A PROFINET ‘proxy’ is a black-box interface sitting between PROFINET and a sub-network such as PROFIBUS. It differs from a conventional gateway device in that it maps the underlying protocol to PROFINET. This allows a controller on the PROFINET network to access devices on the sub-network with ease because all functions and services are directly available without further interpretation.
With proxies, investments in the skills, equipment, and software associated with the sub-network can be retained. No changes to automation systems at the fieldbus level are required; fieldbus networks can simply be connected into the PROFINET architecture and utilized as before. Therefore, PROFINET can greatly assist in the expansion and deployment of distributed automation architectures. It also simplifies greater vertical integration, moving manufacturing closer to enterprise IT networks.
PROFINET is also highly scalable and modular in concept, not every feature needs to be deployed at once. New users can start simple and build as required. Migration can happen in steps, allowing plant and personnel to build experience while improving productivity and profitability.