SEX and PROFIBUS

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Ok, now that I have your attention, let’s take a look at magazine articles of interest for their content of fieldbuses, Industrial Ethernet, PROFIBUS, and PROFINET.

The first one, “High-tech Profibus system succeeds in the outback” does cover SEX – sodium ethyl xanthate, a lead collector used in mining.  This application story is from PTO member Endress+Hauser’s Australian colleagues.  The application did not go completely smoothly, but then what does in the real world?  It’s funny to find SEX in this context, because when I hear that pronounced, the first thing I think of is the Semiconductor Equipment Communications Standard (SECS).  [Now go back and read this blog from May and say “Oh, now I get it.”]

Control Engineering in “Industrial Ethernet Protocols” provides an overview of many of the Industrial Ethernet protocols available.  PROFINET was not mentioned by nearly enough respondents to suit us here at the PTO.  That’s why we have even more education efforts scheduled this year, including ten PROFINET one-day training events in North America.  We know that when control engineers learn more about PROFINET, they will choose PROFINET.

Also in Control Engineering, “Networking: Ethernet stars in network growth” highlights an IMS Research report that attempts to quantify Industrial Ethernet growth.  No doubt it’s growing.  The article talks about growth in nodes and “Ethernet-based protocols are forecast to grow at the substantially higher annual rate of 20.3%.”  I don’t know what this latter statement means.  Surely not 20% more protocols every year.  We have quite enough already, thank you.  And PROFINET is the only one you really need.  (I’m smiling as I say that, pardner.)

Occasionally I feel compelled to correct an error in an article.  This time it is “Industrial Ethernet du jour” at Manufacturing Automation.  First, Table 1 gives the impression that PROFINET is only for factory automation.  Readers of this blog are probably well-aware that PROFINET is all-encompassing – factory automation, motion control, safety, wireless, process control, and more.  A more grievous error is the statement that PROFINET IO uses UDP/IP.  PROFINET bypasses the time-consuming UDP and IP layers to provide faster, more-repeatable performance.  Read our PROFINET booklet for the whole correct story.

At Processing Talk, the article “From wireless boloney to fibre-optics” had a subhead of “Profinet gives leverage into process automation.”  A subscription is required to get the whole story so I can only comment on this snippet: “Any suggestion that last year’s agreement between Siemens and Emerson on the exchange of Profibus and Foundation fieldbus technology might herald some kind of a rapprochement between backers of the two rival fieldbus protocols in the process control arena seems to have been dispelled by a sudden surge of activity in the Profibus camp.”

I read nothing in the press releases that suggested either Siemens or Emerson was abandoning their favorite fieldbus.  Nor would I expect to.  The common denominator was PROFINET and PROFIBUS DP not PROFIBUS PA and Foundation Fieldbus.  PROFIBUS PA and Foundation Fieldbus are competing technologies based on the same physics but different software.  PROFIBUS PA adopted the PROFIBUS DP protocol – one protocol, two media.  If a user is using PA or FF for the process instruments, he also has to choose something for the discrete IO. (Read the ARC white paper on “hybrid” industries.)  If he chooses PA and DP, there is only one protocol and one set of diagnostic and configuration tools.  If he chooses FF, he still has to choose another fieldbus for discrete; most of the time that’s PROFIBUS DP.  Now PROFINET uses a proxy concept to integrate existing fieldbuses.  So by year’s end PROFINET can happily integrate PROFIBUS PA directly (it already integrates PA through DP)… and HART… and FF… and Modbus… and discrete IO on PROFIBUS DP, Interbus, and DeviceNet.  PROFINET is the story here.  Although I’m glad to see the activity surge from “the PROFIBUS camp” is being seen elsewhere, too!

I have seen cooperation between Siemens and Emerson though – in the wireless standardization process, in Siemens adding FF to their process instruments, in Emerson continuing to use PROFIBUS.  But again, in my view, it’s PROFINET that’s the big news.

Conventional wisdom says to keep blog entries short.  But when have I ever paid attention to conventional wisdom.

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