The PI North America General Assembly Meeting first afternoon started with each of our Board of Directors companies explaining why they were on board – on board with the technologies and on THE Board (of Directors).

First up was Raj Batra of Siemens. He explained how PROFINET underlies the Siemens approach to industry. PROFINET supports the key industry challenges of efficiency, performance, and flexibility. Good point! And here’s one of his slides supporting that:

Raj also provided some application examples – one in automotive and one in aviation. The aviation one used PROFINET to wirelessly communicate with Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) moving huge parts of planes.

Siemens has of course been active in PROFIBUS and PROFINET development from the beginning; they were one of the original 13 companies (and 5 universities) that started developing PROFIBUS back in 1987. And they have been on the PI North America Board of Directors from the beginning in 1994. (I know because I was on the Board then as well, representing an obscure HMI company.)

GE Intelligent Platforms’ presentation was given by Darrell Halterman since Board Member Bernie Anger was called away at the last moment. He did a great job showing how PROFINET fits into the GE Intelligent Platforms architecture. He also had an automotive application story. They scheduled an update from a legacy fieldbus to PROFINET over a three-day weekend. It was well-planned and all 150 drives and 32 IO nodes were converted quickly – they were painting cars again in just 6 hours! The second application was a “major appliance manufacturer in North America.” Sound familiar; yes, it was this one.  Darrell had it in the category of “Leveraging an Ecosystem of Vendors” with these bullets:

  • Replacing hard-wired control systems with PROFINET
  • Found offerings for everything from discrete and analog IO to pneumatic valve controllers
  • Reduced controls footprint, cost, and installation time
  • Standardization, even with multiple suppliers

GE Intelligent Platforms has not been on the board from the beginning, but they have been very active in the Working Groups and in our activities.

I expected these sessions to be four good presentations and it was really like having four short keynotes! And I’ll cover the next two next time.

–Carl Henning