PROFINET is Coffee

As part of our PROFINET one-day training classes, we wanted to provide an easy way to remember some of the benefits of PROFINET. We created a mnemonic device so you can remember the benefits. A mnemonic provides an easy way to remember something; I used one in a previous post, PROFINET for Network Geeks (and Those Who Want to Be).  Another example is the way I remembered how to spell ‘arithmetic’ in grade school: A Rat In Tom’s House Might Eat Tom’s Ice Cream. Since I remember this after being several years past grade school, this is proof the mnemonics work! So here is one for the benefits of PROFINET:

PROFINET IS COFFEE. Yes, PROFINET is coffee. Just remember the uppercase letters after PROFINET: I S C O F F E E

I – Industrial. PROFINET was designed from the ground up for industrial use. This is unlike an Industrial Ethernet that just wrapped their old message up in a TCP/IP wrapper and called it an Industrial Ethernet. It’s unlike another Industrial Ethernet that limited their design to using office Ethernet techniques. PROFINET was designed from the ground up to be fast, deterministic, and robust; that is, industrial.

S – Scalable. There are no limits in the spec on the number of nodes that you can use. And you can scale it from factory automation to process automation to motion control.


C– Complete. The PROFINET spec has been finished for over two years now – it’s stable (complete). It’s also complete in its depth of features: functional safety, energy management, comprehensive diagnostics, and more.

O – Open. PROFINET was created by and is owned by PI, a consortium. But you don’t have to be a member to develop or use PROFINET products. Unlike one other Industrial Ethernet you don’t have to sign a contract to develop products. Another Industrial Ethernet is owned by a single company, not a consortium.

F – Fast. How fast is PROFINET? Fast enough for any requirement. It can easily achieve the 100-millisecond needs of process instruments, the 10-milliscond needs of factory automation, and the 1-millisecond need of motion control. It can even achieve 31.25 microsecond cycle times.

F – Flexible. Always start with PROFINET when designing a new project. PROFINET is flexible enough to incorporate other protocols when needed. For example, if you need to include some process instruments in an explosive atmosphere where no Industrial Ethernet can go, use PROFIBUS PA and integrate it with PROFINET using a proxy.

E– Easy. Configuration is easy, building on the familiar concepts of PROFIBUS. By using standard Ethernet protocols like LLDP, topology information can be extracted from a working system (and alarmed if it changes unexpectedly). And, amazingly easy, is Simple Device Replacement. It allows a device to be replaced without setting any hardware switches and without dragging out a computer to set anything using software. Just physically replace the device and you’re done.

E – Ethernet. PROFINET runs on plain old Ethernet – Standard Unmodified Ethernet. The PROFINET Ethernet frames are plain old Ethernet frames.PROFINET IS COFFEE

–Carl Henning