PROFINET Goes to Germany, Jacksonville

Carl Henning, deputy director of PTO North America, talks about what’s new in PROFINET technology at Hanover Fair, Germany, and highlights the latest training class in Jacksonville, Florida.

Aw 2907 09 06 Profi Blog Photo
I started this report on the plane back from Jacksonville, Florida, where we had one of our most interactive classes with more questions than ever. It was good to see some IT folks in attendance. In fact, one of them was having a firewall problem that we were able to pinpoint for him.

We always encourage viewing the archived webinars on Industrial Ethernet Basics, especially for those unfamiliar with Ethernet. This is obviously the right thing for us to encourage, as this comment reveals: “Great class and introduction to the technology. I did benefit from watching the webinars prior to attending – would have been rough without.”

There were no negative comments and some very positive ones, like these:
•    “For a one-day course I thought it was perfect.”
•    “Superb course.  Questions were taken and handled well.”

I hope to see you in one of our free one-day training classes soon.  If you can’t make it to one of our venues, check out the webinars.

Hanover smaller, more focused

Hanover Fair was not as well-attended as past years, but everyone I spoke with felt that attendance was better than they expected. The mid-day crowds on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday were encouraging. There are really many sub-fairs combined under the heading of Hanover Fair (Hannover Messe, locally). I only had time to see the Industrial fair.

Now on to the PI booth and yes, the booth is downsized from past years. Click here to view our Hanover 2009 PI Booth Overview Video.

The major displays were PROFIsafe, PROFIBUS PA, IO-Link, PROFIdrive, PROFIenergy, and the PROFINET wall. The PICCs were featured in a section devoted to easy addition of PROFINET to products. (PICCs, PI Competence Centers, are certified centers located around the globe that provide assistance to product developers and users. One of the 37 or so PICCs is North America’s PROFI Interface Center.)

The Fair also provides the opportunity to network… in the personal sense, not just the industrial communications sense. We also had the chance to celebrate the 20th anniversary of PI, albeit in a low-key way. Actually, a lot about the fair was low-key. Our booth was smaller.  Many vendor booths were smaller, simpler and more focused.

There was news of progress in a number of technology areas: IO-Link, wireless, PROFIBUS, and PROFINET. PROFINET products are required to be certified by PITLs – PI-certified Test Labs. There are three conformance classes of PROFINET devices with the most feature-laden classified as Conformance Class C. The complete test specification for Class C was just completed and already three products from two vendors have been certified.

The section of the booth devoted to the PI Competence Centers featured an outline of the PROFINET Design Process.

A number of Development Tool providers were represented in the booth and at the fair: Hilscher, Siemens, HMS, NEC, KW-Software, IXXAT, and Molex among them. Molex updated me on their development kits including stacks for controllers and devices. Their device stack has been used in situations where another Ethernet protocol was already implemented in a standard Ethernet controller. They are currently working with a large (un-named) device manufacturer in the US.

KW-Software had a panel in the PI booth and I also visited their booth in Hall 9.  They have been working on a chip-based solution. They had been calling it the “Tiger chip,” but apparently that was just a code name as their literature calls it “TPS-1.”  This chip is for PROFINET IO devices only. They felt that when the cost of auxiliary devices was included, the TPS-1 would be half the price of other solutions that cover both device and controller.

There are lots of tool choices when it comes to adding PROFINET to devices.  One of PTO’s main purposes is to help device manufacturers through the selection process. Just ask.

For more on Carl Henning’s PROFIblog, visit www.profiblog.com.

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