Fieldbus Foundation, OPC to cooperate

Microsoft-focused process control standard OPC and Fieldbus are to offer ‘unified architecture.’

The OPC Foundation (OPCF) has joined with the Foundation Fieldbus organization to provide a common, ‘unified architecture’ for open data exchange based on the IEC 61804-2 device description language. The OPCF joins the three existing IEC signatories, Fieldbus, Profibus and Hart Foundations to ‘extend the reach’ of electronic device description (EDD) into OPCF’s architecture.


Electronic Device Description Language (EDDL), a text-based language for describing the digital communication characteristics of intelligent control devices, underpins millions of installed field instruments. Device suppliers use EDDs to provide information on parameters and other data in a device.

Platform independent

The working group has developed extensions enabling robust organization and graphical visualization of device data, and provided support for platform independent, persistent data storage. When finalized, the extensions will be integrated within the respective control network technologies and added to the IEC 61804-2 standard.


OPC originally leveraged Microsoft’s OLE technology, but has since evolved through COM, DCOM and latterly .NET. It remains a primarily Microsoft-based specification. Signing up to Fieldbus means that OPC will be able to integrate non-OPC devices and vice-versa.


Fieldbus president Richard Timoney said, ‘This agreement will result in a vastly simplified approach for users to access and distribute performance measurements and process data such as alarms. Users will also take advantage of increased system interoperability and cost-effective control system integration.’


OPCF president Tom Burke added, ‘By working with standards like OPC and EDDL, users can take advantage of open systems and be assured of connectivity and interoperability.’

Click here to comment on this article

Click here to view this article in context on a desktop

© Oil IT Journal - all rights reserved.