Download the PDF ; The PROFIblog ; Full version
Peter Wenzel opines that PROFINET is ideal for our "cyber-physical systems" future.
If you can't get to Europe's premier automation event this week, this might help
iOS and Android apps let you read PROFINEWS anytime, anywhere
60 PROFINET products certified in North America play a part in this reference demo. system
A waste burning plant in the Netherlands conquers intermittents and EMI
Featuring challenges overcome by PI Competence Centers around the world
A new White Paper compares the relative merits of two leading protocols
One last chance to join in 2013; after that, check out what 2014 has in store
A cooperative safety venture is announced and a new cable vendor joins
China, Japan, India, South East Asia and the Netherlands are featured this time
Cable, safety systems, boards, analytical, tiny interfaces, converters and isolators make up our biggest ever list

A change for our opening article: a personal view of the changing role of automation in manufacturing, authored by Peter Wenzel of PI Germany.

OUR AUTOMATION FUTURE IS GETTING CLOSER: Automation systems are the mainspring of industrial profitability and powerful communication systems are their heart. In the 1990s, PROFIBUS tapped into the enormous potential for increasing the flexibility, efficiency, availability of plants, and the quality of products, and thus contributed significantly to increasing profitability. The entry of Ethernet and particularly PROFINET has strengthened this process and has additionally provided a rich way of integrating automation with IT. This in turn paves the way for connecting production systems to the Internet and the networking of entire delivery chains.

The complexity of modern products often leads to production being distributed. Consumer behavior also influences the architecture of production systems. For example, the trend now is toward individuality, which leads to very small lot sizes requiring highly flexible production. In addition, the Internet is playing an increasing role in the purchasing cycle. Order data is flowing straight into production control systems and customers expect delivery at short notice, which in turn requires integration of logistics. All of this leads inevitably to the topics known as the "Internet of Things" and "Cyber Physical Systems".

PROFIBUS and PROFINET provide much more than just cyclic transmission of user data during operations. They support commissioning, maintenance and service too. Moreover, PROFINET provides for consistent communication within and across sites and companies.  Powerful diagnostics play a key role in profitability, for instance in condition monitoring. Engineering and integration require new solutions independent of the underlying communication system and for this reason PI has been supporting the FDI solution. Finally, energy management continues to play a role and PROFINET has set another milestone here with its PROFIenergy profile. 

All this tells us that open industrial communication is gaining visibly in importance. It is paving the way for cost-optimized solutions and is especially important for meeting the demand for investment protection and increased profitability.

Peter Wenzel
Managing Director, PROFIBUS Nutzerorganisation

Editor's Note: This is an edited version of an article that will be published in the new PROFINEWS app being launched at the SPS/IPC/Drives Fair. Watch this page for details.

IT'S THANKSGIVING IN NUREMBERG AND THE SPS/IPC/Drives FAIR: PI cordially invites you to visit its booth (Hall 6-210) at Europe's premier industrial fair starting November 26th in Nuremberg, Germany. PI North America staff are attending in force, a reflection of the importance of this event. It's Thanksgiving week but Mike Bryant, Carl Henning and Michael Bowne will be blogging and tweeting daily, contributing to updates to the PROFINEWS app and no doubt eating turkey schnitzel for Thanksgiving. Follow their progress here:

If you can make it to the Fair, here's what you'll see:

  • A PROFINET demo wall measuring 11m long (that's 36+ feet!).
  • A multi-vendor presentation of PROFINET's diagnostics, energy management, and safety.
  • Live models of PROFINET in drives, including open source code solutions.
  • A PROFIBUS multi-vendor demo showing hot-replacement of devices in process systems.
  • A multi-vendor PROFIBUS demo wall based on a real-life scenario, with diagnostics.
  • An FDI live demo showing how devices will be integrated in process automation in the future. 

PROFINEWS GOES MOBILE: You'll soon be able to read this newsletter via your tablet or smartphone. A PROFINEWS app is launching at the SPS/IPC/Drives Fair on November 26th in Nuremberg, enabling anyone in the world to read PROFINEWS on iOS and Android tablets and smartphones. Content will be updated continuously, enabling you to get the latest news and views anywhere you happen to be. The app will be available for free download from online stores on the same day. The web-based PROFINEWS (i.e. the one you are reading now) will continue to be published monthly, with email "alerts" as normal so you won't lose contact. "We think our app-based PROFINEWS is a "first" in automation," said editor Geoff Hodgkinson (right, at the General Assembly Meeting in Scottsdale, AZ). Watch this page for updates. Geoff is now tweeting @profinewseditor (#profinews) and will be uploading news stories at SPS through all three days of the Fair.

