FDI standardizes the integration of field devices into host systems.

Efficient and economically viable device integration requires multiprotocol, standardized technology so that device information can be made available across different manufacturers.

With FDI, a technology has been developed that combines the advantages of FDT® with those of EDDL in a single solution. FDI takes account of the various tasks over the entire lifecycle for both simple and the most complex devices, including configuration, commissioning, diagnosis and calibration.

To learn more about FDI, including its formation, goals, design and development as well as its advantages and benefits  across the plant lifecycle, please review the interactive video.

What is FDI?

FDI Package

The core of FDI Technology is the FDI Package. The FDI Package is a collection of files: The Electronic Device Description (EDD), includes the device definition (Def), business logic (BL) and user interface description (UID). It is based on Electronic Device Description Language (EDDL, IEC 61804-3). The optional user interface plug-in (UIP) offers the advantages of freely programmable user interfaces familiar from FDT®, based on Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF). The device manufacturers define via the FDI Device Package which data, functions and user interfaces are stored on the FDI Server.

The device definition describes the field device data and the internal structure (e.g. blocks). The business logic primarily ensures that the device data remain consistent, e.g. refresh data when unit is changed. The dynamic dependencies, in particular, play a part here, e.g. options and ranges that depend on prior selection of other settings like only show temperature units if temperature value is chosen, or only display custom settings if custom probe is selected. User interface descriptions and user interface plug-ins define the field device user interfaces. Product documentation, protocol-specific files, such as GSD or CFF, etc. will all be added to the FDI Package as attachments.
FDI has defined a single protocol independent encoded file format for the EDD part of the FDI Package.

Benefits of FDI Technology

FDI combines the tried-and-tested concepts of both EDDL and FDT® and thus provides benefits for control system manufacturers, device manufacturers and users.

For control system manufacturers, the client-server architecture simplifies the use of device data and functions in powerful, distributed control systems. In addition, transparent access to device data and functions facilitates the integration of other applications (e.g. connection of MES). Other benefits are clear: the central management of data prevents inconsistencies and the automatic loading of user interfaces by the client means client-side installation is no longer required.

For device manufacturers, FDI reduces effort and saves costs because, in future, only a FDI Device Package has to be created for one device, instead of the current EDD variants and DTM. Another advantage is the scalability of the FDI Device Package. Simple devices get along with a simple device package. By their nature, complex devices require a more complex device package.

An Integrated Development Environment and Standard Host components ensure interoperability and cost efficient development of FDI Device Packages and host systems.

For the customer, the main benefit of FDI lies in the standardized integration of field devices through a future-proof standard that ensures unrestricted interoperability of device packages from a wide variety of device manufacturers.

FDI Specification for Download

FDI Specification
Referenced Specifications

Standard Software Components

Description of FDI Host Components

The interpreter components available today for specific protocols differ significantly in their functional capabilities, quality and behavior towards the host system. They also only support the fieldbus-specific EDD version.

The EDD Engine supports the entire language scope of EDD in a multiprotocol manner, in accordance with IEC 61804-3, and is backward compatible with existing EDD formats.

Device Package development and Test Tools

Description of FDI Integrated Development Environment

To support the devices and system development, as well as increasing the interoperability of FDI products, multiprotocol software tools and standard host components are provided by the fieldbus organizations.
The Integrated Development Environment (IDE) helps device manufacturers create device packages for FF, HART, PROFIBUS and PROFINET devices. Essentially, the tool has four components:

  • EDDs are created with the help of an editor and converted to the encoded file format by means of “tokenizing” (the binary coding of an EDD).
  • The encoded EDD, the UIP developed using Visual Studio, and the attachments are combined to form an FDI Package. 
  • A runtime environment (reference host) runs the FDI Packages for tests and debugging. 
  • The test engine is used to automatically run FDI Package conformance tests.

The FDI Packages that a device manufacturer creates in this manner are certified and registered by Fieldbus Foundation, HART Communication Foundation and PROFIBUS & PROFINET International, together with the respective device hardware.