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PROFINET: the reliable communication standard in industrial networks

PROFINET is the further development of PROFIBUS and extends this fieldbus standard with new, useful applications based on Industrial Ethernet. But how exactly does PROFINET work? Why should you use this communication protocol for factory or process automation? And what is the difference between PROFIBUS and PROFINET?

PROFINET offers you the following advantages:

  • Simple and seamless integration of established fieldbus systems via proxies or gateways
  • High operational reliability and availability
  • Transparent data accessibility
  • Detailed and meaningful diagnostic options

The fundamentals of PROFINET

PROFINET can be used to implement automation solutions in the fields of factory automation, process automation and building automation. Further, the solutions are also used in safety applications as well as the entire range of actuator technology, including clock-synchronised motion control.

The open Industrial Ethernet standard

PROFINET (Process Field Network) is a communication standard based on Industrial Ethernet with a comprehensive range of applications. The fieldbus uses TCP/IP and IT standards, is real-time capable and enables the integration of fieldbus systems. PROFINET was developed by Siemens and the members of the PROFIBUS User Organisation (PNO) and is used in conjunction with Siemens control systems. PROFINET is standardised through the IEC 61158 and IEC 61784 standards and, as a universal communication technology, meets all the requirements of automation technology.
Worldwide compatibility of a PROFINET device is ensured by certification of the PROFIBUS User Organisation (PNO).

Why PROFINET is the right choice for automating your plants:

With its universal, Ethernet-based communication, PROFINET meets a wide range of requirements. From data-intensive parameterisation to ultra-fast I/O data transmission, PROFINET enables real-time automation and IT integration with just one system. Thanks to the modular design, users can individually select a suitable PROFINET package (application profile) and then implement it in their plant.
The open architecture of PROFINET also enables easy and seamless integration of established fieldbus solutions, e.g. by using proxies or gateways. Moreover, PROFINET offers intelligent diagnostic concepts for field devices and networks. In these cases, acyclic diagnostic data provides key information about the status of the PROFINET devices and their communication, thereby enabling user-friendly presentation of the network.

Functional scope of PROFINET

To meet the various requirements of automation systems, PROFINET has defined four conformance classes (CC), which build upon each other, with a set of functions tailored to the typical application area. They summarise application-oriented minimum properties:

  • CC-A contains the basic functions and is intended, e.g., for use in building automation
  • CC-B extends the set of functions to include network diagnostics and topology information; CC-B(PA) adds process automation relevant functions such as redundancy and dynamic reconfiguration (changes to the controller configuration during operation)
  • CC-C is a further extension for implementing IRT (Isochronous Real Time) communication and thus the basis for clock-synchronised applications
  • CC-D extends Class C with the difference that these services are provided using TSN (Time Sensitive Networking) mechanisms defined by IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers)

Structure of the communication protocol

PROFINET reduces the familiar 7-layer OSI model to a simple 4-layer TCP/IP model. Thus PROFINET, just like other Ethernet-based communication technologies, uses the TCP/IP protocol to transport data. The four specific layers of the TCP/IP model are: Network, Internet, transport and application.

Office network
Positioner Type 8792
Type 8792 - digital electro-pneumatic positioner: Positioner SideControl. Discover more about Type 8792.
FLOWave Type 8098
Type 8098 - FLOWave SAW flowmeter. Discover more about FLOWave Type 8098.
PROFINET is a communication standard based on Industrial Ethernet with a comprehensive range of applications: it uses TCP/IP and IT standards, is real-time capable and enables the integration of fieldbus systems.
Positioner Type 8692
Type 8692 - digital electro-pneumatic positioner for the integrated mounting on process control valves. Discover more about Type 8692.

Data transmission and topology of PROFINET

Data exchange and real-time capability

For data exchange between the network participants, PROFINET supports the provider-consumer principle. This means that both the controller and the field device (IO device) independently send cyclic data as soon as they need to due to a fault or a query. Further, there is also the possibility of a programmed query, e.g. that the data is sent automatically every x millisecond.
To meet the high requirements in real time, PROFINET offers corresponding mechanisms that enable both standard and real-time communication in parallel. Therefore, communication with PROFINET is scalable via three performance levels that build upon each other:

  • Engineering and time-uncritical data is transmitted via TCP/IP. This standard communication is possible between all automation devices.
  • The real-time (RT) channel is available for transmitting process data.
  • For clock-synchronised applications, such as motion control, isochronous real-time (IRT) communication is used, which enables a jitter accuracy of 1 μs or less at a clock pulse rate of less than 1 ms.
Network topology

PROFINET offers a flexible network topology for the optimum fulfilment of requirements in terms of spatial expansion and availability and can therefore easily adapt to the conditions of the plants. The following is supported:

  • the line that primarily connects end devices with integrated switches in the field
  • the star with a central switch, which is primarily installed in the control cabinet
  • the ring, primarily for implementing media redundancy and
  • the tree, as a mixture of the aforesaid topologies
Connection technology

The PROFINET devices are connected exclusively via switches. To enable cost-effective and simple installation, many PROFINET devices already have a switch with two or more ports integrated as components in the network. Copper and fibre optic cables can be used as transmission media.
Since PROFINET uses the same physical interface as Ethernet, standard Ethernet switches and suitable cabling can be used to build or expand a network.

