PROFINET and PROFIBUS News from Hanover Fair

Hanover Fair welcomed 180,000 visitors, visiting 5,000 exhibitors from over 100 countries. One of those exhibitors was PI. PI coordinated the Field Communication Lounge, an exhibit booth hosted by six networking organizations. Over 100 companies participated in the booth. The booth included a presentation area, individual company kiosks, and displays. PI displays included PROFINET and PROFINET in Process.

In addition to the activities at the booth, there was news from PI too:

PROFINET in Process

PROFIBUS PA and PROFINET play well together. The addition of functions such as CiR (Configuration in Run), Redundancy, Time synchronization, and Time stamping (Sequence of Events) and the proven standardized proxy solution for integrating fieldbus systems of any type, are an excellent basis for establishing PROFINET as the backbone of process automation. These four functions are a subset of the 170 requirements identified to implement process applications with PROFINET. They have all been accounted for. While PROFIBUS PA (proxied in to PROFINET) will continue to be required in hazardous areas for the foreseeable future, we’ve looked forward to PROFINET being used in instruments that are installed in normal atmospheres. In the booth, process devices with PROFINET were on display.


The numbers for PROFINET and PROFIBUS represent significant achievement. The numbers (nodes installed through 2013):

  • PROFIBUS: 47,400,000
  • PROFINET: 7,600,000

The PROFIBUS number represents an increase of 3,600,000 just in 2013. Of the total installed PROFIBUS nodes, 8,200,000 are in process plants. The PROFINET number includes the 20% increase in the 2013 numbers over 2012. PI uses an independent auditor to certify the numbers so an accurate count is assured. Independent market research indicates that PROFINET is the most-installed of the Industrial Ethernets and the fastest growing.

Another numbers success story is PROFIsafe with over 2,950,000 nodes installed, a 33% increase. Because PROFIsafe can seamlessly carry safety telegrams from PROFIBUS to PROFINET, PROFIsafe-enabled PROFIBUS installed nodes can be incorporated into system upgrades that use PROFINET.

Condition Monitoring

With the PROFINET specification complete and stable, work continues on application profiles. An application profile standardizes the way data is sent and received to simplify user interaction; the underlying communications protocol is not impacted. As one example, PI is the only organization that has created standards for taking information from the plant floor to production management systems. (See the whitepaper MES and PROFINET.)  Work has begun in a PI Working Group to wrap up PROFINET’s diagnostic advantages in an application profile.

Now an additional effort has been launched for Condition Monitoring. PI is stepping up its activities in the area of condition monitoring. A working group has been set up for this and given the task of implementing requirements for uniform condition monitoring communication in PI technologies.

Condition monitoring systems (CMS) obtain and interpret status information from systems and machines to enable timely detection of malfunctions caused by conditions such as wear, use, and contamination. Condition monitoring (CM) is becoming more and more important in automation. Drive and controller manufacturers as well as sensor and component suppliers are already working on specific technical concepts and products. Today’s solutions can be integrated in an overall system only with significant effort. From the user perspective, however, holistic solutions based on standards are needed. A standardized protocol is needed for efficient use of condition monitoring systems of different manufacturers and technologies (pneumatic, electrical, hydraulic, and mechanical systems) across machines.

The ongoing work is based on the detailed requirements for uniform CM communication of the VDMA working group “Fieldbus Neutral Reference Architecture for Condition Monitoring in Production Automation” (VDMA 24582).

This work will culminate in publication of a general Condition Monitoring application profile that covers function blocks, configuration of field devices, and mapping to existing communication mechanisms of PROFINET and IO-Link and can be combined with other functionalities (e.g., PROFIdrive).

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