Real-time Profinet soon available for high-end motion control

The Profibus Trade Organization (PTO) reports that it will release its Profinet Isochronous Real-Time (IRT) extension for high-performance motion control applications within 18 months.


The Profibus Trade Organization (PTO) reports that it will release its Profinet Isochronous Real-Time (IRT) extension for high-performance motion control applications within 18 months. This extension will complement the existing Profinet Soft Real-Time (SRT) announced in October 2003 for general automation applications. Profinet SRT provides cycle times of 5 to 10 milliseconds to satisfy the demands of factory automation. It is fully compatible with the TCP/IP Ethernet protocol and reportedly brings the industry's first real time solution to Ethernet users. The run time software is available on the Profibus Web site .

Profinet IRT will deliver 1-millisecond synchronization for more than 150 axes of control. It reportedly will be more powerful than any currently available real-time solution, but will remain fully compatible with TCP/IP protocols and Ethernet PHY layers. Profinet IRT will work with any Ethernet TCP/IP network without restriction or limitation.

PTO’s parent organization, Profibus International, adds that it’s already made significant progress on the IRT extension, which is based on requirements initiated and now documented in white papers jointly prepared by Beckhoff, Bosch-Rexroth, Danfoss, ifak, SEW and Siemens. The schedule for IRT development is:

  • Profidrive V 3.1 profile will be adopted and engineering and test/certification items will be finalized by mid-2004;

  • Pilot devices will be completed by 4Q04; and

  • Finished products are expected to be available by mid-2005.

Profinet IRT will use next-generation switching technology with real-time ASIC switches for implementing Profinet IRT in products quickly and easily, so additional switches will not be required. The onboard ASIC switches include two hardware options currently under development. Designed for embedding in field devices, these ASICs provide two-port or four-port Ethernet switching capability. For ASIC chip specifications visit

In addition, the ASIC switch allows construction of interrupt-free redundant solutions for complex applications at very low additional cost. The objective includes porting the Profibus motion control profile largely unchanged to Profinet as an important contribution to protecting existing Profibus investments.

Interested parties also can download a new Profinet Technology and Application Guide . For more information, visit the Web site .

—Jim Montague, news editor, Control Engineering,

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