General Assembly Meeting Wrap-Up


This kind of pictorial humor was abundant at the meeting.

2014 General Assembly Meeting Wrap-Up

Being our 20th anniversary, we set out to make this year’s Meeting a bit of a special event. From the Tuesday evening reception to the Wednesday evening boat-cruise-networking-event to the discussions during the day, all in all it was a very successful event.

Industrial Internet of Things

PROFINET Does ThatThe Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) has become a hot topic for many of our members over the past year. As such, Executive Driector Michael Bryant discussed where we think this trend might be headed, and how PROFINET fits. Whether you call it Industry 4.0 or Internet of Things or Industrial Internet, if you can’t get the data there is no IIoT. That data needs to be acquired: reliably, in real-time, with alarms, with diagnostic information, and from legacy busses. The discussions at the GAM revolved around how “PROFINET Does That”. It is important to note that while there has been a focus on this general concept for many years now, “Internet of Things” just happens to be the most recent of those names and has taken hold.

Aussie Schnore from GE Research and Development gave a presentation how his company is doing just this. First they use the Real-Time and comprehensive-diagnostics components of PROFINET at the sensor level, and then leverage OPC-UA at the controller level and above (e.g. into the cloud). This is done on turbines, wind farms, oil rigs, and other mission-critical applications. He then joined Eddie Lee from Moxa, Mike Justice from Grid Connect, Dave Greenfield from AutomationWorld, and Tom Burke from the OPC Foundation for a panel discussion on the topic.

Automotive Industry

Karsten Schneider is the Chairman of PI as well as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the PNO in Germany. He talked about the shared history between PROFIBUS / PROFINET and the automotive manufacturing industry. Like the Profibus Trade Organization here in the US, it also started 20 years ago with Opel standardizing on PROFIBUS. They were able to reduce hardware and downtime while introducing flexibility as a result. In the late nineties, usage of PROFIsafe became standard practice to commission lines more quickly and further more reduce network complexity. As a result, PROFIsafe has seen exponential growth to over 3 million nodes! In the early 2000’s, the first plant to use PROFINET was BMW in Munich leading to efficiency and productivity gains. And finally now in the 2010’s, PROFIenergy is helping Mercedes Benz and others reduce their utility bills, bolstering their bottom line.

Prof. Fritjof Klasen, also on the Board of Directors of the PNO, took over from there to present his experience with PROFINET usage in the automotive industry. Looking back to 2008 where a Volkswagen body shop might have 620 PROFINET devices installed seems distant compared to the 10,000 PROFINET devices a similar line would have today. These lines run PROFINET 90% over fiber-optics (especially on a welding line) and are 100% PROFIsafe.robot_line

Michael Bowne