Tech Tuesday

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“PROFINET in the Automotive Industry” was the title for the latest installment of Phoenix Contact’s Tech Tuesday events. Held June 18th at their new offices in Ann Arbor, Michigan, 30 attendees learned about using PROFINET and featured a variety of speakers. The audience featured a range of end-users (General Motors) integrators/distributors, and OEMs (Fanuc Robotics).

Ron Baysinger of Phoenix Contact started the day with an introduction and overview before our very own PROFINET Consulting Engineer Hunter Harrington discussed the strong penetration of PROFINET into the automotive manufacturing industry. The list of users in North America alone is impressive: Ford, GM, Chrysler, BMW, Volkswagen, etc.; not to mention its dominance in Europe’s sector.

Michael Mason of KW Software then discussed PROFINET capabilities at their company. KW Software provides integration services for controller/device manufacturers and is the latest PI Competence Center to be certified here in North America. As part of our organization, PI Competence Centers provide support and technical advice to vendors and users as needed.

Hunter then returned to discuss determinism and network infrastructure (topologies, cabling, wireless, redundancy, installation and  commissioning). Live demonstrations of the technology were provided with our equipment racks to show how easy it is to replace a device on a PROFINET network, for example.

Finally, the day concluded with a discussion from Phoenix Contact on network security. As PROFINET is built on standard Ethernet, there is a temptation to connect it with office networks. And while in theory it actually is a good idea as you can move information from the factory floor to the office floor, care must employed. Even if kept independent, steps to secure your factory network must be taken. This is why we publish a Security Guideline to help address these concerns.

– Michael Bowne

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