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A familiar face returns
Three innovations push PROFINET to 31.25 microsecond cycle times
Book early to avoid disappointment
Web-based training, good old fashioned books and two new MinutePROFINET videos
PROFINET to become market leader by 2015
Classes are filling - book early!
Connectivity problems are "Gone with the Wind"
PROFIblog covers Hannover Fair; LinkedIn PROFINET Group grows
Embedded Systems Development Engineer sought
A summary of what's happening in 7 countries
Test tool; drives interface; remote I/O; two gateways; fiber connectivity; high speed chip

PI ELECTS NEW CHAIRMAN: Karsten Schneider (left), who many will remember from his time at the PROFI Interface Center (PIC) in Johnson City, TN from 2005 to 2008, has been elected Chairman of PI, the umbrella organization of which PI North America is a member. PI North America Chairman Michael Bryant, who is also Deputy Chairman of PI, introduced Schneider to the international PI group at a recent meeting in Dubai, where Schneider was formally elected. The change comes about because former PI Chairman Jörg Freitag has accepted a new post at the Toronto-based company RuggedCom, recently acquired by his employer Siemens. Bryant said: "I have known Karsten Schneider for many years. We worked closely together during his tenure at the PIC to boost both PROFIBUS and PROFINET and we have remained in touch. I am delighted that he has accepted the challenge to lead PI." Bryant paid tribute to outgoing Chairman Freitag, saying "He re-structured the PI offices in Karlsruhe and led the re-branding of our global image, including re-building the web site. His less visible activities in the background have been invaluable in propelling PI forwards across a broad front and in particular have helped PROFINET become the leading Ethernet solution in automation. We wish him great success in his new post." Karsten Schneider is also Chairman of the PROFIBUS Nutzerorganisation in Germany.

HIGH SPEED PROFINET REALIZED: A working demo at the recent Hannover Fair in Germany showed PROFINET operating at cycle times of 31.25 microseconds. This high speed option has come through the adoption of the PROFINET Version 2.3 specification which as well as introducing other important features also contains three key technical innovations aimed at fast IO applications. These are backwards compatible with existing specification devices. Achieving this dramatic performance improvement relies on increasing the efficiency of the Ethernet data handling. Here's how it's been done:

  • Fast Forwarding: Switches play a key role in all Ethernet networks but they introduce delays since the ID of an incoming frame must be determined before a decision taken as to its destination. Typically, delays of 5 microseconds are experienced. In Fast Forwarding, the ID information is placed earlier in the Ethernet telegram, enabling faster identification and immediate forwarding. Delays are reduced to 1.25 microseconds per switch, a significant improvement especially for linear networks where a switch is required at each node.
  • Dynamic Frame Packing: Data packets in very fast IO applications like drives are typically small - maybe just a few bits - making poor use of Ethernet bandwidth in linear networks because the messaging overhead for each packet is large by comparison. Dynamic Frame Packing places several data packets in each Ethernet telegram. At each node the relevant data is dropped but no process data is retrieved. The telegram gets smaller the longer the line, speeding average response times too.
  • Fragmentation: Transmitting a standard Ethernet frame containing TCP/IP data can take up to 125 microseconds - that's defined in the Ethernet standard. It places a lower limit on cycle times since guaranteed TCP/IP transmission is an integral part of the PROFINET specification. All Industrial Ethernets face this limit. To overcome it, TCP/IP telegrams are split into smaller units at the first network node. The final node reassembles the TCP/IP message. "Fragmenting" the TCP/IP messages allows more PROFINET data to be transmitted in the same time period.

Using these innovations results in scalable PROFINET cycle times down to 31.25 microseconds! At least three chips are emerging to support this advance - Hilscher's netX, Siemens' ERTEC and the TPS1 "Tiger" from Phoenix Contact. Expect more. Here are three short videos explaining the innovations. There's a video of the Hannover Fair demo here.

