PROFINET Head to Head – Modbus TCP

Often, when we talk with customers, they ask how PROFINET compares with other network protocols.  In this article, we’ll explain how PROFINET and Modbus TCP compare head to head in order to help you understand the differences between them.  At the end of the comparison, we’ll show a table highlighting the main points for quick reference. Speed and Determinism When it comes to a […]

PROFINET Conformance Classes

In this article, we will cover conformance classes, as they fit into the mandatory features of PROFINET. Every PROFINET device has a defined set of features which are mandatory based on its conformance class. The conformance classes are divided into three categories, class A, B, and C.

Optional PROFINET Features

We often use an age-old catchphrase during our PROFINET one day training classes, “But wait, there’s more!” when we get to the latter part of the day. We’ve found that most engineers and developers don’t realize what the optional PROFINET features are and their purpose.

What is “PROFINET Shared Device”?

PROFINET offers many features which allow for custom-tailored architectures and automation applications.  An overview of these features can be found in our mandatory and optional features articles.  One of these features is “PROFINET Shared Device”, which gives multiple PROFINET IO controllers (PLCs / PACs) access to the same IO device.  You are probably thinking why would we want to do that? And, how could that […]

What is PROFINET I-Device?

Introduction In a recent article, we covered “PROFINET Shared Device”, which gives a device the capability to share IO data with multiple controllers. This time we will discuss I-Device, which operates on the IO controller level. This optional feature allows a controller to be both a device and controller simultaneously, allowing for controller to controller (some might say peer to peer) communications […]

PROFINET Proxies and Gateways

Fieldbus solutions have been in place for decades in most industries, and there’s an incredible amount of knowledge built up around them.  Everything from PROFIBUS to DeviceNet, from 4-20 loops to MODBUS RTU… engineers just graduating with their B.S. degrees were born after most of these automation systems were developed! Migrating these solutions to PROFINET is a common challenge.  Every […]

Industrial Automation Wireless Types

One of our pet peeves is when we hear about people lumping all wireless types together and treating them as one.  Wireless is not one monolithic thing, there are four wireless types, or use-cases in industrial automation: 1. Backhaul (as ISA characterizes it) Typically this is long distance, point to point radio bringing data from a Remote Terminal Unit (RTU) perhaps at a wellhead […]

Wireless PROFINET overview

A great advantage of PROFINET over some other competing automation networks is the included support in the specification of wireless technology and most importantly the Industrial features available. This opens up a wide variety of applications which are very difficult or impossible when it comes to normal copper cabling.  Some of these applications might be Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs), slip rings, a rough environment, shipping and […]

Wireless PROFINET – Architectures

Wireless Architectures When speaking about wireless PROFINET communications for industrial automation, there are a variety of architectures available depending on the application. Overall, there are four main possible architectures: Point to Point Point to multipoint (Infrastructure) Wireless distributed system Mesh  Also, there is an option between Wifi or Bluetooth. PROFINET devices with Wifi/Bluetooth capabilities are readily available by a variety of vendors. […]

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 […]