Is PROFINET right for your application?
The short answer, maybe. There are so many options out there right now. It’s hard to choose the right communications protocol. Hopefully, this article will help shed some light on to PROFINET, and whether it could be a good fit for your applications.
There are three main criteria that must be considered when choosing or designing an industrial communications network. They are performance, installation, and availability/support. All items that you may want to consider can be boiled down to these three items. Let’s start from the top and work our way down.
The performance of any network is important, but in an industrial application, it can be extremely important. The requirements may vary greatly. If you are only wanting to turn on or off a light indicating the status of a device, speed of the network may not be all that important. Latency of 300-500ms probably won’t be an issue. However, if you are performing precision motion control 300ms is unacceptable. One of the great things about PROFINET is that it has several different ways to accomplish communication depending on the requirements. If you need precise and ultra-fast communications PROFINET is for you. With some of the best update times available, PROFINET offers it’s isochronous Real-Time (IRT) protocol. I’ll spare you the exact details although if you are interested, feel free to email us. The idea is that it uses a time-sync feature and skips multiple layers in the model to speed up transmissions. From simple motor control to complex syncing operations PROFINET has the flexibility you need.
Let’s face it if it’s hard to install you probably don’t want it. PROFINET, like it’s predecessor PROFIBUS is extremely easy to install. Quick and efficient installation of industrial communications networks is essential. PROFINET fits the bill. From the easy to install hardened connectors to the robustness of the cable. PROFINET is designed with the installer in mind. Installation guidelines must be followed, however, to insure proper performance, it’s never a good idea to run communication cabling with unshielded VFD cabling (I’ve seen it done!) With support for Fiber and copper. PROFINET can easily be implemented.
Availability & Support
Possibly the most important factor of any installation in an industrial setting is the support and maintenance of the network. PROFINET is believe to make up approximately 8-9% of the overall field control networks, which equates to 23% of the industrial ethernet networks currently installed according to IEN. What’s this mean for you? As one of the most common industrial networks used, devices and components are readily available. Also, PI (Profibus and Profinet International) established a strict guideline required for certification of devices. The certification process is mandatory for any PROFINET device carrying the PROFINET name. Certification of devices ensures that the device has been tested and works according to the specifications set forth by PI. This helps make sure the task of choosing devices easier, knowing that if it carries the PROFINET certification it will work with your PROFINET network. PI also offers a network of certified engineers and installers to make support and troubleshooting an existing network as simple as possible.
The Bottom Line
For most applications, PROFINET is a great choice, but it’s important to look at the criteria you require for your network. If you find yourself with questions regarding PROFINET capabilities or compatibility, please feel free to reach out to our team. We are dedicated to providing your facility with the most reliable, secure, and profitable network possible. We understand the challenges faced by many industrial environments and are certified by PROFINET, Hirschmann, Panduit, Bitden, and have a BISCI RCDD on staff. We offer emergency services and FREE consultations. You deserve more up-time and we GUARANTEE it!