Beginner


Introduction to Manufacturing and Automation

PROFINET University provides lessons about PROFINET. And PROFINET is a communications technology that helps manufacturers make things. Those things may be discrete things like cars or phones, continuously produced things like gasoline or safe drinking water, or batch things like a batch of pills or potato chips. Manufacturers use automation to ensure consistent, high-quality products.


Automation Evolutionary Trends

Industrial automation continues to evolve along with the networks that support it. The newest trends are more than buzzwords: Industrie 4.0 and Industrial Internet of Things. These or similar concepts go by different names in different countries. Here is a brief look back at the evolution followed by the impact and relationship of these new concepts.


What is PROFINET?

PROFINET is a mechanism to exchange data between controllers and devices. Controllers could be PLCs, DCSs, or PACs. (Programmable Logic Controllers, Distributed Control Systems, or Programmable Automation Controllers.) Devices could be I/O blocks, vision systems, RFID readers, drives, process instruments, proxies, or even other controllers. PROFINET exchanges data quickly and deterministically. Required speeds vary depending on the application; process instruments […]


Why Ethernet?

When we introduced the lesson on the evolution of buses in Automation Evolutionary Trends we showed control connectivity evolving from manual to pneumatic to 4-20mA to fieldbus to Industrial Ethernet. Each step improved manufacturers’ ability to install, commission, operate, and maintain their production lines. The step to fieldbuses provided the benefits of reduced wiring, additional information, and faster diagnostics. It […]


PROFINET GSD File Basics

What is a GSD File? A PROFINET General Station Description (GSD) file is a description of an IO device provided by the device manufacturer. The contents of the GSD consists of configuration information, parameters, modules, diagnostic and alarms, and vendor and device identification. To discuss the latter two in a little more detail, the vendor identification (vendor ID) is a number […]


LLDP in PROFINET

Unlike other competitor networks, all PROFINET devices support Link Layer Discovery Protocol (LLDP) which is defined in IEEE standard 802.1AB.   There are multiple reasons for LLDP support.  The first is to be able to discover, check, and maintain the topology of the PROFINET network and obtain diagnostics if something changes.  The second is for easy device commissioning when setting up […]


PROFINET Device Names

What’s the MAC address of the device you are viewing this from? The IP Address? What’s your name? The easiest of all those to remember is your name, mine is PNC for short. PROFINET device names are used for the same reasons.


IP Addresses

An oft-heard question: “Why do PROFINET devices need IP addresses? PROFINET uses names!” You may have heard the misinformation that PROFINET does not use TCP/IP. The correct information is that it in fact does.
So, the short answer to that oft-heard question: PROFINET uses TCP/IP and therefore needs an IP address.


Industrial Safety Basics-Machine Safety

Machine Safety Machine Safety is the protection of personnel or plant assets from damage or death. Components of machine safety include: Organizational safety (Requirements for safety shoes, FRC, safety glasses, etc.) Passive Safety (guard rails, covers for moving parts, gates) Functional Safety  (Protection from hazards due to incorrect functioning of the industrial machinery) Functional Safety This article will focus on Functional Safety for the factory automation environment. Common components […]


Safety Basics – Conventional vs Combined Safety

Safety PLCs are special controllers built and certified to meet international safety requirements such as NFPA 79,  IEC 62061, IEC 13849-1 or IEC 61508. All of these safety standards define levels of risk reduction. Conventional Safety PLC Principle The original safety PLC concept required that normal PLCs and standard I/O could not be mixed with safety PLCs and safety components in the same network. […]


Process Automation Background

Process Industry Automation history The “Process Industry” includes the waste water treatment, food & beverage, chemical, oil & gas, and pulp & paper industries. In the past, plant operators had to physically monitor performance values and the quality of outputs to determine the best settings on which to run production equipment. Process automation simplified this with the help of sensors at thousands […]


Getting Started with PROFINET Development

We need to put PROFINET on our device.  Where do we start? This is a question we field nearly every week, and this section gives you the background, resources and contacts to get up and moving with your PROFINET project. There are lot of resources out there explaining the process of developing a PROFINET product.  In addition to PROFINET University, […]