PROFINET Does That: An Engineering Thought Process – Part 2

This is Part 2 in a two part series helping to convey what we really mean by “PROFINET Does That”. The engineering thought process of our fictional Senior Advanced Manufacturing Engineer is our guide. In Part 1 we left off with him realizing that:

  • the multi-vendor approach of PROFINET means he has a choice in the controller he wants to use
  • there are many different I/O device suppliers making hundreds of products for PROFINET
  • PROFINET can handle high speed drives so there’s no need for an ancillary motion-control network

More from his perspective:

I’m planning on using one robot on my line. I can’t have my guys getting hurt out there and need to protect them. Plus it minimizes downtime, and my boss is always saying there’s not just a pragmatic case, but a financial case for safety. I’ll have to come up with a way to control those safety sensors and mechanisms. Likely it will be a couple e-stop buttons, a few light curtains, and a bunch of interlocking door switches. Thankfully I won’t need a separate network altogether for them since I can safely say PROFINET does that.

Uptime is a huge component in all of this, as it costs us tens of thousands of dollars per hour that the factory isn’t running. I’m going to need redundancy on one part of the line, which can easily be accomplished on the physical level with a ring topology. Beyond that, I want to feel secure in knowing that should something go awry, the diagnostics we utilize will be specific and comprehensive. If the following questions can be immediately answered: ‘What happened?’ ‘Who is affected?’ ‘Where is the fault?’ then the diagnostics can be considered up to snuff. I know I’m getting redundant here but PROFINET does that.

My boss just sent me a quick memo that he was in a meeting and the higher-ups want this all done in less time than we had originally allotted! We won’t need to worry about complex wiring diagrams during documentation because it’s all on a single cable and any network topology is possible. I can do a Line topology, Star topology, Ring topology, plus wireless. Installation will be simplified because people are familiar with RJ45 connectors and Ethernet technology. In this case, the electricians won’t be scared off by termination resistors or D-sub connectors. Commissioning will optimized because of the advanced diagnostics built into PROFINET. It appears that I’ll be able to shorten the time of implementation and ramp-up ahead of schedule because PROFINET does that.

And thus concludes the thought process from our Senior Advanced Manufacturing Engineer for a producer of widgets. His story should highlight the unique breadth and depth of PROFINET as an automation network.

–Michael Bowne