PROFIBUS to PROFINET: Migration strategies

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Migration Approaches

PROFINET leverages PROFIBUS technologies to ensure a smooth and cost-effective migration between them. Depending on the factory state and current network technology there are two migration approaches: Greenfield and Brownfield installation

  • Greenfield Installation:
    • Nonexistent network in the first place, i.e. new branch in the factory. New factories won’t require migration, but new branches in a factory will, especially when building communication between branches.
    • New network design should adapt to all specifications and necessities of the future factory.
    • Complex project management.
  • Brownfield Installation: With a brownfield installation, there is an installed network of some nature already. In a brownfield installation there are two approaches:
    • Step-wise migration:
      • Legacy fieldbuses preserved in certain areas of the factory.
      • Plant operators can schedule the upgrades during down seasons, slack times, downtimes, mandatory maintenance, etc.
      • No necessary expensive disruptions to plant production.
      • An average difficulty for project management.
    • Rip-and-replace:
      • Fieldbus investments met the desired lifecycle, hence the equipment is removed and replaced.
      • All the benefits of industrial Ethernet immediately.
      • Prior planning prevents expensive disruptions to plant production.
      • Complex project management.

PROFIBUS Migration: Proxies

When migrating from PROFIBUS or other fieldbus, it will be required to establish communication between the fieldbus (PROFIBUS) and Ethernet networks (PROFINET). PROFIBUS to PROFINET proxies allow seamless communication between both networks. The diagram below illustrates a PROFIBUS to PROFINET proxy. The Proxy is a PROFINET device on the network and represents all the PROFIBUS Components. The PROFIBUS slave data “translates” within the proxy to the PROFINET protocol. The Proxy is also the Master within the PROFIBUS master/slave communication protocol.

Proxies are also used in PROFINET networks when encountering hazardous environments where Ethernet cannot be installed. PROFIBUS PA or other fieldbuses are suitable for hazardous environments. This is not by any means a PROFINET limitation, but an Ethernet limitation. Even though working groups around the world are looking to solve this issue, Ethernet is currently not suitable for hazardous environments. PROFINET also has available proxies for AS-i, IO-Link, DeviceNet, Foundation Fieldbus, CANopen, Modbus, HART, etc.

Learn more about PROFIBUS and PROFINET with our full white paper:

PROFIBUS vs PROFINET: Comparison and Migration Strategies



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