PTO reports high growth, cross-industry collaboration
The number of Profibus nodes in the market has surpassed the 25 million mark, said the PTO (previously known as the Profibus Trade Organization, but now also encompassing Profinet). Based on a node count of 10 million reported at the 2004 annual meeting, this increase represents a nearly 25% annual growth rate, the organization explained at its annual conference, held Aug.
The number of Profibus nodes in the market has surpassed the 25 million mark, said the PTO (previously known as the Profibus Trade Organization, but now also encompassing Profinet). Based on a node count of 10 million reported at the 2004 annual meeting, this increase represents a nearly 25% annual growth rate, the organization explained at its annual conference, held Aug. 5-7 in Scottsdale, AZ.
“We weren’t expecting to hit that number [25 million] for another two years,” said Mike Bryant, executive director, PTO, at the 2008 PTO General Assembly meeting. He attributes the achievement largely to a spike in the number of devices sold and installed in the past few years in both discrete and process applications worldwide. Profibus PA for process applications accounts for 750,000 of the 25 million node count, while Profibus DP for discrete applications accounts for 23,300,000 nodes sold and installed through 2007.
To determine the number of nodes in the marketplace, Carl Henning, PTO deputy director, said the Profibus User Organization contracted with an independent Germany-based notary firm to compile results from a survey of manufacturers that install Profibus and Profinet in their products.
Bryant also attributes much of the past and expected future Profibus/Profinet growth to PTO’s long-standing collaboration with groups like OPC Foundation, HART Communication Foundation, and Fieldbus Foundation.
As an example of this cross-group collaboration, Tom Burke, president and executive director, OPC Foundation, noted at the PTO meeting that OPC, PTO, HART and Fieldbus Foundation have agreed to endorse EDDL (electronic device description language) as an international standard for interoperability to manage device configuration, calibration, diagnostics, data and alarms, and operator interface technology. Next steps for collaboration among the four groups were initiated at Hannover Fair in 2007 and call for drafting a spec by December 2008 that delineates one consistent solution for interoperability regardless of supplier, compatibility with the installed base, and clear technical direction to be shared by all suppliers.
Also at the PTO conference, Ron Helson, executive director, HART Communication Foundation (HCF), addressed HCF and PTO’s long-standing collaboration record, including work on IEC 61804 in 2001, graphics and visual enhancements in 2003, the use of HART over Profinet in 2006, and incorporation of HART in Profinet in 2007. Helson also pointed out that Fieldbus Foundation and PTO have accepted WirelessHART as the wireless technical standard for process field devices and are currently working with HCF to link fieldbus networks via a gateway to WirelessHART devices.