Training Class Catch-up

Seems like I just blogged about the Louisville PROFINET one-day training class, but since then I’ve been to Tampa (PROFINET), Denver (PROFIBUS), and Long Beach (AS-i).  And now I’m writing this on the plane to the final PROFINET one-day training event of the year (Chicago for PROFINET and a PROFINET Developer Workshop).  My colleagues are covering the final PROFIBUS of the year in Indianapolis on Thursday.  The final issue of the year of PROFInews North American Edition publishes tomorrow as well.  It has all the statistics for the year’s training classes.  Read it at under the Newsletter menu item.

From PROFINET in Tampa

I was joined by Mike Hales from the PROFI Interface Center for this one.  Hunter was off talking to working group members so we can update our course for next year.  Hunter learned that one of the things we’ve been showing as a future enhancement is now available.  We only talk about two “futures” anyway as we want to explain about the things PROFINET already does.

We got some feedback that one of the demos was too detailed.  Something we’ll watch for.  We also got feedback that we should add more demos.  We got some praise for conscientiously detailing every acronym.  There are certainly plenty of them.  We even have a bacronym or two.

I’ll finish with some praise for the class from one of the course valuations: “I thought this was great training that moved along well!”

From PROFIBUS in Denver

First of all, we owe the attendees in Denver an apology – the demo equipment was not there.  Ron always carries it as baggage to make sure it arrives with him.  That’s a good theory anyway.  It arrived just after the class ended.  What is this with Denver and baggage anyway?

A theme running through the course evaluations in Denver was to show more comparisons with competitive technologies.  We’ll definitely do that in 2009. 

One evaluator would have like more detail on safety over the bus, especially the details of the safety controller and IO.  There is no time during the class, but I recommend the webinars at  You can find those webinars here.

We left at least one person confused between PROFIBUS DP and PROFIBUS PA.  Here’s the quick overview:







Physical layer


   Multi-drop serial comms

   Separately powered


   Manchester-encoded, bus-powered

Maximum packet size

   244 bytes

   244 bytes

Maximum speed

   12 Mbaud

   31.25 kbaud

Intrinsically safe



Application: DP is generally for discrete automation and PA for process, but there are also DP process instruments.

Another person lamented that we did not show PROFIBUS diagnostic tools.  This is really more of a time issue, but it should be noted that suppliers of the two most popular tools exhibit at almost every PROFIBUS class – Softing and Grid Connect.

Someone suggested that we have the PROFIBUS and PROFINET classes on back-to-back days.  While we would love to do that, most attendees tell us that they can’t be out of the plant for two days in a row.

Some final observations from the course evaluation forms:

   “Overall good course.  It’s information that will be useful at my job site.”

   “We were well fed!  Thank you.”

I have to say that the food is uniformly good wherever we go, but in Denver the afternoon break consisted of “2 savory snacks.”  This translated to fruit smoothies and trail mix.  My style is more like chocolate chip cookies.  Note to self: read hotel contract more carefully!

From AS-interface in Long Beach

I filled-in at the AS-interface class in Long Beach and was pleased to see many of the folks who attended the PROFIBUS in the Process Industries class we held there in late September.  That’s further indication of how complementary AS-I is to PROFIBUS (and to those other fieldbuses, too, I have to admit).  This was almost a standing room only crowd and the most active of the AS-I classes this year with a lot of excellent questions.  Many of the attendees already were using AS-I but had not received much training.

“Great seminar with lots of good information.”

Training Classes for 2009

We are still in the process of creating the 2009 schedule.  Watch the website home page for news.