PROFINET Chip News from SPS/IPC/Drives 2011

You might think this blog post is mostly for device makers… well, actually it is, but for current and prospective users of PROFINET there’s a message, too.  The folks who make the devices you need have a lot of choices in how to implement PROFINET – from software stacks on standard Ethernet Controllers to custom silicon “chips.”  And the proliferation of PROFINET chip providers is an indication of how rapidly the technology is being adopted.

 Now, for device makers, there were six providers of PROFINET in silicon: Siemens, Phoenix Contact / KW Software, Hilscher, Texas Instruments, Freescale, and Innovasic.

 I especially like to focus on the North American-based providers: Freescale and Innovasic.  Both were in the PI booth:


Innovasic presented results from their studies of jitter in Industrial Ethernet architectures using their PriorityChannel.  In the test system PROFINET jitter was just 10 microseconds (compared to 160 microseconds with another Industrial Ethernet).  With PROFINET IRT we can reduce that further, but 10 microseconds is impressive for PROFINET RT.

Freescale has a drawing for a prototyping kit that you can enter here.

For other approaches to implementing PROFINET please visit and follow the “Device Maker” path.  One other important implementation news item: HMS has added PROFIsafe to their modules to make it easy to include the PROFIsafe profile in your PROFINET product.  They had previously announced the inclusion of PROFIenergy.

It’s true that you don’t need special semiconductor chips to implement PROFINET; you can use a standard Ethernet Controller.  But just because you can does not mean you should!  PROFIBUS succeeded not with standard RS485 chips, but with custom chips that have PROFIBUS functionality and the RS485 communication implementation, too.  We at PI are convinced that a similar path is how PROFINET will continue to succeed too.

–Carl Henning