard, first issued in 1996, allows for secure and reliable exchange of data across manufacturing and other enterprises. The OPC Unified Architecture (OPC UA) is a platform-independent, service-oriented architecture that integrates all the functionality of the original OPC specifications into a single, flexible framework. OPC UA extends the capabilities of the original OPC model, Classic OPC, by improving upon security and employing standard web technologies.
An FDT/OPC collaboration project was launched in 2011 with the following objectives:
- Consistent and meaningful device data access for enterprise level applications
- Common device information model
- Availability of full functionality of FDT concepts to OPC UA clients (e.g., field communication)
- Foundation for long-term applicability of combined technologies
- Clear data and service interface definitions
- Platform to enforce the capabilities of modern digital automation devices to satisfy customer needs
- Advanced and future device functionality
Technical collaboration between the FDT Group and OPC Foundation is aimed at ensuring seamless online data exchange between automation systems, asset management systems, and other plant and enterprise systems and applications. This work holds significant value for industrial end users, allowing them to take the best-of-breed data and information models for the applications and devices supported by FDT Technology and leverage the OPC UA information modeling and corresponding services for complete application-to-device integration.
Founded in 1995, ODVA is the Open DeviceNet Vendors Association (ODVA) Inc., a global association that advances open, interoperable information and communication technologies in industrial automation. ODVA recognizes its media independent network protocol, the Common Industrial Protocol or “CIP” — and the network adaptations of CIP – EtherNet/IP, DeviceNet, CompoNet and ControlNet – as its core technology and the primary common interest of its membership.
ODVA and the FDT Group have cooperated on the ability to integrate devices implementing ODVA technologies and standards into the FDT ecosystem for more than 10 years. Their most recent work resulted in a CIP annex to the FDT standard that supports seamless nesting through all of the networks and in combination with any other network supported by the current version of the FDT standard. One of the benefits of the recent enhancements to the FDT standard is that providers of EtherNet/IP products, as well as DeviceNet, ControlNet and CompoNet products, can now supply FDT Device Type Managers™ (DTMs™) to support their products regardless of the FDT/FRAME or network interface cards involved. All of the latest FDT/FRAMES can then immediately support CIP and the network adaptations of CIP.
Field Device Integration (FDI) is a commonly owned technology developed jointly by the Fieldbus Foundation, HART Communication Foundation, OPC Foundation, PROBUS/PROFINET International and FDT Group. From the beginning, the FDI standard was designed to be compatible with FDT Technology. The FDT Group’s approach optimizes the benefits of both technologies to meet the needs of plants employing multiple industrial network protocols across the enterprise.
The FDT Group signed a maintenance agreement with FieldComm Group in 2016 for further maintenance and development of the FDI technology.
The PACTware Consortium e.V. (PWC) was founded to create a platform for distribution of the manufacturer-independent configuration software PACTware. Besides the maintenance and further development of PACTware, a central task of the association is the advancement of FDT Technology.
An agreement with PWC was established in 2006 for consortium review and development purposes. PWC has a seat on the FDT Group Board of Directors and in the Executive Committee.
The Instrumentation Technology and Economy Institute (ITEI) was founded in 1980 based on the research of standards and soft science. From that beginning, it has now become an S&R neutral agency, which focuses on research of basic common technologies and leading-edge technologies, such as measurement, control and automation technologies. ITEI is a state-owned research institute in China.
The FDT Group has established contracts for translating and standardizing FDI IEC standards in China; first in 2009 for FDT 1.2.1 and then in 2014 for FDT2™. The IEC 62453 standard series is the base for Chinese standards. All translation work and technological adjustments in order to become a Chinese standard are matters of subject according to established Chinese standards and are deliverables of the agreements.
CC-Link Partner Association works to bring the CC-Link Ethernet-based integrated network into wider use by sharing with users the latest information and documents related to CC-Link, helping vendors develop CC-Link compatible products, participating in various exhibitions, and by planning and organizing seminars.
An agreement with CLPA was signed in 2010 for supporting an amendment to the FDT Standard for CC-Link technology.
The EtherCAT Technology Group keeps EtherCAT technology open for all potential users. It brings EtherCAT device manufacturers, technology providers, and users together to further the technology.
An agreement with ETG was signed in 2012 for supporting an amendment to the FDT Standard for EtherCAT technology.