PIC WALL OF FAME!: The PROFI Interface Center (PIC) in Johnson City, TN, has built a PROFINET 'wall of fame' featuring PROFINET devices they have tested and certified.  The PIC is part of PI's global network of Competence Centers (PICCs), Training Centers (PITCs) and Test Labs (PITLs). Manager Torsten Paulsen commented: "We created this installation to feature all of the devices we have certified and we also put them to use as a 'real world' test bed and reference network. We currently have 54 nodes and rising." Devices include remote I/O, drives, vision systems, HMIs, wireless, embedded diagnostics, infrastructure, and security devices. "We're running PROFINET over copper, fiber and wireless, using MRP for redundancy, IRT for some of our I/O, PROFIsafe for our safety system, and really leveraging every aspect of PROFINET we can fit together," said Kyle McMillan, one of the PIC's PROFINET experts. "We want to show that these features don't just work on paper but that they can be implemented across different vendors, platforms, and network media." To date, more than 500 different PROFINET-enabled products have been tested and certified worldwide. The PIC was established in 1996.  PIC.

PROFIBUS CRANE MONITORED WITH COMbricks: Attero's automation team in Moerdijk, Netherlands has installed a COMbricks module in the PROFIBUS network of one of its cranes to eliminate cable breakages and EMI issues. The company annually burns over 1 million tons of household waste and converts the heat created into hot steam for the Essent power station next door. Interruptions are absolutely not wanted! Attero has three such cranes; they pick up the delivered litter and dump it into the filling funnel of the ovens. Pascal Oskamp, System manager of Process Automation said: "We had two problems with the network. In the first place, we are dealing with wear-and-tear of the PROFIBUS cable. We use a flat cable with three pairs, two of which are for backup. The cable is nearly 400 meters long and hangs in loops. The crane's movement back and forth means breakages are inevitable. "The other problem is electro-magnetic interference. The unscreened engine cables and the PROFIBUS cable are situated close to each other and all kinds of interference occurs. To make matters worse, cranes are now used more intensively since a shredder was installed. One hour of down time costs around 6000 Euros, so a reliable solution had to be found." PROCENTEC suggested installing COMbricks with SALT repeater modules and this has provided a definitive solution. First, it creates a redundant connection to the network and indicates immediately when a cable is broken. Every COMbricks also has Profitrace software which can be used to trace the source of disturbances. And, SALT repeaters provide a boosted signal so that EMI is no longer a problem. The first test, on crane 30, was a great success! COMbricks monitors all devices and if there is something wrong with a signal or a cable, it sends an alert by email. Next year, the other two cranes will get a COMbricks. "Since one interruption costs nearly as much as the acquisition of a COMbricks for the whole crane, we don't need any further convincing," says the company. PROCENTEC.

TROUBLESHOOTING A PROFIBUS REDUNDANT RING: This new section shows off the technical talents of PI's network of 50 PI Competence Centers (PICCs), who provide PROFIBUS and PROFINET consultancy services of all types. The network meets regularly and knowledge is shared across the world. "Global support locally" is what it's about, says Ali Magboul from Saudi Arabia, who sent us this summary of a challenge his company was faced with recently.

The Challenge: to troubleshoot a redundant network running on a Siemens S7-400H configuration, where the master CPUs are linked with 10 Remote I/Os spread on fiber all over a desalination plant. Some of the remote I/Os would go off and on for 1-2 sec and then be OK again. This caused the systems to be interrupted.

The Solution: ASM came into the plant with its proper know-how and tools to check the PROFIBUS redundant rings and after a hard day's work came up with the cause of the problem: the first ring was somehow mixed with the second ring, causing the brief interruptions. 

Lessons Learnt: This type of delay causes lots of downtime and, without giving sufficient information and training to installation staff, leads to more and more issues afterwards. We found, says Ali, PROFIBUS cables laid next to power lines, wrong terminations and no proper grounding. "We would like to see big users have at least one supervisor certified for the task so that he can teach the others. That's far better than having nobody, and us ending up with complaints about PROFIBUS and "why didn't we go to 4-20mA"."  ASM

Does your PICC have a success to report? Email details and get yourself some well-earned global coverage while supporting the PI community.

COMPARING MODBUS AND PROFIBUS: A White Paper on the relative merits of Modbus and PROFIBUS has been written by PROFIBUS guru James Powell. In it he says that he comes not to bury Modbus of PROFIBUS but to identify the relative strengths of each and highlight where they can best be used. He's also keen to show where they can work side by side in complement. DOWNLOAD THE PAPER HERE.

James Powell is the co-author of "Catching the Process Fieldbus: An Introduction to Profibus for Process Automation." You can buy it HERE.

1400 ATTENDED OUR 2013 TRAINING CLASS PROGRAM: 13 PROFINET classes and 8 PROFIBUS classes have been held in 2013, with the average attendance being 71. The Detroit PROFINET class in November had a near-record 166 attendees. There's one more chance to join a class:


Michael Bowne
Ron Mitchell

Carl Henning
Torsten Paulsen

Dec   Orlando, FL Dec 12th
  Watch this page for updates.
  • Visit our training class page. Watch for our 2014 program.
  • Classes count towards Professional Development Hours.
  • Download the class agenda for PROFINET
  • Download the class agenda for PROFIBUS
  • REMOTE LEARNING: Have you considered our webinar programs?
  • There's also web-based training HERE, with a new PROFIsafe module just added.

