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2002 : Description Mechanisms Supporting the Configuration and Management of TTP/A Fieldbus Systems

Stefan Pitzek

Modern fieldbus networks, which are based on advanced microcontroller technology, come with a host of advantages. They provide intelligence at the field device level and the processing power for digital communication over a robust shared digital communication line, thus significantly reducing hardware expenses. These advantages come at the cost that traditional solutions for the configuration and management of field devices cannot cope anymore with the inherently more complex modern fieldbus devices. To alleviate this situation the role of advanced support frameworks that can deal with this complexity is becoming increasingly important.

Starting with an analysis of the state-of-the-art of configuration and management frameworks of fieldbus protocols in industrial use, this thesis defines description mechanisms as part of a general high-level configuration and management framework for TTP/A fieldbus systems. The proposed formats are the smart transducer description (STD) and the cluster con- figuration description (CCD), which primarily focus on the configuration aspect of the framework. The descriptions themselves are represented with the extensible markuplanguage (XML) and their structure defined with XML schemas.

As a case study application the properties of the smart car, an autonomous mobile robot, are modelled using the introduced description mechanisms. Furthermore, in order to prove the applicability of the descriptions in conjunction with software tools, two applications are implemented that utilize the descriptions and communicate with each other and the TTP/A cluster via CORBA. The first tool is a CORBA server that holds static smart transducer descriptions and the second tool (the configuration and planning tool ) visualizes and assists the user in creating and modifying cluster communication schedules for TTP/A.

The experiences gained in the case study show that complex configuration and maintenance tasks for the TTP/A fieldbus can be well supported by the combination of support tools and the presented XML descriptions.

@mastersthesis{ pitzek:2002,
  author =      "Stefan Pitzek",
  title =       "Description Mechanisms Supporting the Configuration and Management of TTP/A Fieldbus Systems",
  address =     "Treitlstr. 3/3/182-1, 1040 Vienna, Austria",
  school =      "Technische Universit{\"a}t Wien, Institut f{\"u}r Technische Informatik",
  year =        "2002"
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