Automotive Instigates PROFIBUS, then PROFINET

At the PI North America General Assembly Meeting last month we had an automotive theme.  This put me in a reflective mood, thinking about the roots of PROFI.

In 1989 the German automotive industry asked the government to help them by creating a fieldbus.  Thirteen companies and 5 universities responded to the call and created a PROcess FIeld BUS.  The motivation that instigated this effort was not saving wiring, terminal strips, and installation labor… although that was a gigantic fringe benefit.  The motivation was to prevent downtime.  The diagnostic capabilities inherent in PROFIBUS help maintain uptime and the troubleshooting capabilities inherent in PROFIBUS help reduce downtime.

Years pass and Industrial Ethernet looms large.  Those same companies adopted PROFINET for the same reasons they instigated PROFIBUS.  But now they get even more diagnostic capabilities plus more bandwidth, larger address space, and more.  They can even continue to rely on PROFIsafe for functional safety over the bus (both buses now actually).  And with most auto companies being global companies, use spreads to all the continents.  At the General Assembly Meeting PROFINET users VW and Chrysler shared their stories about plants in Mexico and the US.  And Aldo Marcuzzi’s keynote on “PROFINET in Automotive” named virtually every automaker and their PROFINET projects.

Is there a trend with as much of a hockey stick curve as energy costs?  Again the auto industry instigated a solution.  Their studies found that even when they were not making cars, they were using 60% of the energy as when they were.  So they asked PI to provide a multivendor method to achieve energy savings.  We did with PROFIenergy.  In less than two years we went from request to products!  At the General Assembly Meeting, Frithjof Klasen (PI Board Member and head of one of our PI Competence Centers) presented results from his organization’s in-depth, instrumented studies at several auto plants.  Details of these studies are now available in our new white paper: “Assessing PROFIenergy’s Potential.”

For more information on PROFINET diagnostic capabilities, view our webinar “Diagnostics for PROFINET and other Industrial Ethernets.”

For more about PROFIenergy check out the short video at PROFItelevision: “What does PROFIenergy mean?

Even more curious about the origins of PROFIBUS and PROFINET now?  We have a limited supply of our history book available for just the cost of shipping and handling ($10): Milestones PROFIBUS – 20 years of standards for industrial communication. Available in North America only; call 480-483-2456 to order.

–Carl Henning