Search

News from Profibus / Profinet – Part 11 PROFINET for Process Automation

Editor: Gabriele Ilg

In order to operate plants with even greater levels of reliability, efficiency, and precision, information from all operative areas must be made available, evaluated, and analyzed in a transparent manner. This, in turn, requires increased collaboration among IT and automation resources. Currently, the trend is moving towards deploying open IT standards to a greater extent in automation environments, with Ethernet technology functioning as a communications medium across all levels.

(Bild: Profibus Nutzerorganisation)

The older man and the man with the beard had surely noticed that their young colleague was quite adamant about the arguments he brought forward prior to making his last speech, despite having seemed a little distracted. Somehow the topic of coordinated communication and collaboration among the automation engineering and IT departments struck a personal chord with him. The two older men still could not relate very well to this, however…

In order to operate plants with even greater levels of reliability, efficiency, and precision, information from all operative areas must be made available, evaluated, and analyzed in a transparent manner. This, in turn, requires increased collaboration among IT and automation resources. Currently, the trend is moving towards deploying open IT standards to a greater extent in automation environments, with Ethernet technology functioning as a communications medium across all levels.

PROFIBUS & PROFINET International (PI) therefore created an Ethernet-based communications standard with PROFINET that has long been established in production automation, motion control, and safety-oriented applications as well as caters to the requirements typically associated with process automation in conjunction with PROFIBUS PA.

Requirements for Process Automation

Many plants used in the process industry operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for many years at a time. The requirements placed on ensuring the reliability of these plants are therefore very high, particularly when it comes to ongoing processes. At the same time, plant owners and operators expect the older and newer technologies to harmonize in a hybrid production environment. Both aspects move decision makers to exercise greater caution in investing in process automation than is displayed when a decision is reached to upgrade production automation facilities. Special, targeted functions were therefore implemented for PROFINET that address the requirements of the process industry and ensure a sound investment in the long term.

Process Automation Functions

The PROFINET functions offered to facilitate cyclic and acyclic data exchange, configuration-in-run capability, diagnosis and maintenance, redundancy, time-based synchronization, and time stamping have paved the way for integrating PROFINET technology in process plants as well. Adding to this are several proxy solutions that have already been available for several years now and aid in integrating fieldbus systems such as PROFIBUS PA, FOUNDATION fieldbus, and HART in operation environments. By allowing users to freely select from among topology, star, tree, line, and ring structures while supporting different media such as category 5 copper cable, fiber-optic cable, and industrial WLAN communication, a PROFINET network can be flexibly adapted to the plant structure in place. The combination of proven and new technologies also gives rise to a wide variety of functions and a comprehensive, universal communications concept. Realizing transparent communication between PROFINET and PROFIBUS PA not only makes it possible to integrate areas with designated explosion protection, but also to span large distances and supply field devices with electrical power.

“I told the youngster that I would buy him a beer at the bar across the street", said the older man to the man with the beard. "You also want to come along, don't you?”. “Of course”, he mumbled, “but he will now have to drink two beers as I had the same idea!” Both laughed. During their careers, the two men never did anything together outside of the workplace. The new possibilities offered by automation technology fascinated them, however, and they wanted to know more…

To be continued: Part 12

www.profibus.com

Further parts of our Profibus series:

Part 1: PROFIBUS – a Proven Technology

Part 2: PROFIBUS — Diagnostics the Easy Way

Part 3: Profibus — Device Management the Easy Way

Part 4: PROFIBUS — for Stable Process Control

Part 5: PROFIBUS — Certification Ensures Compatibility

Part 6: PROFIBUS — Simple and Safe in Explosion Hazard Zones

Part 7: PROFIBUS — Lowering Lifecycle Costs

Part 8: PROFIBUS Simplifies Device Management

Part 9: How PROFIBUS Makes Network Planning a Breeze

Part 10: Condition Monitoring with PROFIBUS PA

Part 11: PROFINET for Process Automation

Part 12: PROFIBUS — Cost–Efficient Throughout the Lifecycle

Watch the video to find out more about the young engineer, the older man, the man with the beard and PROFIBUS PA.

(ID:42436311)