Highlights from PI NA General Assembly Meeting 2011 | Automation.com

Highlights from PI NA General Assembly Meeting 2011

January 092012
Highlights from PI NA General Assembly Meeting 2011
January 2012
By Bill Lydon, Editor
The 17th Annual PI North America General Assembly Meeting was held October 4-6, 2011 in Phoenix, AZ and included vendors and users who provided updates on PROFIBUS and PROFINET technologies.   The current board of directors represent some major industry supplies - Raj Batra of Siemens Industry, Betty Naylor-McDevitt of Invensys Operations Management , Bernie Anger of GE Intelligent Platforms, and Jason Knuteson of Endress+Hauser.  
Michael Bryant, Executive Director of PI North America, reported that there were 3,000,000 PROFINET nodes shipped through 2010 and 39,200,000 PROFIBUS nodes shipped through September 2011. There are over 700 network engineers that have been trained and certified by PI North America. The organization in North America has 143 member companies. PROFINET grew 43% in 2010 and presently there are forty-eight supplier companies working on PROFINET with 44 having certified products. 
PI Survey
PI North America surveyed over 600 automation users about the importance of PROFINET functions.   Diagnostic was the most important, followed by safety, IT integration, security, motion control, and redundancy, respectively. More than half of the respondents reported they do not use PROFINET because PROFIBUS is sufficient for their needs.
GE Intelligent Platforms Selects PROFINET as Flagship Network
Bernie Anger, General Manager of Control and Communication Systems at GE Intelligent Platforms, discussed why they have adopted and invested in PROFINET as their primary PAC (Programmable Automation Controller) network. Read the full article.
Chrysler - Fiat Adopts PROFINET for CArS, Control Architecture Standard
ChJulian Joe, PE, Senior Manager, Robotic & Controls, Chrysler described the new, CArS, Control Architecture Standard at the meeting. The CArS architecture is a modern systems level approach defined by the joint Chrysler and Fiat Manufacturing Engineering Council that improves the process flow for designing and implementing production lines. In order to have a cohesive architecture CArS has standardized on PROFINET and has a close partnering agreement with Siemens. Read the full article.
PI has been developing a wireless standard for discrete applications. The WSAN (Wireless Sensor Actuator Network) will be a network solution for devices including proximity sensors (inductive, optical, etc.), light barriers, pilot devices, pneumatic/hydraulic actuators and I/O modules. These classes of devices are part of an automation system used for (real-time) control of the process and mounted on machines or in the field. The WSAN specification has been completed and is under review in the organization. This is a coordinated effort since the Wireless Cooperation Team (WCT) was formed by the Fieldbus Foundation, HART Communication Foundation, and Profibus Nutzerorganisation e.V. (PNO) to develop an interface specification and compliance guidelines to integrate a universally accepted wireless solution into the HART™, FOUNDATION™ fieldbus, PROFIBUS and PROFINET communications networks. The common interface is intended to make it easier for automation end-users to take advantage of evolving wireless technologies.   While process instruments are characterized by slow cycle times (seconds or fractions thereof), discrete devices typically operate much faster (milliseconds). PI is working with leading discrete vendors to develop this wireless standard for discrete sensors and actuators. The protocol will be the IO-Link standard which is a wired sensor and actuator technology.   A major principal of WSAN is to have efficient mapping of wireless data to PI protocols.
Professor Dr. Frithjof Klasen from the Institute for Automation & Industrial IT at Cologne University made a presentation describing results of a study at a Volkswagen and a Mercedes-Benz plant focused on PROFIenergy. He stated that PROFIenergy was developed in response to calls from AIDA (Automation Initiative of German Automobile Manufacturers) group (which includes Audi, BMW, Daimler, Porsche and Volkswagen) to reduce energy consumption.   A key part of PROFIenergy is to place energy consuming devices into sleep-modes during non-productive periods.
Cyber Security
Joel Langhill, The SCADAhacker (http://scadahacker.com), gave a sobering presentation on cyber security.   Langhill has over 25 years industrial control systems experience and has focused on cyber security in recent years.  He is a Certified Ethical Hacker, Cisco Certified Network Associate, and TÜV Functional Safety Engineer. Using multiple computers and an industrial controller he set up a various corporate network configurations from enterprise to controller and proceeded to hack into them and effectively render the controller useless. Langhill cited facts worth pondering:
  • 40% of the critical infrastructure providers discovered Stuxnet in their environments
  • Only 57% launched special security audits or other measures in response
  • 6,253 software vulnerabilities were reported in 2010
  •  3 billion malware attacks from 286 million malware variants occurred in 2010 - up 93% percent on 2009
Activity in 2011 has shown that researchers are shifting their attention to industrial control systems and finding numerous vulnerabilities. The Conflicker virus at a SABMiller site caused 4 hours of lost production, costing $46,000/minute in lost revenue. Langhill pointed out that automation and control systems are at risk NOT because they are connected to the Internet, but because they are connected to enterprise networks that are connected to the Internet. Control system hosts located behind firewalls tend to be less thoroughly patched than hosts on enterprise networks even with active patch management programs. Actual roll-out of patches can take several weeks or even months. It is important to apply patches when available because systems are more vulnerable when this information is known to hackers.  
One of the cyber-attacks Langhill illustrated was the infection of a system using a PDF document that had a virus embedded in it. He emphasized the importance of applying updates to PDF readers.
Embed Chips
There are a number of options available for embedding PROFINET in products. Vendors who offer integrated chips and FPGA solutions include Hilscher, Innovasic, Softing, Gridconnect, and Phoenix Contact. 
Phoenix Contact gave a presentation on their new TPS-1 - Single Chip for PROFINET. The TPS-1 was developed by KW Software (A Phoenix Contact Company) product. The single chip is nicknamed the “Tiger Chip” for PROFINET and has a price tag of approximately $18. The chip is approximately 260 mm²and is specifically designed for compact field device and drives with an integrated PROFINET Stack, CPU, RAM and PHYs, integrated 2-Port IRT switch with 8 priority levels, and parallel/serial host interface. PROFINET Version 2.3 for RT and IRT are supported.
Thoughts & Observations
As usual the PI North America meeting was engineering oriented with a wealth of useful information that was, in some cases, thought provoking.
PROFIenergy is a clever idea that provides the kind of framework required to configure control and automation systems to save energy in concert with production flow.
GE Intelligent Platforms investment in PROFINET as its primary network architecture is significant. Read the full article.
The Chrysler - Fiat adoption of PROFINET for their CArS, Control Architecture Standard is another significant development. Read the full article.
The integrated solutions for PROFINET are a big step forward since they encapsulate the hardware and protocol into easy to apply chips.   This is analogous to the evolution of commercial Ethernet where interface boards originally cost $100s and required special software drivers to function. Now this is all embedded in chips.
The WSAN wireless standard to simplify machine wiring and make more information available from discrete sensors certainly is another innovative concept that will be interesting to watch.
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