Feed Me… PROFINET Data

Audrey II in The Little Shop of Horrors demanded “Feed me!”  Analytics systems today also need fed, but they Plant Monsterneed to be fed data.  Enter PROFINET.  As part of the Industrial Internet, PROFINET feeds data into controllers which in turn feed information (perhaps through the cloud) to historians and analytics systems.

But it all starts with the data.  Non-Ethernet devices like switches and actuators connect to IO blocks.  PROFINET takes the data from there.  Ethernet devices like drives and vision systems provide data directly over PROFINET.

While many consumers are enamored of the Internet of Things where the things are coffee makers, refrigerators, and toasters, we engineers know that IO and drives provide the data needed to manufacture coffee makers, refrigerators, and toasters!  And we know that the data has to be accurate, timely, and complete.  This is where PROFINET shines:

Accurate. Because PROFINET transmits data digitally, the data is guarded against errors: from the inherent checking that is an integral part of the Ethernet standard to messages individually flagged as “bad data” by a PROFINET device.  In addition, PROFINET will create an alarm if an individual IO channel has a fault.  So if a 0-10 Vdc input is at 11 volts, it can alarm.  If a digital output is supposed to be on, but no current is flowing, it can alarm.

Timely.  PROFINET provides deterministic performance for any application: slow speed process instrument updates to high speed motion control.  While determinism is not a major concern by the time the data gets up to the analytics package, it is a major concern in keeping the manufacturing system running.

Complete.  PROFINET provides not only the data, but also the data that goes with the data.  Obviously the raw data is needed.  Raw data meaning actual parameter values and the associated engineering units.  Accompanying data includes indication of data quality (good/bad) as mentioned above, but also data that helps prevent downtime.  Diagnostic capabilities are a major differentiator for PROFINET.

Feed the Industrial Internet with PROFINET data because it is accurate, timely, and complete.

–Carl Henning

Cross-posted at GE Intelligent Platforms blog