Profibus surpasses installation benchmark; formally introduces Profinet

Marking its 10-year anniversary, the Profibus Trade Organization has embarked on a global tour detailing advances in Profibus installations and technology.


Marking its 10-year anniversary, the Profibus Trade Organization has embarked on a global tour detailing advances in Profibus installations and technology. Profibus International Chairman Edgar Kuester and Executive Director Michael Bryant stopped by the Control Engineering offices on March 22 to announce that by the end of 2003, Profibus devices installed in factory and process automation applications had surpassed 10 million—a total Profibus International claims is substantially higher than any other fieldbus solution. Profibus is an open fieldbus standard conforming to IEC 61158 and IEC 61784.

Also announced was the formal introduction of Profinet, an Ethernet-based automation solution designed to provide a scalable, high-performance migration path to industrial Ethernet. According to Kuester, Profinet provides Ethernet migration not only for Profibus, but other fieldbus systems as well. As an example of the technology’s open capabilities, Bryant and Kuester noted that Profibus International has formed a joint cooperative working group with the Interbus Club to migrate Interbus fieldbus technology to Profinet. The working group is chaired by Dr. Juergen Jasparneite of Phoenix Contact.

The working group is preparing a specification that will adapt the Profinet‘proxy’ concept to allow the migration of Interbus systems into Profinet architectures, and will also include the required engineering. A draft specification of the proxy is expected to be complete by September 2004. The proxy solution will provide Interbus users a secure migration path to Profinet’s Ethernet-based automation strategies.

Kuester and Bryant say that with 10 million and 6.5 million nodes, Profibus and Interbus respectively will have the largest installed base of all fieldbus solutions feeding into one Ethernet solution. They are inviting other fieldbus protocols to choose Profinet as their Ethernet level solution.

Speaking further about the widespread use of Profibus technology, Bryant and Kuester pointed to research conducted by the top seven Profibus PA (for process automation) vendors that claims approximately 1.3 million Profibus devices are installed in process plants, of which 290,000 are Profibus PA devices with the MBP (Manchester-encoded Bus Powered) interface conforming to IEC 61158-2 required for hazardous area use. Kuester says this research suggests that 320,000 Profibus PA devices are now in process plants, with the remainder being Profibus DP (for factory automation) devices in upstream (such as materials handling) and downstream (such as bottling and packaging) process applications. Profibus DP, which shares a common communications protocol with Profibus PA, is the only fieldbus that can provide compatible networking technology for all parts of the process plant, says Kuester.

—David Greenfield, Editorial Director, Control Engineering,

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