Field instrument update extends device "smarts"

March 9, 2011
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Enhancements to the Electronic Device Description Language promise to make field instruments using this language much more flexible.

The Fieldbus Foundation welcomed the latest enhancements to Electronic Device Description Language (EDDL), which are incorporated in the second edition of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 61804-3 standard. This technology provides a universal, proven and state-of-the-art method for accessing diagnostic, real-time and asset management information contained in millions of industrial field instruments, while also ensuring optimal data and device interoperability.

The latest enhancements to EDDL include:

  • Support for modular devices, such as I/O subsystems that can be populated with new I/O cards over time without having to upgrade system software
  • Support for offline configuration with default parameter values suggested by the device manufacturer to simplify and speed up device commissioning
  • Support for Unicode character sets to display parameter labels, diagnostics and device manufacturer expert help text in many different languages, including Japanese, Chinese, etc.
  • Ability to display all device diagnostics from different blocks and all setup information on a single page, making devices easier to use and enabling commissioning and maintenance tasks to be completed faster
  • Ability to display information based on prior selections and internal dependencies in the device, only presenting valid options so not to clutter the pages or “wizards” (methods) with irrelevant information or waste the technician’s time by prompting for information that will not be used or options that do not apply, and
  • Ability to display illustrations based on the chosen language. For instance, this could include images with explanatory text conveying know-how from the device manufacturer to assist in the interpretation of advanced diagnostics and guide setup and troubleshooting.

EDDL is a text-based language for describing the digital communication characteristics of intelligent devices and equipment parameters in an operating system (OS) and human machine interface (HMI) neutral environment. EDDL assists engineers during distributed control system (DCS) configuration, technicians during commissioning and maintenance using device configuration software for laptop or handheld field communicators, and operators working at DCS consoles or using intelligent device management software as part of asset management solutions.

For more information about EDDL, visit

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