Hanover Fair 2008: Even more news

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The final new press release from the PI press conference covered new white papers.  [From O’Hare airport in Chicago, between flights.]

The news: PI publishes two new strategy documents

The gist, part 2: The second one is “Enhancing the High Performance of PROFINET.”  It builds on the paper presented at the 12th IEEE Conference on Emerging Technologies and Factory Automation: “Limits of Increasing the Performance of Industrial Ethernet Protocols” that I posted about here <link> after the SPS/IPC/Drives show last November.  Since the IEEE paper itself is not generally available, this white paper provides an overview of the findings and a report on enhancements to PROFINET’s speed that are ongoing.

The significance: Although PROFINET is faster than EtherCAT in all but the smallest systems, we accepted this as a challenge.  The ongoing project is to make PROFINET the fastest in even the smaller systems.  Details of this project were visible in the booths of several of the project participants that I visited and in the PI booth.  Preliminary reports show that we will be faster while of course remaining backward compatible.  This is one of those situations where competing technologies spurred developments to make an even better Industrial Ethernet.

The gist, part 1: The first paper mentioned in the press release at first blush seems to be more of an internal look than something of general interest.  However, “Strategic Overview: PROFIBUS + PROFINET” is really essential to everyone’s understanding of the relationship between PROFIBUS and PROFINET – the work well together.  In fact, they were designed to work together.

The significance: I am proud of the fact that we did not just wrap a PROFIBUS datagram in TCP/IP and call it our Industrial Ethernet.  The PROFIBUS and PROFINET protocols are different; how else could we take advantage of all the benefits that Ethernet offers and also create new industrial uses like our easy peer-to-peer integration?  But because we designed them to work together and share a common set of application profiles, we get the best of both worlds.  This is why our safety profile (PROFIsafe) can seamlessly work on both PROFIBUS and PROFINET.  The application stories alone make this worth a read.

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