Fieldbus Foundation Releases Updated Interoperability Test Kit


HI ITK 5.0 allows testing with new 5.0 Device Description (DD) files

AUSTIN, Texas, Mar. 23, 2006 The Fieldbus Foundation today announced the
release of its enhanced H1 Interoperability Test Kit (ITK) 5.0 version. The
test kit has been updated from previous versions with additional
functionality enabling the testing of FOUNDATION field bus(TM) devices
employing current Device Description (DD) 5.0 files.

The Fieldbus Foundation's ITK 5.0 test kit verifies the functionality of an
H1 (31.25 kbit/s) device and its conformity with the FOUNDATION fieldbus
Function Block and Transducer Block specifications. An excellent tool for
troubleshooting and debugging devices, the test kit includes all hardware
and software required to ensure a manufacturer's complete device
interoperability as specified by the foundation's official registration
testing procedure.

By using the H1 ITK 5.0, device developers can run tests identical to those
used by the Fieldbus Foundation before submitting their device for official
registration.

The ITK test kit has been updated from previous versions with additional
functionality expanding the scope of interoperability testing to benefit end
users of FOUNDATION fieldbus devices. The following test cases, including
two new features, have been added/modified: multi-bit alarm testing now
tests for both single and multi-bit alarms, which provides for more thorough
testing; block instantiation as specified in the capabilities file has been
added, insuring interoperability on a FOUNDATION fieldbus network when a
block is instantiated; and testing for valid/invalid behavior during common
software download has been added, to insure interoperability when
downloading software/firmware to a device via a FOUNDATION fieldbus network.

According to the Fieldbus Foundation's product manager-fieldbus products,
Stephen Mitschke, the H1 ITK 5.0 test tool is a valuable solution enabling
automation equipment suppliers to streamline their preparations for fieldbus
device registration. He said, "The updated ITK includes expanded
capabilities that allow testing of devices with DD 5.0 files. These DDs
include powerful new features focusing on device data organization,
graphical visualization consistency, and support for persistent data
storage."

Mitschke continued, "Today, at large plants with thousands of field devices,
maintenance technicians must upgrade each device individually using
vendor-specific tools. The ITK 5.0 enhanced common software download
features allow instrument suppliers to update their device firmware 'over
the wire.' Devices can be updated without the need for a technician to go
to each device and update a firmware chip or attach a custom upgrade cable.
Upgrades enable suppliers to add additional diagnostic capabilities in order
to 'future-proof' their existing devices."

Developed by the Fraunhofer Institute, the Fieldbus Foundation's ITK testing
tool consists of a test engine, communication stack and Function Block
interface card. The ITK test engine executes a set of over 400 test cases
that exercise the device implementation. The tester also includes a DD
"Super Viewer" that allows examination and verification of a device's DD,
and a conformance test procedure for the Physical Layer. The DD Super
Viewer was been enhanced to support validation of existing DDs and the new
DD 5.0 format. Device developers can walk their DD, execute methods and
render the new visualization elements supported by the new DD 5.0
technology. As additional standard Function Blocks become available, the
ITK will be upgraded with new test cases to verify these expanded
implementations.

Most recently, the interoperability test suite was enhanced with an ITK
Automation Tool designed to eliminate several manual intervention steps
required when performing pre-registration testing of fieldbus devices. The
tool improves ITK schedule efficiency and provides a direct reduction in the
person-hours needed to complete the testing phase.

Fraunhofer, an internationally-recognized expert in communication and
network testing software based in Karlsruhe, Germany, designed the ITK to
verify a unique aspect of FOUNDATION fieldbus that makes device
interoperability possible: standard Function Blocks.

In order for a device to pass interoperability testing, it must contain a
Fieldbus Foundation-registered communication "stack" that has passed
conformance tests.

For more information about the H1 ITK 5.0 test kit, contact Maggie Carlson,
Fieldbus Foundation, at (512) 794-8890, Ext. 21, or e-mail
maggie.carlson@fieldbus.org.

About the Fieldbus Foundation(TM)

The Fieldbus Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation consisting of over
350 leading process and manufacturing automation companies worldwide whose
major purpose is to provide an open and neutral environment for the
development of an international, interoperable fieldbus. In this
environment, end users, manufacturers, universities and research
organizations are working together to develop the technology, provide
development tools, support and training, coordinate field trials and
demonstrations, and enable product interoperability. Visit their web site
at www.fieldbus.org.

Rich Timoney
Fieldbus Foundation
Tel: +1 512.794.8890
rich.timoney@fieldbus.org
sue.fielder@fieldbus.org

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