What is PROFIdrive?
PROFIdrive is a vendor-neutral application profile from PROFIBUS and PROFINET International (PI) which is focused on drives, encoders, motors, and their applications, which range from simple to very demanding motion control tasks. It supports both PROFIBUS and PROFINET technologies. PROFINET allows scalable update times starting from 31.25μs and a jitter of less than 1μs for the most demanding motion applications while supporting open TCP communications. PROFIdrive provides interoperability through standardized drive IO data sets, messages, and parameter sets as well as manufacturer-specific options to allow vendors to implement additional features to foster competition and innovation. In addition, PROFIdrive can be used in combination with other application profiles like PROFIsafe and PROFIenergy for enhanced drive capabilities in modern automation projects.
Why standardize this information?
Well, let’s take a simple example where you have vendor A and vendor B drive manufacturers installed at your facility. Both of the drives have hundreds (if not thousands) of parameters and you are looking for the speed setpoint so you can set the drive speed for your motor in your control application. However, as you are doing the programming you notice that vendor A has the speed setpoint in byte 1 of the IO data and vendor B puts it into byte number 3. This is just for one setting, there are likely many more, so the complexity is going to increase greatly with drives which don’t have standard sets of data and you’ve got to write additional code in your program to handle it.
Now think about the scenario where vendor A drives keep failing, so you decide to swap out with a B or get a new vendor C. This means you also have to make code changes in your application because the settings are going to be in a different place in the drive. If you had used PROFIdrive in the first place, which standardizes all of this information, then code changes are not needed and all of vendor A, B, C parameters, and data are going to be in exactly the same spot. Thus making the application data and parameter sets standard in your code and simple to manage.
What else can I do with PROFIdrive?
PROFIdrive offers multiple application classes which allow single axis and multiple axis application to be realized over PROFINET. Since drives use a lot of energy and also need to be often used in a safety application, PROFIdrive includes additional extensions which can be used in conjunction with PROFIsafe (safety profile) and PROFIenergy (energy saving profile). This allows, for example, ramping a motor to a ‘safe’ run speed rather than just shutting it off in a safety-related event which could be harmful on your motor. Also since some industrial facilities have pauses in production, sometimes the drives are ‘running’ and consuming a lot of energy even though no parts are being produced. And that is going to cost you on the electric utility bill! PROFIenergy offers to set the drives and motors to energy saving ‘sleep’ or idle modes where the energy consumption can be reduced.
How do I get PROFIdrive?
Multiple manufacturers support PROFIdrive on both PROFIBUS and PROFINET, check online at the PI product finder with the PROFIdrive filter enabled and talk with your drive vendor(s). If they do not support it, have them get in contact with us and we can show them how easy it is to implement with the PROFIdrive open source community project.