TRAINING CLASS SCHEDULE FILLS: Our 2012 program of FREE One Day Training Classes is proving more popular than ever. The advice is - book early to avoid disappointment! A special section on transitioning from PROFIBUS to PROFINET is included now, as more and more engineers seek to upgrade to an Ethernet solution but wonder about existing equipment? With PROFINET the answer is easy: integrate it! Learning PROFINET is easy too if you already know PROFIBUS. Here's the 2012 program.

June Boston, MA Jun 5 Montreal June 5
July Kansas City, MO Jul 24 Indianapolis, IN Jul 12
Aug Dayton, OH Aug 28 Portland, OR Aug 7
Sept Seattle, WA tba Chattanooga, TN tba
Oct Memphis, TN Oct 9

New York, NY tba
Minneapolis, MN Oct 25

Nov   Baltimore, MD tba
Dec   Los Angeles, CA tba
  Watch this page for updates.


Web-based training for PROFINET: if you prefer to stay at your desk to learn, PI's new web-based training service may be right for you. WBT HERE.

Good books to get: Ron MItchell's "Pocket Guide"; Manfred Popp's "Industrial Communications with PROFINET"; Manfred Popp's "The new Rapid Way to PROFIBUS DP"; James Powell's "Catching the Process Fieldbus".

New videos: Two more videos in the MinutePROFINET series have been published here. They are the second and third of a four parter dealing with Performance, in this case the often mis-understood topic of determinism.

NODE COUNTS SHOW PROFINET MATURITY: Evidence that PROFINET has reached maturity comes from recently-announced sales figures for 2011. The independent "notary" who compiles PI's sales reports has confirmed that, by the end of 2011, 4.3 million PROFINET devices were installed. During 2011, more than 1.3 million devices were sold, a record. Meanwhile, market research company IMS supported the notion of maturity in their recent survey indicating that PROFINET holds 13.5% of the Industrial Ethernet market, almost exactly the same as its nearest competitor. None of the other Industrial Ethernets hold more than 7%, with Ethernet TCP/IP itself remaining dominant at 42%. IMS suggests that PROFINET will move into the lead by 2015 with nearly 15% of the market as TCP/IP starts to slide. PROFIBUS added almost 5 million devices during 2011, lifting its installed base above 40 million. Of these, more than 6.8 million are in process automation. PROFIsafe also had a record year with 400,000 PROFIsafe nodes installed, bringing the total to over 1.55 million. IMS RESEARCH.

CERTIFIED NETWORK TRAINING PROGRAM: These 5-day fee-based classes provide a detailed grounding in PROFIBUS and PROFINET technologies. Students who pass the theoretical and practical exams are granted "Certified Engineer" Status, and their names are listed on the PI North America web site. The confirmed class list for 2012 is:

June     Johnson City, TN
June 11-15
Aug Johnson City, TN
August 13-17
Johnson City,TN
August 20-22
Detroit, MI
August 13-17
Sept     Johnson City, TN
September 17-21
Nov Johnson, City, TN
November 5-9
Dec     Johnson City, TN
December 3-7
  NB: a further PROFINET class is expected. Watch here.

On-site classes can be arranged. Contact the PI North America office, or email:

CONNECTIVITY PROBLEMS "GONE WITH THE WIND": ICSA Automation is an automation system specialist in Argentina. They needed to connect their frequency converters to PROFINET to fulfill the needs of a customer in the wind power industry. With Anybus CompactCom they got connected quickly and easily.   ICSA's own customer, IMPSA Wind, uses Phoenix Contact PLCs to control its windmills, communicating via PROFINET, so ICSA Automation needed to provide its equipment with PROFINET communications. “We began by testing several modules from different brands but we had trouble finding a solution that fulfilled the requirements regarding variable updating speeds,” says Christian Clavero, Research and Development engineer at ICSA. Eventually, the solution was the acquisition of 12 Anybus CompactCom interface modules from HMS. These were embedded into ICSA's frequency converters allowing them to communicate over PROFINET. “We chose Anybus CompactCom for its fast communication speed, along with its ability to be implemented in a proprietary motherboard in quite a simple manner. What is remarkable about the Anybus module is the product quality, availability, good information and the technical support which is provided,” says Christian Clavero.    HMS INDUSTRIAL NETWORKS.

