PROFINET grows as PROFIBUS continues to flourish | Automation.com

PROFINET grows as PROFIBUS continues to flourish

PROFINET grows as PROFIBUS continues to flourish

October 12, 2012 - The 18th General Assembly Meeting (GAM) of PI North America, which took place September 26-27th 2012, benefited from “one of the most impressive PROFINET presentations I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to,” according to Executive Director Michael J Bryant. The keynote, delivered by Mike Bastian, Global Controls Manager of Ford Powertrain, described how, over the past five years, he has led his company towards far greater standardization of automation systems in its assembly lines.

PROFINET communications are at the heart of our efforts, Bastian said: The robustness and speed of PROFINET brings many benefits, one example being a "virtual RFID system" based around a high-availability, redundant PLC system that has enabled Ford Powertrain to dispense with parts tagging. Bastian added that his company is now achieving ‘world class’ production standards to match any in the industry.

“Taking ownership of both hardware and software is another part of the process,” he said. “With "ownership" comes responsibility, which makes people nervous. But it’s the right thing to do because it brings better control, closer integration with IT, improved throughput and better diagnostics." Bastian commented that his department is now looking towards better energy management, where “we believe a lot of work can be done." Many of Bastian’s initiatives are now rolling out across other Ford plants.

In his opening address, Executive Director Bryant spoke of PI’s other technology, PROFIBUS: “The PROFIBUS market is expected to grow in 2012 by a further 4 million nodes, to reach a total of about 44 million," he said. “It's reassuring that PROFIBUS continues to flourish even as PROFINET is escalating its market share. However, he believes that the greater flexibility, higher performance and greater versatility of PROFINET will increasingly take precedence. "Today, every 5th device sold is for PROFINET compared to some years ago when it was 1 in 15," he concluded.

PROFINET also featured in a presentation by Stefan Gallmann, Head of Industry Management, Windenergy, Phoenix Contact. He explained how it’s used to integrate the control systems of wind turbines. It’s supporting safety too, he said. Implementing PROFINET greatly simplifies the network architecture of a typical wind turbine park, he added.

Day 2 of the GAM saw the focus turn to process automation. Hunter Harrington from the PROFI Interface Centre in Johnson City - a North American PI Competence Centre – described the PROFINET proxy solution that allows sub-networks such as PROFIBUS PA, HART and FOUNDATION Fieldbus to be connected to PROFINET. Later, PI Chairman Karsten Schneider explained the 3.02 Profile for PROFIBUS PA which defines process-specific functionality such as device exchange similar to 4-20mA by automatic ident. number adaption, simplified but powerful diagnostics and faster parameter transmission.

The process theme was later emphasized by Jim Simmons from DuPont who described the fieldbus "learning curve" that was triggered by his company’s purchase of a PCS7 control system. “Through that project I have become a fieldbus proselytizer within DuPont,” he said, adding “I believe any new control system installation should have to justify NOT using fieldbus technology.”

About PI North America
PI North America is a non-profit, member-supported automation organization for fieldbus and Industrial Ethernet, specifically PROFIBUS and PROFINET. It is dedicated to supporting the discrete and process industries in achieving beneficial results using these networks. PI North America also assists device manufacturers in the development and marketing of PROFIBUS and PROFINET products. It is one of 27 regional associations that make up the global PI community. Established in 1989, PI has more than 1,400 members, who have developed and now supply more than 2,500 devices. To date, more than 40,000,000 PROFIBUS devices have been installed and the total number of PROFINET devices installed now exceeds 4,000,000. Members of PI North America include vendors of hardware, software and systems as well as end users and operators, scientific institutes, universities, distributors, and system integrators.
 

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