Engineering processes of technical systems and their embedded automation systems have to be executed with increasing efficiency and quality. Especially since the project duration tends to increase as the complexity of the engineered system increases. To solve this problem, the engineering process is more often being executed by exploiting software based engineering tools exchanging engineering information and artefacts along the engineering process related tool chain.
Communication systems establish an important part of modern technical systems and, especially, of automation systems embedded within them. Following the increasing decentralisation of automation systems and the application of fieldbus and Ethernet technology connecting automation devices and further interacting entities have to fulfil special requirements on communication quality, safety and security. Thus, within the engineering process of modern technical systems, engineering information and artefacts relating to communication systems also have to be exchanged along the engineering process tool chain.
In each phase of the engineering process of technical systems, communication system related information can be created which can be consumed in later engineering phases. A typical application case is the creation of configuration information for communication components of automation devices including communication addresses and communication package structuring within controller programming devices during the control programming phase and its use in a device configuration tool. Another typical application case is the transmission of communication device configurations to virtual commissioning tools, to documentation tools, or to diagnosis tools.
At present, the consistent and lossless transfer of communication system engineering information along the complete engineering chain of technical systems is unsolved. While user organisations and companies have provided data exchange formats for parts of the relevant information like FDCML, EDDL, and GSD the above named application cases cannot be covered by a data exchange format. Notably the networking related information describing communication relations and their properties and qualities cannot be modelled by a data exchange format.