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Chinese Standards Lesson

Last week’s ARCwire carried a news item about Ethernet/IP, a technology from ODVA that tries to be competitive with PROFINET.  The item talks about Ethernet/IP becoming a “machinery industry standard” in China.  What it does not say is that this is the entry level on the standards path in China.  It is called JB, where J stands for industry or sector and B stands for standard.  Before a standard can become a national standard it must first be an industry standard.  The national standard is GB (G for National, B for Standard).  There are three levels within GB ­– GB/Z, GB/T, and GB/Q.  Z is a guideline, T stands for promotion, and Q is for mandatory and applies to some safety standards.  T is the highest level for non-safety related standards.  PROFIBUS is in the category GB/T (to be published before year end) and PROFINET is GB/Z.  So, while Ethernet/IP (and ControlNet, too) are in the beginning stages of adoption in China, both PROFIBUS and PROFINET are Chinese national standards already.