SAFETY COOPERATION: MESCO Engineering as a PROFIsafe Competence Center and TÜV Nord as an accredited SIL-certification body are cooperating on functional safety projects. The fields of cooperation are electronic development and product certification for functional safety products in accordance with IEC 61508, ISO 13849 IEC 61511 and IEC 61784. MESCO and TÜV Nord have a booth together at the SPS/IPC/Drives Fair. MESCO will also display its Safety Design Package, the modular platform for safety fieldbus protocols. Meet their experts in Hall 6-238! MESCO.

NEW MEMBER: New PI North America member Quabbin Wire and Cable is a manufacturer of Ethernet cabling for commercial and industrial environments. Recently they've developed a couple of cables for PROFINET. They specialize in High Flex, but they also do industrial versions with solid conductors. They can extrude PVC, PUR, TPE and ZHal PUR cable jackets and custom designs are possible. QUABBIN.

MORE TWEETS: @AllThingsPROFINET continues to gather fans across the automation spectrum while PROFINEWS North America Editor Geoff Hodgkinson has begun tweeting @profinewseditor in the run up to the launch of the PROFINEWS app in November.

BLOG: Michael Bowne is manfully supporting Carl Henning's vast output with occasional gems of his own. A recent post followed up on the GAM theme of "PROFINET Does That" with a thoughtful look at the many manufacturers out there looking to upgrade aging automation systems. "They are moving towards more 'advanced manufacturing' to gain a competitive advantage." he writes in his double-post blog, and gives his appraisal of the thought processes involved. READ MICHAEL'S THINKING HERE and HERE. And follow PROFIblog here.

CHINA: A webinar entitled "PROFINET applications in the automotive industry" was held on our PI-China web site in October.  It is archived HERE. Another will be held in November for tobacco and rail transport. Register at

JAPAN: The Japanese PROFIBUS Organization (JPO) attended the System Control Fair 2013 (SCF) and the Measurement and Control Show 2013 in Tokyo in November, both the biggest shows of their kind in Japan. JPO showed dynamic PROFIBUS and PROFINET demonstration systems.  JAPAN.

INDIA: Automation 2013's eighth international exhibition was held in September. Termed as India's biggest automation show, Indian Profibus and Profinet Association (IPA) members exhibited their products and had one to one conversations with visitors. The ninth edition of IPA's newsletter was launched. INDIA.

SOUTH EAST ASIA: The PROFIBUS/PROFINET Seminar in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam on November 8th attracted 150 participants and turned out to be PI SEA's biggest 2013 event! The new PROFINET multivendor demo was introduced. SOUTH EAST ASIA .

NETHERLANDS: PROFIdag (PROFIday) 2013 in November was a day full of theory and practice; about security, energy management and EMC problems. Workshops and live demonstrations covered a wide range of topics. The event was held at Evoluon in Eindhoven.  NETHERLANDS.

PROFINET HIGH FLEX CABLE: High quality materials and construction enable PoE or CAT 5E performance over long runs with this PROFINET cable. It "leads the industry" in temperature ratings and serves both type B and type C flexing applications. 1 million flex cycles are possible when installed at 10x the cable OD and 10 million flex cycles at 20x. TURCK.

HIGHEST PROTECTION FOR MAN AND MACHINE: The new fieldbus safety module delivers SIL 3 (acc. to IEC 61508 and IEC 62061) and Performance Level e (acc. to EN ISO 13849-1). It's available with inputs and outputs and uses PROFIsafe with PROFIBUS or PROFINET. The solid metal housing makes it suitable for soldering. MURRELEKTRONIK.

COMPACT PCI FOR PROFIBUS: This board is able to execute PROFIBUS applications under extremely tough industrial conditions and is designed to implement PC-based master or slave configurations. It is designed for PC-based master or slave applications with stringent requirements in regards to performance and availability. It can be configured as a redundant master system. SOFTING.

MULTI-PARAMETER PA 3.02 CONTROLLER: Liquiline CM44R can be mounted on DIN-rails or in cabinets and features the full power of a field device in a sleek, small housing. It speaks PROFIBUS DP and is certified to Profile 3.02. It can be accessed via browser or mobile phone. Diagnostic messages are given according to NE107. ENDRESS + HAUSER.

PROFINET INTERFACE IS THE SIZE OF A STAMP!: netRAPID is a PROFINET I/O interface about the size of a stamp, yet it carries all parts necessary for real-time Ethernet. Only connectors and LEDs need be added. It meets latest PROFINET specifications and supports risk-free prototyping as well as automated SMD production.  HILSCHER.

CONVERTER FOR POWER APPLICATIONS: This glass fiber media converter has a metal housing for switching systems that require permits for IEC 61850-3 or IEEE 1613. Data transmission via fiber-optic cables optimizes Ethernet performance and security. It includes the LFP function to ensure comprehensive monitoring and can be used with PROFINET.  PHOENIX CONTACT.

M12 NETWORK ISOLATOR FOR TRAINS: This new network isolator is intended for heavy-duty use in M12 Industrial Ethernet applications. It meets the requirements of EN 50155 for use in rolling rail traffic. It can be incorporated into the cable upstream from the network participant or segment to be protected and does not require a power supply. PHOENIX CONTACT.

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