I-Device is an optional PROFINET feature, which operates on the controller level. This feature allows a controller to be both a device and controller simultaneously, allowing for controller to controller (some might say peer to peer) communications with PROFINET. I-Device functionality brings many benefits. For example, it enables the setup of communications between IO controllers from different manufacturers in an uncomplicated manner. The “I” in I-Device stands for “intelligent” device because each controller has its own application program (logic).
One example where you may utilize I-Device is if you have a main controller and other “sub-level” controllers that require information from the main controller. The sub-level controllers act as IO device peers, and the master controller sends them the appropriate information. Then, the sub-level controllers use that information to communicate with their local IO devices.
I-Device gives you the capability to configure a PROFINET real-time connection (RT/IRT) between two or more controllers, regardless of their manufacturers. Implementation is uncomplicated. The user sets up I -Devices as regular IO devices on the controller. For programming, it’s only necessary to handle the IO logic. First, you will setup the I-Device by creating a configuration and max IO buffer size on the I-Device controller. Then you will export the GSD file of the I-Device and import it into the controller configuration tool for set up. Then, each controller has an input and output buffer to move data to/from the partners in your application. The following diagram shows an example of an I-Device setup and the benefits:
I-Device is an optional feature of PROFINET. If your vendor supports it, there should be a way to generate and export a device GSD file and import it into other controller tools for setup. I-Devices allow users to implement a number of network configurations: an I-Device can be part of a modular architecture with higher-level controllers and support multi-vendor controller communication in real-time without special communication programming.
The full article on PROFINET I-Device was published on the PROFINETUniversity.com website by the PROFI Interface Center.
Learn about more PROFINET Features with this detailed slide set: