In the industrial space, two of the biggest protocol giants are EtherNet/IP™ and PROFINET. We spend a lot of time on ProSoft Insights discussing EtherNet/IP as it’s predominantly used by Rockwell Automation® control systems. However, today we’re taking a look at the role PROFINET plays in top industries; how it can be used; and your options for connecting PROFINET devices to disparate equipment.
Like EtherNet/IP, PROFINET is a deterministic Ethernet-based protocol. While PROFINET has a high-profile link to Siemens control systems through its usage by that brand, its functionality goes far beyond that connection.
PROFINET supports controller devices, including PLCs/PACs, some HMIs, and distributed control systems. Its list of supported non-controller devices is varied and is in large part what EtherNet/IP PACs can connect to in varied industries: Variable frequency drives, I/O blocks, sensors, actuators, and many more.
Some key benefits of PROFINET include:
· Its speed: The protocol is suited for high-speed applications, thanks to its support of up to 1 GB of data per second.
· Data transfer support: The protocol supports up to 1440 bytes of cyclic data per device.
· Supports IEEE 802.11 wireless connectivity
Its speed and support of IEEE 802.11 especially make it a key protocol for verticals involving mobile equipment, such as automotive and material handling. The protocol is also largely found in general manufacturing plants.
PROFIsafe, its related functional safety protocol, is ideal for these high-speed applications with AGVs, skillet lines, and other moving parts. Pairing PROFIsafe with the existing wireless network provides a boost to the monitoring of this equipment, ensuring that moving parts and (most importantly) employees stay safe.
The growing influence of both PROFINET and PROFIsafe in these verticals can be seen in last year’s update to ProSoft’s ultra-fast wireless radio, which now supports simplified AGV management for applications using both protocols.
A major need for any of these applications is the ability to connect PROFINET controllers and devices to disparate protocols in the same environment. There’s any number of combinations that can be found thanks to PROFINET’s prevalence. (ProSoft currently offers PROFINET connectivity to devices using EtherNet/IP, Modbus Serial, and Modbus TCP/IP.)
Different solutions are available as well to suit your PROFINET connectivity needs – such as if you’re communicating to or from a PROFINET controller or device. Selecting the specific gateway will help ensure you have the right fit for your application.