SPS 2012: PROFINET Chips

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I continue to be amazed at the number of chip-based solutions available for PROFINET. I’ve lost count of the actual number. But Innovasic, KW-Software, and Hilscher were in the PI booth with their solutions. Molex was in the booth, too, and they announced a partnership with profichip for a PROFINET solution. I walked over to the Altera booth to see theirs and Alex Dopplinger of Freescale stopped by the PI booth to update us on their PROFINET and PROFIBUS solutions. The HMS booth was right across the aisle from PI so I had a chance to get an update on their new chip. Here’s a short update on each:

Innovasic. Innovasic again showed results from their studies of jitter in Industrial Ethernet architectures using their PriorityChannel. In the test system PROFINET jitter was just 10 microseconds (compared to 160 microseconds with another Industrial Ethernet). More on this topic in this press release.

KW-Software. I visited the KW-Software booth to talk to Michel Mason. He updated me on the progress of North American vendors’ interest in their TPS-1 chip (Tiger). In their software stack, KW-Software now provides for the functions need in process applications: redundancy at the controller, network, and IO Device levels plus Configuration-in-Run.

Hilscher. The netX chip family supports PROFINET and PROFIBUS and many other fieldbuses and Industrial Ethernets. netX 51 and netX 52 are now released bringing the netX family to seven chips with PROFINET capability… including PROFINET IRT capability. The family is suitable for applications form sensors to drives to PLCs.

Molex (and profichip). Molex is providing the software and profichip the hardware for a PROFINET IRT chip. Read more on profichip’s news page.

Altera. At the Altera booth I saw a demonstration of how the protocol could be changed to PROFINET from another protocol while the chip was on the board. Details on the Altera website.

Freescale. Freescale’s Alex Dopplinger recorded a video for us in the booth about Freescale products that support PROFIBUS and PROFINET. Unfortunately, there were audio problems, so I’ll refer you instead to these details about their PROFINET and PROFIBUS solutions.

HMS. HMS has long been known for modules that automation vendors can use to add fieldbus and Industrial Ethernet connectivity to their products. These modules provide a fast and convenient way to get started and cover many different buses. But when quantities increase the costs might become an issue. Now HMS provides a smooth transition to a chip called NP40. The transition requires no change to the software used. Multiple protocols are still supported. You can find a product announcement here.

Of course, you do not have to use a chip to implement PROFINET. You can use a software stack and a standard Ethernet controller chip… unless you need motion control, then you need silicon to get the needed update times. You did not need to use a chip for PROFIBUS either. You could use a standard RS485 chip and a software stack. But no one does. They use PROFIBUS chips. The same logic applies to PROFINET. Past commentary on chips is in posts PROFINET Uses Standard Ethernet! and A chip off the old PROFINET.

–Carl Henning

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