Currently, there are two leading technologies for configuration, parametrization and operation of intelligent field devices which are used in all kind of plants. They are called EDDL and FDT / DTM.

Both have been enhanced and updated in recent years in order to become harmonized and unified by the introduction of FDI. CodeWrights strives to use the best of all three technologies under a simple-to-use product, the iDTM.

EDDL (Electronic Device Description Language). The functionality of a field device is described in a text file (EDD). Various 'host' systems interpret these EDDs in Asset Management Systems for handling of the devices. The Electronic Device Description Language (EDDL) allows the formal description of a field device model consisting of metadata, e.g. device name or firmware revision, the entities and properties of the firmware parameters, their communication access as well as the basic user guidance through menus and formats.
FDT stands for Field Device Tool – this is neither a protocol nor a specific tool – it is a software interface definition. In the past, plant operators regularly had to use many different tools for parametrizing the devices – the choice of vendors was thereby often limited. In order to enable the operation of different devices with different protocols from different manufacturers in a single runtime environment, FDT was developed.

The FDT / DTM technology divides the automation architecture into 3 categories:

  • Software Applications like stand-alone Device Management Tools, Asset Management Tools and DSC systems; often referred to as "FDT frame applications".
  • Device Drivers representing field devices, referred to as "Device DTMs" (DTM = Device Type Manager).
  • Communication Drivers that represent the communication hardware needed for connecting the field device to the automation software, referred to as "Communication or Gateway DTMs".
FDI (Field Device Integration) – brings the advantages of EDD and FDT together, in a way that the description of device functionalities and descriptive user interface elements are implemented with EDD mechanisms. Complex user interfaces and algorithms are provided via FDI User Interface Plug-ins in the host. All components are delivered to the end user as a single file, the FDI Device Package. This simplifies the deployment considerably.

iDTM (interpreter Device Type Manager) is a software product developed by CodeWrights which combines all the above described technologies in a cost-efficient way. The iDTM technology is based on a software platform that builds on the standard DD-Host component SDC625 for the HART and the standard DD-Host components FF-DD-Services for the FF version.

In parallel to the development of the FDI Common Host Components, the iDTM-FDI was developed to directly make use of them.

All our iDTM solutions consume the binary DD files or FDI Device Packages of HART, PROFIBUS (iDTM-FDI only) and FF devices during runtime. A single iDTM carries multiple device types, provided via EDDs or FDI Device Packages. The iDTM is the container for those device management and integration products. EDDs and FDI Device Packages can be periodically upgraded and further device types can be added using the binary DD files of such devices