In the age of Industrie 4.0 and the Internet of Things (IoT), Ethernet communication technology is also increasingly making inroads into process automation with PROFINET as de facto Ethernet standard in the field of automation. PROFINET offers outstanding features in terms of availability, usability, reliability, robustness and redundancy. On the other hand, automation systems based on PROFIBUS DP/PA technology are very well established in countless plants in many industries worldwide. Forward-looking owners and operators of those established automation systems are very much interested in an easy but efficient solution to seamless integrate their systems into a PROFINET network (Legacy integration).
The solution is based on gateway technology: Gateways (such as the pnGate PA from Softing) are used to act as interface between a host layer and field devices. In the present case, the gateway acts as PROFINET device and, at the same time, as PROFIBUS PA masters representing the PROFIBUS PA segment. The gateway also provides support for familiar tools for device configuration, parameterization and condition monitoring, including Siemens PDM, PROFINET engineering systems and DTM applications. This solution allows that a technology upgrade can be completed in discrete stages. This option is especially relevant for complex, networked production equipment in process automation, where operational reliability must continue without interruption.
The described PROFIBUS PA segment integration and the move from PROFIBUS DP/PA to PROFINET have been realized successfully in a number of plants of different size and from various industries. As a result, the plant operators now enjoy greater operational reliability, which in turn translates into positive effects on costs. What is more, the gateway is a key part of the transformation process towards designing processes compatible with the idea of Industrie 4.0; integration without detour!
Softing Industrial Automation GmbH