PROFINET and MES: Closing The Communication Gap

PROFINET and MES: Closing The Communication Gap

Nuremberg ? November 29, 2006: PROFIBUS International has released the ?PROFINET and MES Maintenance Operations? guideline, which describes interface functions that support MES maintenance systems, thus facilitating consistent communication with PROFINET from the field level right up to top management. This makes it much easier to switch from preventive maintenance to condition monitoring in systems and machines.


Information exchange between automation systems, Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is gaining importance in company-wide, integrated control processes and decisions. While interfaces between MES and ERP are defined in ISO/IEC 62264, the new PROFINET specification defines an open interface between MES and automation systems for maintenance operations. This has closed a communication gap, as no standards had previously been established relating to how the system automation information required in MES systems should be provided. Thanks to this document, standardized interface functions are now available between PROFINET and the MES maintenance field.


The state of a production line is vitally important in assessing system availability, which means it is also an important parameter in terms of production planning. It is particularly important for this status information to be communicated in a standardized manner, as this can significantly reduce the engineering work required. PROFINET uses an extended traffic-light model to display the device states, which, as proposed in NAMUR recommendation NE107, features not only the status "failure", but also the pre-warning levels "maintenance required" and "maintenance demand". Furthermore, up to 30 additional states can be defined for communication for each device profile. This makes it very simple to implement state-based maintenance wherever wear-out, asset depreciation or contamination can restrict device function.


Another MES-relevant PROFINET functionality is the ability to exactly and electronically identify the devices used in the system. The PROFIBUS guideline ?Identification and Maintenance Functions? (I&M functions) provides suitable mechanisms for achieving this. The basis scope of the I&M functions contains the so called ?electronic type plate?. The device manufacturer saves the data of this type plate in its devices. At any time, users can read out this device-specific data, which can be used for example in selecting spare parts, procuring and storing products, and planning device updates. It can also be used to establish a direct link to the manufacturer.


The guideline ?PROFINET and MES Maintenance Operations? can be downloaded from the PROFIBUS Website at

By: Weber