Structure of the PROFINET IO system

The PROFINET IO (input and output) network consists of three system components (device classes). There is the IO controller, which initiates the exchange of information and manages it via a programmable logic controller (PLC). The IO device, which is assigned to an IO controller (a decentralised IO device) as well as the IO supervisor (programming device (PD), a personal computer (PC) or human-machine interface (HMI)), which enables the configuration and diagnostics of a PROFINET IO network.

PROFINET: The further development of PROFIBUS

PROFIBUS is an established fieldbus system based on serial communication. PROFINET, in contrast, is a further development of PROFIBUS and includes additional applications based on Industrial Ethernet.
The development of PROFINET was determined by the number of network participants, the use of an Industrial Ethernet cable, the transmission speed, the size of the data packets and the possible coexistence with other protocols that PROFINET can accept.
Since both communication standards were developed by the same organisation and are maintained by it, there are similarities in the engineering concepts and in the use of GSD (General Station Description) files to describe the properties and functions of PROFINET devices, including their modules and submodules.

Our Bürkert expertise

We have been a reliable industry partner for many years and offer you high-quality technology solutions. This also applies to the field of automation technology. An essential component of modern automation concepts is digital communication. For this reason, all of our products with the PROFINET IO protocol are tested and pre-certified by internal experts and then certified by the PNO. Central certification of PROFINET IO products thus ensures global compatibility. Bürkert has been a member of the PNO for many years.
To provide you with the best possible support for the automation of your production plants, we offer you the communication protocol PROFINET IO in many of our applications and products.

Application examples with PROFINET

Bürkert products with PROFINET IO are generally used in process automation for controlling and regulating media (gases, liquids), but are also being used increasingly in the following areas:

  • Supply of fuel gases
  • Processing plants for food production as well as in the beverage industry and dairies
  • Automation and control for water/wastewater treatment

Our PROFINET-compatible products

Type 8692

Digital electro-pneumatic positioner for integrated mounting on process control valves

Type 8692
  • Compact and robust stainless steel design
  • Easy start-up with automatic X-Tune function
  • Contact-free position sensor
  • Integrated pilot air duct with spring chamber aeration
  • EtherNet/IP, PROFINET, Modbus TCP, PROFIBUS DP-V1 or Bürkert system bus (büS)

Type 8693

Digital electropneumatic process controller for integrated mounting on process control valves

Type 8693
  • Compact and robust stainless steel design
  • Easy start-up via Tune function for position and process controller
  • Contact-free position sensor
  • Integrated pilot air duct with spring chamber aeration
  • PROFIBUS DP-V1, EtherNet/IP, PROFINET, Modbus TCP or büS (Bürkert System Bus)

Type 8792

Digital electropneumatic positioner SideControl

Type 8792
  • Compact and robust design
  • Easy to start up using Tune function
  • Integrated diagnostic functions for valve monitoring
  • Dynamic actuating system with no air consumption in controlled state
  • EtherNet/IP, PROFINET, Modbus TCP, PROFIBUS DP-V1 or Bürkert system bus (büS)

Type 8793

Digital electropneumatic Process Controller SideControl

Type 8793
  • Compact and robust design
  • Start-up via the TUNE function of the positioner and process controller
  • Integrated diagnostic functions for valve monitoring
  • Dynamic actuating system with no air consumption in controlled state
  • EtherNet/IP, PROFINET, Modbus TCP, PROFIBUS DP-V1 or Bürkert system bus (büS)

Type 8098

FLOWave SAW flowmeter

Type 8098
  • No obstacles inside the measuring tube, compact, lightweight and low energy consumption
  • Conforms to hygienic requirements, CIP/SIP compatible
  • Ideal for liquids with low or no conductivity
  • Digital communication, parameterisation via Communicator, display
  • Optional: ATEX/IECEx certification, II 3G/D

Type 8745

Mass flow controller (MFC)/mass flow meter (MFM) for gases

Type 8745
  • Nominal flow ranges from 20 l/min up to 2500 l/min
  • High accuracy and repeatability
  • Communication via standard signals or Industrial Ethernet
  • Electromagnetic and motor-driven valve actuation available
  • Easy device exchange through configuration memory

Type 8652

AirLINE – the valve island optimised for process automation

Type 8652
  • Safety-related shut-off of valves possible
  • Higher plant availability with PROFINET S2 (system redundancy)
  • Process reliability through pneumatic functions
  • Optimised for installation at the bottom of the control cabinet
  • EX-Versions: ATEX / IECEx Zone 2, cURus Haz. Loc. CL I, II, III Div 2

Type 8647

AirLINE SP – electropneumatic automation system

Type 8647
  • Direct connection to the I/O systems SIMATIC ET 200SP and SIMATIC ET 200SP HA
  • Integration in Siemens PCS7 possible
  • Combination of fieldbus, pilot valves and I/O modules
  • Easy diagnostics by LC display
  • Safety-related shut-off of valves possible