Profinet in process automation

Wednesday, 11 April, 2007


Profibus & Profinet International (PI) is standardising the use of Profinet in process automation. After completing the integration of Profibus PA in Profinet IO, work was extended to include the integration of HART and Foundation Fieldbus. The particular requirements of process automation for Profinet are being drawn up by the PI working group, DCS Requirements, in conjunction with NAMUR.

These requirements will then be implemented by several working groups simultaneously. A particularly important aspect of this is the compatible extension of the Profibus application profiles, which have been proven in many process control applications.

Profibus's strengths are seamless communication for process and factory automation, safety and drive technology as well as the application profiles for all important applications. A comparable strategy is being pursued with Profinet. As Profinet has been widely implemented in factory automation and solutions are available for high-end motion-control and safety applications, Profinet will also be optimised for use in process automation. Core functions based on Profinet IO will still be able to be used unchanged.

In the first step, existing process automation communication solutions will be integrated in Profinet. This has already been done for Profibus PA and the integration of HART will be completed by the end of 2006.

Work has begun on the integration of Foundation Fieldbus and is expected to be completed by the middle of 2007. This will allow process instruments that are already installed to continue to be used unchanged in Profinet systems in the future, regardless of whether they use HART, Profibus PA or Foundation Fieldbus.

Over the next two to three years, the PI working groups will concentrate on challenges such as system redundancy, time synchronisation and stamping, as well as engineering. At the same time, Profibus profiles such as RIO for Process Control, Weighing and Dosage Devices, Intelligent Pumps, or Lab Devices will be extended for use with Profinet.

Seamless communication from the field level via DCS systems right up to company-wide information systems such as MES and ERP will offer process automation users additional benefits. The complete Profinet system functionality for process automation will be available in 2008/2009.

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