PA-DIM Working Group Announces Extensions to Standard

The Process Automation Device Information Model specification aims to improve information standardization for process automation applications.

Kristen Kazarian, Managing Editor

June 11, 2024

2 Min Read
PA-DIM Standard gets revised
Standard expands to support analyzer device types and data modeling extensions, enhancing interoperability for process applications.Urupong/iStock/Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

The co-owners of Process Automation Device Information Model (PA-DIM), including FDT Group, FieldComm Group, ISA 100 WCI, NAMUR, ODVA, OPC Foundation, PROFIBUS and PROFINET International, VDMA, and ZVEI, have released the PA-DIM Version 1.1 specification.

This release includes expanded device-type support for process analyzers and an enhanced basic hierarchy structure with new extensions, benefiting the industrial user and vendor manufacturing community.

The PA-DIM specification aims to improve information standardization for process automation applications. All co-owners work together to support a unified information model that seamlessly integrates OT data exchange with IT systems and other higher-level applications. This model includes core parameters, capabilities, status, and diagnostic data based on the NAMUR Open Architecture (NOA) initiative. It allows users to access and interpret device information consistently, regardless of the fieldbus protocol, device type, or manufacturer, enhancing Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) architectures.

With the new release, the standard has been enhanced to introduce new extensions and features, further empowering users with comprehensive device integration capabilities.

Highlights of the PA-DIM Version 1.1 spec include:

  • Expanded device-type support for process analyzers, including Total Organic Carbon (TOC), Continuous Gas, and pH. This extension broadens the scope of the standard, enabling seamless integration and management of analytical instruments within process automation systems.

  • Enhancement of the basic hierarchy structure to include new extensions such as device condition sets, signal condition sets, and signal calibration. These extensions give users greater flexibility and functionality in representing device information, including attributes such as type, timestamp, and calibrated values.

PA-DIM facilitates various applications, such as:

  • Providing/receiving information to/from HMIs, information apps, and reporting apps.

  • Supporting inventory management and remote monitoring applications.

  • Enabling real-time control applications, such as reading process values and setting parameters.

  • Device configuration and parameterization.

  • Configuring device security and monitoring its current hardening status.

  • Providing information for device dashboards.

"With the release of PA-DIM Version 1.1, we are thrilled to introduce new extensions and features that will further improve interoperability and standardization across the industry, empowering users with harmonized solutions for process instrumentation and process analyzers with field-to-cloud semantic interoperability in context. We believe these new features and extensions hold immense potential for your operations," aid Frank Fengler, ABB and chairperson of the PA-DIM Working Group.

The Process Automation Device Information Model is a specification that defines protocol-agnostic communication of common process automation instrument parameters, including semantic IDs as defined by IEC 61987, using OPC UA information modeling techniques. Eliminating protocol dependencies simplifies the integration of IT and OT systems while enabling a semantic device information approach for unambiguous machine-to-machine (M2M) communication. Seamless communication is achieved through data mapping of fieldbus-specific instrument parameters using the address space defined in the PA-DIM specification.

About the Author(s)

Kristen Kazarian

Managing Editor

Kristen Kazarian has been a writer and editor for more than three decades. She has worked at several consumer magazines and B2B publications in the fields of food and beverage, packaging, processing, women's interest, local news, health and nutrition, fashion and beauty, automotive, and computers.

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