As with all new technologies, the application and its associated requirements are always of primary importance for PROFIBUS & PROFINET International (PI). Only when these basics have been established concrete implementations can be tackled. This is the case with TSN (Time Sensitive Networking). Using a demo application, PI shows how TSN can be integrated into PROFINET, thus pointing the way to further specification and standardization work.
More than two years ago, the Industrie 4.0 Working Group of PI took up the task of working out the requirements of Industry 4.0 and the IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) on PROFINET. In collaboration with many leading companies, the applications were described and the requirements for five essential technologies (TSN, OPC UA, security, semantics and IPv6) were worked out. With TSN in particular, the underlying IEEE standards permit a great deal of freedom in use. This is why it was important to precisely define the industrial marginal conditions.
For PROFINET, this means that the user perspective (i.e. the way users experience the technology), in particular, should not differ from the way things are today if possible. It’s also necessary for TSN to provide improvements like “plug & work” functionality. This could be shown for the first time at the Hanover Trade Show in April 2018 in Germany. The live demo consists of a TSN network with a topology which changes at runtime without needing to reconfigure the network – a significant advantage in comparison to today's world of IRT or a static TSN configuration. The way existing PROFINET networks and devices can be integrated is also being demonstrated. This is indispensable for an easy and smooth transition to TSN.
“The Industrie 4.0 Working Group has once again shown that PI’s primary focus is on the wishes of the user,” said Karsten Schneider, chairman of PROFIBUS & PROFINET International (PI). “A new technology always has to enable new applications and solve the specific challenges of our customers. We have been following this path consistently for more than 30 years, which is why our customers, the users of our technology, also see us as a reliable partner.” The next step will be to forge ahead with specification work for the integration of TSN into PROFINET, which is slated for completion in time for the 2019 Hanover Trade Show.