PROFIblog: Carl Henning attended the Hannover Fair trade show in April and is blogging about his experiences here.

LinkedIn: The PROFINET Group is growing. Are you connected?

EMBEDDED SYSTEMS DEVELOPMENT ENGINEER POSITION OPEN: The PROFI Interface Center (PIC) in Johnson City, TN is looking for an Embedded Systems Development Engineer (ref 109830) Responsibilities include: PROFINET Device Certification; Consulting / Support for PROFINET Technology Components, Software and Tools; Promotion of PROFINET technology in the North American market place via Development workshops. Required competencies include: experience in developing embedded real-time systems for industrial communication, consulting with customers to help with PROFINET device developments; work-experience with PLC/PC-based configuration and engineering tools. C, C++, and C# programming skills are required and candidates should be familiar with current development platforms and embedded controllers. A Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering or Computer Engineering/Computer Science is required. The PIC is a Competence Center, Training Center and Test Lab, certified by the PROFIBUS International (PI) Organization. Please apply here.

Southern Africa: The first quarter saw the PROFIBUS Competence Center present its PROFIBUS Engineer course to seven individuals and its PROFIBUS Installer Course to 23 individuals. Three more Engineer and three Installer courses are scheduled, plus a PROFIBUS PA course. SOUTHERN AFRICA .

China: A microblog for PROFIBUS and PROFINET has been introduced.  "The Easy Way to PROFINET Technology" has been translated (download it from the web site) and a translated “PROFIBUS Installation Guide” has been published. CHINA.

Switzerland: In March, the Swiss Regional PI Association (RPA) held its 20th annual members' meeting. The Swiss RPA was the first outside Germany and a big birthday party is being planned. Today, there are 27 RPAs around the world. SWITZERLAND.

Middle East: ASM Establishment has been accredited as a PI Training Center.  ASM is already a PI Competence Center. MIDDLE EAST.

Japan: The number of member companies in JPO has reached 95. The number of the companies interested in developing PROFINET products is increasing too.  JAPAN.

South East Asia: The Regional PROFIBUS/PROFINET Association Southeast Asia held a PROFIBUS Certified Training in Singapore during April that was booked out.   SOUTH EAST ASIA.

South Korea: KPA participated in the "Automation World 2012'" trade show in Seoul in April. It was so successful that KPA will expand its booth at Automation World 2013 by 50%.  SOUTH KOREA.

PROFIBUS TEST TOOL: Tester 4 takes an integrated view of bus physics and communication, either in standalone mode or with a laptop. Diagnostic data can be analyzed and critical or potential problems identified. SOFTING.

DRIVES GET PROFIBUS INTERFACE: Control Techniques offers a PROFIBUS module for its AC/DC drives and servo-drives. It is a "solutions module" that fits into an expansion slot. PROFIdrive is incorporated.  CONTROL TECHNIQUES.

HIGH DENSITY REMOTE I/O: These Zone 1-capable redundant base units render separate redundancy superfluous and can also be used in non-redundant applications. They save space and reduce costs. PEPPERL+FUCHS.

CONVERT PROFINET TO OTHER ETHERNETS: netTAP 100 now has a 3-port variant for converting Real-Time Ethernet protocols to other variants. PROFINET to EtherNet/IP and Modbus TCP combinations are available now. HILSCHER.

FIBER OPTICS FOR COMBricks: Fiber optic modules are now available with ProfiTrace to monitor PROFIBUS over Ethernet. They support point-to-point, star, bus and redundancy structures. PROCENTEC.

HIGH SPEED PROFINET CHIP: Cycle times down to 31.25µs are possible with the new ERTEC 200 P chip which supports new high speed mechanisms (see above), A Development Kit will be available soon. SIEMENS.

GATEWAYS CERTIFIED: UNIGATE IC and UNIGATE CL gateways have been certified to PROFINET conformance class B. They are based on Innovasic's RapID Platform containing PriorityChannel technology that guarantees performance under all network load conditions. INNOVASIC.

Published by PI North America

16101 N. 82nd Street, Suite 3B

Scottsdale, AZ 85260

©2012 PI North America


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