I was in Newark with Manny two weeks ago for the PROFIBUS in the Process Industries one-day training class. We’ve been doing these classes for over 7 years now and it is amazing that we still get new questions. In Newark we got a couple misconceptions that need to be addressed. One attendee could not understand why exceeding the bend radius of a PROFIBUS cable would cause communications problems. It started with Torsten’s anecdote about the coil of PROFIBUS cable that was visible to a manager. He didn’t like the looks of it so instructed maintenance to fix it. Rather than cut and reconnect the cable, they crimped it; that is, they flattened the coil, tightly tie-wrapped it, and stuffed it into the wire duct. This caused the network to stop working. The cable has requirements for resistance, inductance, and capacitance to avoid degrading the signal. When the cable’s minimum bending radius is exceeded, those characteristics change. In this case, they changed so drastically that the network stopped working. Something like 80% of network problems are related to improper installation. Sadly, this is true for ANY communication network. There’s a “right” way to make the installation look good… and keep working. For PROFIBUS and PROFINET, we offer Installation Guides so you can do it right. The PROFI Interface Center also offers one-day, on-site installation and troubleshooting classes.
On a Course Evaluation form, one attendee thought that you had to use a single platform to get any benefit from asset management and that it was a large investment. Well, it IS an investment. But like any investment you expect a return on it. The return you get on an investment in asset management is uptime. Depending on the cost of your downtime, this could be a huge return. PROFIBUS does not “do” Asset Management – it “enables” Asset Management by providing access to the kind of information that Asset Management software can use. There are two technologies for providing this – EDDL and FDT/DTM. We support both. We are also working to unify the technologies in cooperation with Fieldbus Foundation and HART Communication Foundation.
For more about the technologies, Gary Mintchell (famous Automation World blogger) has a podcast devoted to each: EDDL and FDT/DTM. Jim Cahill had a post today at Emerson Process Experts on the topic as well.
Oh, and that “limited to a single platform” notion – not correct. PROFIBUS and PROFINET support for asset management is massively multi-vendor.
Other comments from the Course Evaluations:
“More on FDT/DTM and EDDL.” [See resources above.]
“Very thorough course.”
“More quiz questions.” [We decided this year to summarize each section using a quiz instead of PowerPoint bullets. Apparently that was a good idea.]
“Very good information. Would like to see a PROFINET seminar.” [We would like everyone to see one. You’ll find a list of them here. If we are not coming to a city close to you, try the archived webinars instead.]
Speaking of PROFINET seminars, our next PROFINET one-day training class is in Vancouver on June 2. I’ll be there. Manny will be in Grand Rapids on that same day for a PROFIBUS one-day training class. See you there?