TCI Specification Available

TCI Tool Calling Interface PROFIBUS PROFINET

Hanover, April 24th, 2006: In December 2005, PROFIBUS International (PI) decided to specify with TCI (Tool Calling Interface) an open calling interface for device operating tools. Even before Hanover Fair 2006 PI has completed and released for review the first TCI documents (specification of the calling interface, description of the mapping mechanisms on PROFIBUS as well as an implementation guideline). In the review phase, the implementation in prototypes will be carried out by various companies active in the TCI working group. Adoption of the final version is scheduled for September 2006. The description of the mapping mechanisms on PROFINET will follow in the fall of 2006.


Efficient operating tools support the user in optimizing production processes through the flexible setting of user-dependent device parameters in intelligent field devices. These tools will also see benefits in asset management in the maintenance of production systems and thus in increasing system availability. TCI allows the uniform but still simple integration of proprietary operating tools already in use, which are used in production automation for variable-speed drives in particular or components as part of machine safety (e.g. with PROFIsafe). Both intelligent drives and flexible safety components need these efficient operating tools to realize the full customer benefit.


The TCI interface must be implemented in the central engineering tool of the automation system (PLC, Soft PLC) and the proprietary device tools. Windows commands are used for the tool call itself. The parameters for the tool called up are passed on in a file, whose structure is specified in the framework of TCI. The implementation is realized both in the central engineering tool as well as in the device tool with only little effort. TCI makes it similarly possible to call existing manufacture-specific tools as well as open operating software based on FDT and EDDL.

By: Weber