PI (PROFIBUS and PROFINET International) has created a unique institution: the PI Competence Center (PICC). There are 50 of these around the world. And their existence and availability are reasons that PROFINET is a truly global phenomenon.
The PICCs are there to provide support for the PROFINET and PROFIBUS networks. A user facing network questions has a place to call for help locally. A device maker wondering how to add PROFINET or PROFIBUS to their product can turn to the local PICC for help. A device maker can count on his customers finding local support no matter where in the world they are. A user can standardize on PROFINET for his manufacturing plant, then reproduce that plant anywhere in the world – knowing that local support will be available. Many of the automotive companies have standardized on PROFINET because they are now building the same plant all over the world. It’s not unusual to find a plant with a PROFINET network reproduced in North and South America, Europe, and Asia.
PICCs are accredited by PI. They must sign a Quality of Service agreement. They must maintain a multivendor system for demonstration and troubleshooting. They must be audited with an in-person inspection. They must renew their agreement and be audited every two years. This way we can ensure that every PICC will provide the same high-level of response to inquiries.
PICCs are part of the PROFINET and PROFIBUS ecosystem along with Regional PI Associations (RPAs), PI Test Labs (PITLs), PI Training Centers (PITCs), Working Groups, Technical Committees, and member companies. As a group, we have just two goals: educate and assist. Educate the market about PROFINET and PROFIBUS. Assist device makers add PROFINET and PROFIBUS to their devices.
This map shows the widespread reach of the PROFI ecosystem:
[Cross posted at GE Intelligent Platforms blog: http://www.ge-ip.com/blog/around-world-50-competence-centers/]