Global Associations Mark 20 Years of PROFIBUS Technology

As PROFIBUS technology turns 20, and the PTO celebrates its 15th anniversary in North America, the organization cites broad industry adoption, with impressive growth rates for installed PROFIBUS and PROFINET nodes and a “vision for automation.”

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PTO, the trade organization for PROFIBUS and PROFINET in North America, marked its 15th birthday with a virtual celebration, including a cyber-cake and free goodies for those who participated in the group’s General Assembly Meeting, held by Webinar on August 6. Typically the PTO hosts its annual meeting for organization members and the trade press in the Phoenix area, but switched to the Webinar format this year in deference to members’ travel budget restrictions.

Mike Bryant, executive director of the PTO, outlined major milestones for the organization, including membership growth, budgets, PROFIBUS and PROFINET node counts, and marketing programs. The recession has had an impact on PTO membership, which has declined slightly from its high of 145 members in September 2008 to 130 members at present, but this still represents an 8 percent growth over membership numbers at the beginning of 2007.

Global growth in node counts for PROFIBUS and PROFINET is even more impressive.  PROFIBUS node count in 2007 grew by 4.5 million nodes for a total installed base of 23.3 million nodes, while 2008 saw 5 million nodes added to the market, bringing the total to 28.3 million nodes installed worldwide. PROFIBUS, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, is on track to meet the goal of 50 million installed nodes worldwide by 2012.

PROFINET, the industrial Ethernet implementation of PROFIBUS, has experienced similar success. Node count is increasing by an average of 37 percent per year, and reached a total of 1.6 million PROFINET nodes at the end of 2008. Target growth for PROFINET adoption is 3 million nodes by the end of 2010.  According to Bryant, “We feel confident in saying that PROFINET is the most successful industrial Ethernet implementation in the market.”

To download the presentation slides from the North American PTO General Assembly Meeting Webinar and view the birthday cake celebration video, please click here.

A Vision for Automation

PROFIBUS International (PI) assembled a global gathering of PROFIBUS and PROFINET professionals for the 21st annual meeting of the Regional PI Associations (RPAs), held in the southern Polish city of Krakow in July.
The five-day meeting brought together 28 RPA chairmen and staff from 21 RPAs, plus representatives of PI Competence Centers, Training Centers and Test Labs around the world. This “conjunction of the stars” resulted in the largest attendance at a PI meeting for many years.
PI Chairman Jörg Freitag commented on the scale and breadth of the PI community as evidenced by the number of members present. “Our strong community is the major reason for the success of PROFIBUS and PROFINET,” he said.
A roundup of reports by RPA chairmen included a presentation by Dileep Miskin from the UL Group in Pune, India, who said that interest in PROFIBUS and PROFINET was “huge” and that around 20 companies had expressed their intent to join a local association. Steps were being taken to establish an RPA now, he said. He added that Product Developer Training workshops had taken place in March and that a Competence Center is being set up. Organization representatives from Czechia, Denmark and Italy presented reports at the event, which also included a summary of global activities related to the 20th anniversary celebrations of PROFIBUS.

Dariusz Germanek, chairman of host country Poland RPA, provided excellent hospitality during the week, including visits to a salt mine and walks around the old parts of Krakow. He said that his RPA is celebrating its 5th anniversary in 2009, and that cooperation with universities is one of the most important activities in Poland. Later, Max Felser from Switzerland underlined this by presenting proposals for supporting universities in better ways. He said that most of the material needed already existed and that these could be easily made available to teachers and lecturers via the Web site. It was decided to create a kind of virtual “PROFIBUS/PROFINET University” at www.profibus.com.

A workshop review of the new Web site resulted in a wide range of suggestions, which will now be prioritized and implemented. The slogan “Share our Vision for Automation” was adopted for future PI marketing activities.
On Day 3, a combined RPA/Technical meeting took place during which topics such as PROFIenergy and the latest Profile 3.02 for PROFIBUS PA were discussed in greater detail.

The strategic international collaborations that are a key part of PI’s activities also received attention. In addition to discussions of the ECT/FDI and PROLIST projects, Jörg Freitag presented PI’s aims for wireless communication and the progress made by the Wireless Cooperation Team consisting of PI, Foundation Fieldbus and the HART Communication Foundation. Freitag also reported on the status of the IO-LINK project and its goals, and gave details of the new initiative to develop an Energy Management profile for the active optimization of power usage in high energy devices such as laser equipment, welders and robotic systems.

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