With the addition of four new PROFINET functions for process automation – CiR, redundancy, time synchronization, and time stamping – together with the already existing proxy solution of the past few years for integration of fieldbus systems in PROFINET, PI (PROFIBUS & PROFINET International) has completed the first step towards establishing PROFINET in the process automation market. These functions allow already today to use PROFINET in combination with the proven fieldbuses like PROFIBUS PA, FOUNDATION fieldbus or HART in process plants. The recently launched project with the goal to implement the successful PA Profile for PROFINET will assure a transparent communication from the field area to the control system level.
The goal of the project is to make the PROFIBUS-based PA Profile accessible for field devices with PROFINET interface used in non-hazardous areas. Thus, in the future users can choose between PROFIBUS DP and PROFINET IO based on their requirements as well as they will profit from the extended diagnostic possibilities and simplified device handling.
The next step is to gather detailed information on requirements and to provide use cases. Work on adding the requirements to the specification is expected to begin in the 2nd quarter of 2013 and should be completed within a year.
This step raises the PROFINET customer convenience to a new level and is fit for the requirements of process automation. The combination of proven innovative and new technology offers users unprecedented functionality. Hazardous areas will continue to be excluded. Here, the two-wire technology of PROFIBUS PA (bus feed) has been well-established. The proxy solution assures a transparent communication between PROFINET and PROFIBUS PA, so that not only hazardous areas can be connected by means of the proven two-wire technique of PROFIBUS PA, but also wide distances can be bridged and field devices can be supplied with electrical power.