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Case Studies

PROFINET IO integrates safety laser scanners providing remarkable benefits (Germany)


In the car manufacturing industry, when protecting hazardous areas of robot work cells and assembly lines in car body construction, safety laser scanners are the preferred choice. BMW has established laser scanners of the S3000 series from SICK as a standard beeing used at the worldwide locations.
At the same time, in terms of body construction technology, all of the robot and drive systems both in the BMW facilities in Regensburg and Munich are equipped with PROFINET and at these locations alone, about 9,000 PROFINETdevices are already integrated into the network in each plant. Therefore, it appeared quite obvious to work with PROFINET IO in the area of sensor technology as well and to earn remarkable benefits especially by including the safety laser scanners into the network.  

As the S3000 safety laser scanners were available with two integrated RJ45 ports with switching technology meanwhile, it was an obvious solution to expand the PROFINET production network to this type of sensors by using PROFINET IO.
The utilIty aspects that BMW derives from this direct integration are diverse:

  • To begin with, one can mention complete and continuous integration of the field devices. There is no longer any need for switching modules and sub-distributors, as the sensors already provide switching functionality.
  • Another benefit is the significantly reduced cabling effort. The entire data transmission takes place via one medium within the same physical network. In plant operation, the new safety laser scanners support BMW’s central plant operation concept in an optimum way. Since configuration is possible from a central operating computer, the entire commissioning proceeds faster and easier.    
  • For the availability and productivity of the plants, it is of crucial importance that in case of diagnosis, maintenance and malfunction, one can communicate directly with the sensor in the field. Since all of the sensors’ status data can be retrieved via the central automation system, remote diagnosis is possible at any time. PROFINET integration of the safety laser scanners also allows integrating the sensors into arrangements for preventive maintenance. Finally, the safety laser scanner is protected from manipulations. For this purpose, the sensor transmits its safety configuration ID (SCID) to the host computer by means of a check sum, which makes it possible to recognize and trace any modification of the field device that was not authorized.
  • There is no need to buy any of these benefits at excess cost - on the contrary: If one compares the cost for additional hardware, mechanical and electrical installation, commissioning, testing, diagnosis, and retrofitting the robot work cell in the case of a classic installation of a safety laser scanner with the cost of an S3000 PROFINET installation, the result may be significant savings potentials.    

The sum total of benefits has made the S3000 PROFINET IO a standard  worldwide in body construction at BMW. The installation for the new BMW 1 series in Regensburg gave the go-ahead.    

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