John Swindall

PROFINET Infrastructure – Cat-5 Cable

At its heart, PROFINET is based on standard Ethernet IEEE 802.3 Physical layers using 802.3 supporting components. PROFINET will work on copper Ethernet cable, Fiber Optical (FO) cable, Power Over Ethernet (PoE) cable and Wireless. The components available for your PROFINET infrastructure depend on the harshness of the environment and whether or not you are using PROFINET IRT. PROFINET Infrastructure PROFINET […]

PROFINET Device Parameters

PROFINET device parameters are features that can be selected to set the operating conditions of a device. PROFINET supports 3 types of parameters: Standard parameters, F-parameters, and Dynamic Parameters. The GSD file of each device defines its parameters (GSD files are explained in PROFINET GSD File Basics). Three Types of Device Parameters 1) Standard Parameters Standard parameters are available for each device.  The PROFINET Controller configuration […]

What are PROFINET I&M Records?

Identification and Maintenance functions (I&M) allow access to blocks of data kept inside each PROFINET device by use of acyclic read / write record requests. Keeping the data internal to the device allows the control engineer to differentiate similar devices across the network. Things like device name, location in the factory, maintenance  information for this device, etc. can be stored […]

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. […]

Industrial Safety: PROFIsafe Profile Overview

PROFIsafe (PROFINET safety) is a safety communication technology for discrete manufacturing and process automation systems. It was developed by PROFIBUS / PROFINET International (PI) to meet Functional Safety requirements for PI communication technologies (PROFINET, PROFIBUS, and PROFIBUS PA).  As we talked about in Safety Basics, the PROFIsafe role in the safety universe is to minimize the chance of incorrect functioning of the control system. Incorrect functioning for a PROFsafe […]

PROFIsafe Profile: Industrial Safety

PROFIsafe profile details are incorporated into the PROFIsafe driver firmware in both an F-Controller and an F-device. The PROFIsafe driver is an encoding/decoding package that ensures the integrity of the safety portion of the communication. Network Communication Challenges The following errors are potential problems in network communications. Repetition – malfunction of a bus device causes old and obsolete safety messages to be repeated at the wrong time […]

Hazardous Environments and Industrial Automation

Hazardous environments are areas where flammable liquids, gases or vapors or combustible dust exist in sufficient quantities to produce an explosion or fire. In hazardous environments, specially designed equipment and special installation techniques must be used to protect against the explosive and flammable potential of these substances. (OSHA Publication 3073) There are three factors which have to be present in order for there to […]

Process Automation Background

 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 of spots around […]

Process Automation Basics

PROFIBUS PA ( Process Automation) was designed to work along with PROFIBUS DP (Decentralized Periphery) to make a consolidated network using DP for high-speed communications and PA for process environment. A network consists of a DP master (controller), a DP segment, a DP/PA coupler and the process network with slave devices. Fast DP controllers connected to slow PA instruments. How does […]


PROFIBUS PA is a slowly-transitioning, low-volume data network for Process Automation, based on Manchester-encoded Bus-Powered for Intrinsic Safety (MBP-IS). The rate of data change is within the range of tens-of-milliseconds to multiple seconds. A PROFIBUS PA network operates over a single cable that provides power and communication. In contrast, PROFINET is a high-speed, high-volume data network for Industrial Automation, based on […]

Configuration in Run (CiR) for PROFINET

In general, the process automation industry has many complex requirements. Due to complex automation processes and high restart costs, some process networks require continuous production; device introduction, replacement or re-parameterization without interruptions. The original PROFIBUS Configuration in Run (CiR) specification addressed this requirement. In fact, CiR provides the ability to reconfigure, insert, remove, or replace devices or modules without stopping the control application. […]