Aircraft carrier redundant ring around Richmond

Our one-day training event in Richmond concluded earlier today covering PROFIBUS in the Process Industry.  One of our process application examples is aircraft carriers.  Process application?  Aircraft carrier?  Didn’t make sense to me either until someone described an aircraft carrier as a tank farm for jet fuel… that floats.  No wonder they keep the carrier in the middle of the battle group!  We’ve seen steadily increasing PROFIBUS node counts on retrofitted aircraft carriers.  The latest one under construction has 11 pair of big redundant PLCs, over 100 smaller PLCs, and over 1400 PROFIBUS nodes with a redundant fiber optic backbone.

Speaking of redundant rings, we taught about redundant ring technology at the PROFIBUS PA level for the first time.  This is the only process fieldbus that has this capability.  There has long been redundant technology for PROFIBUS DP.  PROFINET, of course, can have redundancy at the Industrial Ethernet level.  Adding redundancy at the process level seems so natural.

We filled the room again – virtually every seat.  And we had to add a couple additional exhibitor tables at the last minute.  Some of those exhibitors came to Richmond directly from Silicon Valley where our PROFIBUS one-day training event was held on Tuesday.  Instructor Ron Mitchell made that same cross country trip right after returning from a meeting of his global colleagues in Switzerland on Sunday.

Finally, still on the process fieldbus topic, read *** Caro’s article at Plant Services magazine, “Fieldbus improves control system reliability.”  He discusses some benefits of fieldbuses that we don’t always consider.