The technologies of PI (PROFIBUS & PROFINET International) form a strong backbone for the complete range of applications in process automation. All specifications and guidelines are developed from the outset based on the requirements of users of production and process automation systems alike. Thus, in particular, these technologies can also handle hybrid applications in which not only continuous or batch applications can be covered but also discrete applications. In process automation, too, there are many discrete applications for which the same communication systems found in production automation are used. This is true, in particular, for many existing systems in the water and wastewater, food and beverage, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries.
PROFIBUS is the only fieldbus to fully handle both application areas for years. PROFINET is well on its way to doing so. Today, PROFINET can already be used in any production automation application. With functions such as CiR (Configuration in Run), Redundancy, Time synchronization, and Time stamping (Sequence of Events) and the proven standardized proxy solution for integrating fieldbus systems of any type, an excellent basis already exists for establishing PROFINET as the backbone of process automation. When the "PA Devices for PROFINET" Profile is complete, consistent use of PROFINET from the field to the control system will be possible in non-hazardous areas. The requirements for hazardous areas will be met by integrating PROFIBUS PA systems.
There is a rapidly growing trend toward the use of Industrial Ethernet in process automation applications, even down to the field level. With its available functions, PROFINET is well on its way to becoming the market leader in process automation. Several member companies have already recognized this and have started to offer PROFINET products for process automation on the market. Some of these were on display at the PI booth at Hanover Fair.