The consistent use of Ethernet in automation systems offers the potential for substantial cost savings in planning, commissioning and maintenance of networked automation systems in the machinery and equipment building industry. This fact was one of the main motivations behind PI (Profibus and Profinet International) pursuing the development of Profinet.
Within the framework of a project titled Realtime Ethernet in sensor/actuator networking, supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the potential of today's real-time Ethernet systems has been analysed by the Institute Industrial IT of the University of Applied Science of Lippe and Höxter (inIT). The focus has been on the achievable performance under real conditions in typical applications.
According to PI, the project reveals that the underlying individual frame setup of Profinet offers the biggest performance potential in real machine and plant structures. In this respect, it became obvious that in the field of complex machine/plant structures, Profinet's performance is significantly better than all other systems. Optimisation potential exists only in simple line structures and small data volumes.
Given the optimisation possibilities inherent in today's Profinet technology, Profinet can also be used in the field of simple sensor/actuator networking with a pure line topology and its typically small data volumes per subscriber. Activities have already been initiated in this respect, aimed at the specification and test of compatible extensions. With this measure to optimise IRT, PI says Profinet is developing into the best performing Ethernet system for all applications used in industrial automation systems.
In addition, the project has revealed that Profinet profits from the Ethernet evolution (such as the increase in bit rate to 1GBit/s) more than any other systems, which is said to make Profinet the fastest and most universal real-time Ethernet system offering the openness for TCP/IP and IT communication at the same time. This guarantees a high degree of security for the future.
For more information about Realtime Ethernet in Sensor/Actuator Networking, see www.fh-luh.de/init/en/research/projects/b/filteroff/10/single.html.