The gateway to safe and flexible PROFINET connection

LAPP Australia Pty Ltd
Wednesday, 01 November, 2023

The gateway to safe and flexible PROFINET connection

PROFINET (a portmanteau of the words process field network) is the established technical standard for data communication over Industrial Ethernet. It is essential to the secure, accurate and reliable movement of data between devices and networks.

To streamline these multiple processes, LAPP Australia is introducing the globally-respected Helmholz range of industrial automation equipment to Australia, as it expands its connectivity, IT and automation solutions to meet local demand.

Part of the Helmholz range of automation solutions is a series of PN/CAN gateways, which enable a safe and flexible connection of any CAN (Controller Area Network) device to PROFINET.

Helmholz has more than 20 years of experience with CAN applications, across a broad range of industries, and has product variants including CANopen, CAN Slave, CAN Layer2, and is now introducing a new variant for SAE J1939 CAN protocol.

This new product is easily configurable and can be used as a complete SAE J1939 device, or for free diagnostics.

“Like the broader Helmholz range, this new gateway has been built to be easy to use, so that it can readily be added to existing setups, and can begin delivering value to operations,” says Uthaya Sivanathan, Technical Solutions Manager – Industrial Automation and Networking Division, LAPP Australia.

“The I/O (input/output) data of the CAN nodes are mapped transparently and freely configurable into the PROFINET network and processed directly in the PLC (Programmable Logic Controller). The PN/CAN gateway is integrated into the hardware configurator with a GSDML file and fully configured there. Further software tools for parameterisation or handling blocks for programming are not necessary, which makes the use of the gateway particularly uncomplicated,” he says.

In addition to the standard functions of the common protocols, many special applications can be solved with all PN/CAN gateways from Helmholz, such as:

  • Maximum configuration of a plant by dynamic use of the real device configuration.
  • Controlled re-parameterisation of CANopen nodes from the application during start-up and operation (hot-plug/hot-swap).
  • Fast data transmission in transparent mode with over 100 ring buffers for highly parallel communication.
  • Change of bit rate and node ID of CAN devices via LSS protocol.
  • Integration of non-compliant CANopen devices into a CANopen network.
  • Full SAE J1939 device functionality through flexible application programming.

From PROFINET to the cloud

The need to connect fieldbus networks to higher communication levels is increasing rapidly, says Uthaya, who is responsible for a team specialising in industrial automation and networking, which can provide expert advice in specifying the right CAN solution, including for specific applications.

“Usability first has been a motto for Helmholz, and they understand that familiarity with the system means that users can better address the issues of modern connectivity and plant networking,” he says.

With Helmholz technology, users can connect directly to the field or PLC level to the cloud. The data is SSL encrypted to be securely transferred, and no additional software is required for the new PROFINET/MQTT (Message Queuing Telemetry Transport) coupler. The compact design of the Helmholz bus couplers also saves space, thereby enabling subsequent installations in existing systems.

The PN/MQTT coupler enables the direct transfer of data between a PROFINET machine (PLC) and an MQTT broker. Values can be sent from the PLC ("Publish") as well as values can be received from an MQTT broker via PROFINET ("Subscribe"). The PN/MQTT Coupler can connect brokers both locally in its own network ("On premise") and via the Internet in the cloud.

“Direct integration into the PLC puts full control of the data exchange with the IoT world in the hands of the machine manufacturer,” says Uthaya.

Local support

“With products like our standard cable ranges, customers look at the features they need and buy straight from the website. But for industrial automation and networking systems there are more complex requirements that the IT Division serves, while offering our trademark service and quality advantages,” explains Uthaya.

“Helmholz has an excellent track record of more than 30 years of proven and practical success, extending from industry leaders such as ThyssenKrupp drive components and Mann green energy efficiency solutions, through to specialist machine manufacturing and industrial automation innovators, so they are a natural complement to LAPP’s cabling and connection technologies, as we expand our industrial automation offering,” he said.

LAPP Australia has grown from seven to 35 employees in Australia, since a full subsidiary was established six years ago, and continues to deliver local service, local stock, local technical advice, and local support to customers nationwide.

“We encourage network and automation engineers to speak to us. We are happy to provide advice upfront with no obligation, because we’d always prefer the optimum solution to be chosen, rather than picking a product and making it fit the application,” says Uthaya.

“When it comes to automation and networking systems, it’s usually best to start with the outcome you’d like to achieve, and work backwards until you find the right technology, products, and software to achieve this desired result,” he said.

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