Field testing of PROFIBUS PA Profile V3.02

The PROFIBUS PA Profile V3.02 offers a way to significantly reduce the engineering and operating costs associated with fieldbus technology. PI (PROFIBUS & PROFINET International) has successfully completed the standards development activities and the implementation of the profile in the certification process. Now, application-relevant field tests shall demonstrate the effects of the new functionalities in the field devices and host systems available in the market.

The Profile V3.02 simplifies device integration over the life cycle of a production plant. It includes provisions for marking the software version on the device, automatic adaptation to the functionality of predecessor versions, as well as vendor-independant guidelines for modifications to device software and their effect on compatibility. In addition, the mandatory mapping of specific diagnostic information of field devices onto standardized categories (NE107 - Self-monitoring and diagnostics of field devices) and the essential fast transfer of field device data, e.g., during transmission of parameterized data during device replacement, have been taken into consideration.

These properties will now be tested extensively in the test laboratory of BIS Prozesstechnik in Frankfurt, Germany. The tests, which will be attended by NAMUR-AK 2.6 “Fieldbus”, will cover all innovations of the PROFIBUS PA Profile V3.02.

An important first test is the verification of the switchover of a field device to the functionality of a predecessor model – for a variety of host systems/controllers in industrial use. The field-related tests will also check the mapping of diagnostic information in the field device to the categories in NAMUR Recommendation 107 (failure, maintenance required, out of specification, function check). A further test case will focus on the optimization of transmission times for uploading/downloading parameters and its implementation in systems.

The PA Profile V3.02 represents a milestone in the development of PROFIBUS for process automation. PI (PROFIBUS & PROFINET International) will therefore urge and motivate its members that supply products for PROFIBUS PA to integrate this new profile into devices as quickly as possible: approximately 12 to 15 different types of devices should be introduced on the market by 2012.