PROFINET in Process Industries

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Continuing news from the General Assembly Meeting, PROFINET in the process industries was introduced by Jörg Freitag on Wednesday and expanded upon by Martin Raab on Thursday.

 First, let me make clear that PROFINET in process does not supplant PROFIBUS PA, it supplements it.  PROFIBUS PA is suitable for hazardous environments; no Industrial Ethernet is.  So PROFIBUS PA is here for the foreseeable future.  PROFINET provides a high-speed, high-bandwidth backbone for PROFIBUS PA (and other networks) while also bringing immediate connectivity to drives and discrete IO.

 We identified four requirements that needed to be satisfied for PROFINET to meet the needs of the process industry:

  1. Proxies to connect lower level process busses, including PROFIBUS PA, Foundation Fieldbus, WirelessHART, and others.
  2. Configuration in Run (CiR), the ability to make changes to a program without stopping the controller.
  3. Time Sync / Time Stamping.
  4. Scalable Redundancy.  PROFINET already has media redundancy, but needs to support system redundancy for process use.

 These capabilities are nearing the review phase and should be released early in 2011.  PI North America member GE is participating in the Working Groups to develop these capabilities.

–Carl Henning

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