FieldComm Group's Key Announcements at ACHEMA 2022
August 22-26, 2022 • Frankfurt, Germany • Hall 11, Stand E14

FieldComm Group Members:

We are pleased to be back at the live ACHEMA fair in 2022! We have much to catch up on and are particularly excited to report on a couple of key announcements which are the fruit of our labor over the past couple years. All involve collaborating around key FCG technologies:
PA-DIM® broadens adoption
We are announcing plans to expand the ownership of the Process Automation Device Information Model (PA-DIM) specification. As FCG members are aware, the PA-DIM specification has been released and is now in the phase of finishing up the second version. Work has been performed in our FieldComm Group WG as a “Project Group” with participation by other SDOs and aligned with NAMUR to meet NOA requirements and include core parameters. To support the project longer-term and drive adoption, the Project Group, which is intended for a defined duration, has been upgraded to a Working Group which will be led by Frank Fengler of ABB.
Further, the ownership of the standard is planned to be expanded beyond FieldComm Group and OPCF to further include: NAMUR, ODVA, PNO, VDMA, WCI (ISA100), and ZVEI.
The ownership of the specification by these organizations will enable them to align their technologies around the standard and enable their members to participate in the working group hosted at FCG to build upon this standard to meet process automation use cases and requirements. 
FCG continues to drive cooperation by our SDO peers for the benefit of the industry… the industry needs broader adoption of standards, not just more standards! In addition to this cooperation which is a key tenant of FCG’s strategy for digitalization, this cooperation will be the first of a kind for us that includes an end user organization, which will serve to ensure the standard is synchronized with user requirements.

The alignment around PA-DIM serves the industry in creation of a single information model compatible for devices from our existing installed base (via FDI) and devices of the future direct-to-cloud and delivers a common data model to host and cloud applications. It will help bridge the gap between IT and OT data sources and provide machine-readable semantics to drive the value of data from field devices. We are excited to see this standard developed at FCG from birth to adoption by end users in just a few years and working hard to see if proliferated across all FCG technologies.
NexGen and OPC UA Field eXchange combine
We are also pleased to announce that FieldComm Group and OPC Foundation have signed a formal agreement to combine forces for the development of the field device of the future using native OPC UA running on the Ethernet-APL physical layer. This combines FCG’s NexGen project with the Field Level Communication (FLC) initiative within the OPC Foundation that is developing OPC UA Field eXchange (OPC UA FX) technology such that we can work together on a single standard for the industry meeting process automation requirements.
This comes at a good inflection point for FCG’s NexGen project as the team has completed the system architecture specification and other specifications for process automation use cases. Now this work can be leveraged within the FLC structure with participation by both FCG and OPCF members. We commend the participants of the FCG NexGen working group on an outstanding job delivering a set of specifications to build the basis for this new and exciting technology. In fact, the chairperson and editor of this working group (Shanthala Kamath, ABB and Mark Nixon, Emerson) will continue to lead the effort as chair/co-chair in the new “Instrumentation Working Group” within the FLC. This will ensure continuity and help both organizations by combining the efforts of the former NexGen project with FLC’s OPC UA FX.  

For the future, FCG will continue to drive the compatibility with this solution and other PA needs such as FDI, PA-DIM and other FCG technologies in various WGs within FCG. We will also provide full support of testing and registration of such devices for our members and process market.

The agreement between FCG and OPCF is beneficial to both organizations in improving efficiency and alignment of the next generation field device. It will benefit the process industry by accelerating a single harmonized technology and driving its adoption by meeting use cases and requirements developed by our member process experts.

Below are the links to the news releases on the above topics:

PA-DIM® broadens adoption
NexGen and OPC UA Field eXchange combine

 Thank you for your continued support and we encourage your participation in these working groups critical to the future of digitalization of the process automation market!