Conversion was yesterday – the future is iDTM
What does this mean? What does conversion mean in this respect?
Today every device manufacturer is forced to provide several different integration software products with the instrument. These software products can then be used to review or manipulate the devices‘ parameters and functions with different stand alone or control system integrated tools.
Different EDDs and FDT/DTMs are delivered with the instrument on a CD or provided as a download on the manufacturer website.
These value adding software products have to be developed, right? Since the users expect the integration software to be provided with the instrument free of charge the device manufacturers certainly have an interest to keep the initial and maintenance costs as low as possible.
There are different ways in order to make this happen. The basic message was and will be that the easiest way to safe money is to reuse existing components. And as always: There was a learning curve over time.
Just have a look:
2002 – „Let‘s convert EDDs into DTMs.“
Already 16 years ago CodeWrights offered the conversion of existing EDDs into FDT/DTMs. A smart approach with several advantages…but…also disadvantages. The result was a what we call dtmSTUDIO Classic DTM. Need for function extensions beyond the EDD used for generation? Not an issue at all. The generated source code was simply improved and extended with whatever necessary. A tailored FDT solution that was delivered to the device manufacturers in a single setup. Great. What we learned was that that this approach also has disadvantages:
- Slow time to market due to conversion and software development.
- Comparably high testing effort since the generated code has to be fully tested in order to ensure interoperability.
- Additional code base (additional to EDDL code) that has to be maintained over time.
- New EDDs need to be converted before use. CodeWrights had to get involved (process with medium effort).
- Interoperability risk since no standard software components were available.
2008 – “Let’s pre-integrate EDDs into a software to use them in an FDT Frame Applications.”
To over come some of the drawbacks mentioned above CodeWrights evolved the conversion approach and decided to use standard EDD interpreters during runtime (SDC625 / FF DD-Services) to create FDT/DTMs from exiting binary EDDs for improved interoperability. This approach is called iDTM – interpreter DTM.
The idea is to deliver a single setup including pre-integrated EDDs . Device Manufacturers may order iDTM-EDD in the respective branding with a limited set of own EDDs integrated. The end user will not feel a difference compared to natively developed device DTMs. In addition to the function set provided with the EDD the features can be extended by providing additional iDTM-Apps, also called Modules. Those encapsulate very special device functionalities such as envelope curves, valve signatures or multivariable flow calculations. -> More Information about iDTM-EDD (ME)
System vendors may order a System Edition including the entire set of FieldComm Group registered EDDs. The delivered generic DTM can be branded to the system vendors needs and can only be used in the contracted FDT frames. End users, plant operators use the End User Edition as the multi configuration tool. This edition also comes with pre-integrated FieldComm Group registered, device specific EDDs. A great alternative to e.g. PDM. -> More Informatio about iDTM-EDD (EU)
But guess what. It’s great but we again learned that this approach also has some small drawbacks:
- Slightly delayed time to market due to integration of EDDs into the setup and iDTM-App implementation effort.
- iDTM Platform clone has to be maintained over time.
- New EDDs need to be integrated before use. CodeWrights has to get involved (fast process).
2017 – “Directly use whatever is available to manage your devices with your FDT Frame Application.”
Well, this is the last evolutionary step. With iDTM the end users decide which FDI Device Package or EDD to use directly in any existing FDT Frame (FDT1.2.x and FDT2.x). The device manufacturers are no more forced to deliver FDT/DTMs to their end users. FDI Device Packages or EDDs that are available are sufficient and can now be used in all FDT Frames.
3 simple steps for an end user:
- Register on CodeWrights.de and download iDTM-FDI (Base), the first version of our new integration flagship.
- Install the iDTM. You know how it works, it is just a DTM.
- Import the FDI Packages into iDTM by using the iDTM Manager application (automatically installed with iDTM).
End users download the latest Device Type Library License from CodeWrights.de to learn which device types have already been activated by the device manufacturers for iDTM. If not activated yet, end users should ask the instrumentation vendor for activation and use CodeWrights’ free iDTM wildcard license instead (can be set in iDTM Manager without any other downloads required.
3 simple steps for device manufacturers:
- Decide to safe money – No more implement and maintain any FDT/DTMs any longer.
- Go for a simple solution – Purchase Device Type Licenses on CodeWrights.de.
- Get your DTM – Activate your device type(s) on CodeWrights.de. Activation will be valid for all FDI Packages, EDDs that will ever be released for this device type.
FDT can be that simple. You are ready to go!