Profisafe and Profibus for High Availability and Safety in the Process Industries

Process fieldbuses and open fieldbus safety protocols have caught the attention of process users in recent years thanks to the potential to cut costs and improve diagnostics.  Separate the facts from the hype in this ARC white paper: Profisafe and Profibus for High Availability and Safety in the Process Industries.

Executive Summary Excerpt

Process automation has profited tremendously from technology advances in recent years. Distributed intelligence, network safety protocols, Industrial Ethernet, and wireless networking are just a few of the enabling technologies that have brought measurable value to process manufacturing. But, traditionally, process users are extremely conservative decision-makers who don’t accept new technology until it is well proven, or until investments in these technologies can be corroborated with solid business arguments. To help users sort out facts from the hype, manufacturers are learning how to match technology benefits to specific business metrics.

Process fieldbuses and open fieldbus safety protocols have caught the attention of process users in recent years thanks to the potential to cut costs and improve diagnostics. Modern fieldbuses have helped to unify network architectures and created a high level of data transparency from which applications such as Plant Asset Management and Manufacturing Execution Systems profit tremendously. At the same time, process safety solutions have evolved from being a cost burden and “necessary evil” to a strategy for improving productivity by increasing system availability.

Profibus International, an industrial consortium of automation suppliers, has mated safety with industrial networking to create solutions for “built-in” safety based on all available media. End-users are now taking advantage of these technologies to unify their network architectures and eliminate the need for a second, parallel bus while achieving safety integrity levels up to SIL3. Benefits of networked safety include shortened start-up times, lower wiring costs, better diagnostics, and, in the long-term, faster and more efficient maintenance.

Because process instrumentation customers have made substantial investments in existing Profibus PA-, HART- or Foundation Fieldbus H1-compatible process field devices, the adoption of any new technology will be evolutionary, rather than revolutionary. In addition, many process plants have installed bases of intelligent devices – from simple remote I/O to motor control centers – that are networked with legacy device networks such as Profibus DP, Foundation Fieldbus, or DeviceNet. Therefore, the key success factor for new networking solutions in process plants will be
the availability of a migration path that lets users preserve their investments in legacy networks and devices by integrating existing networks into a common backbone.

Table of Contents

  1. Safety and Availability: Two Sides of the Same Coin
  2. Business Drivers in Process Automation and Safety
  3. PROFIBUS and PROFIsafe Build the Foundation for Process Safety
  4. Case Study: Profisafe in a Pipeline Compressor Station
  5. Recommendations
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