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African Petrochemicals is Africa’s leading bi-monthly print and digital trade magazine featuring all the latest petrochemical industry news, special reports, technological advances etc.

The real and virtual worlds are integrating at a steadily increased pace, the Internet of Things is pushing the evolutionary journey towards the fourth industrial revolution with various far-reaching consequences.

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Proven Convenience for New Technology

PROFINET Gateway with Innovative Driver Library

Anyone who relies on end-to-end digital communication will be right at the cutting edge with a combination of PROFIBUS PA and PROFINET technology. Thanks to the PROFINET gateway from Pepperl+Fuchs with its innovative driver library, important additional functions are now easily available.

Unlike the analog 4 mA…20 mA technology, digital communication allows signals to be transmitted at a high resolution and with no loss of accuracy. The accuracy of this data can also be checked. Transmitting this amount of information using conventional means would require wiring that is far beyond any normal scope. This is how it is described by NAMUR in the new edition of the NE 74 recommendation (www.namur.net). End-to-end digital communication via a bus system is clearly the way forward.

As Ethernet cables of up to 100 meters are simply too short for applications in process automation, the industry currently relies on PROFIBUS PA for digital communication. As well as facilitating long cable runs and continuous explosion protection, this also ensures a simple method of verifying intrinsic safety. PROFINET technology is also gaining ground at a control technology level and is increasingly replacing PROFIBUS DP. Operators who already rely on end-to-end digital communication are therefore ideally equipped for future developments with a combination of PROFIBUS PA and PROFINET technology.

Power Hub System with PROFINET Gateway

Pepperl+Fuchs is perfectly positioned for this future with the new generation of the Power Hub series with PROFINET gateway. The extremely space-saving design of the individual components combined with the most compact fieldbus power supply on the market is setting new benchmarks. The saved space means that significantly fewer switch cabinets are needed. The heat output is also very low, so active air conditioning is unnecessary in our parts of the world. The low heat output also has a positive impact on the system’s energy performance and on availability.

The PROFINET gateway, which supports the line redundancy and the S2 system redundancy of PROFINET is part of the FieldConnex® Power Hub system. This connects a gateway to two separate masters via separate communication paths, for example, so a high-availability system can be implemented without additional hardware.

The Power Hubs can also be used in an existing system environment with PROFIBUS DP. Converting to PROFINET at a later stage by replacing modules is a straightforward process. This provides optimum protection for existing investments.

New, Convenient Driver Library

Using PROFINET means choosing forward-looking technology. However, given the current stage of development, there are still functions that PROFINET does not offer, even though they have long been a matter of course with PROFIBUS DP and PA. One important factor for safe and convenient operation of a plant is the traffic-light signal system in accordance with NAMUR recommendation NE 107. The fail-safe status is also crucial. This ensures that, if communication fails, field devices such as valves assume a status that was specified in advance.

In the past, if operators wanted to use PROFINET, these functions required time-consuming manual programming. Pepperl+Fuchs has therefore collaborated with Siemens to develop a PROFINET gateway driver library. This driver ensures that the two vital functions are automatically provided. It also enables a simple connection of the gateway and Power Hub to the PCS7 control system via PROFINET.

The driver library automatically organizes all process data, status data, and diagnostic data for the PROFIBUS PA instruments in PCS7. The configuration and diagnosis of the gateway itself are also much simpler. This development means that manual configuration is no longer necessary, which saves time and engineering resources. As well as being tested and approved by Siemens, users also receive professional support from the Siemens hotline for the new driver.

Significant Benefits in Hybrid Applications

The combination of PROFIBUS PA and PROFINET is particularly beneficial in plants with hybrid applications. PROFINET is already frequently used for factory automation applications, so it is logical to use the same technology for the process technology; such as silos with bulk materials. This means the manufacturing and process signals can be transmitted to the control technology via a common, integrated system, so handling is much simpler for the operator.

Use of the technology is appealing for system integrators, in particular among mid-sized clients. If a bus system is already used for manufacturing processes elsewhere in the plant, the required process variables can be easily connected via PROFIBUS PA and the gateway. This uses the same digital communication and can avoid the need for an additional remote I/O system, for example. The operator can also be offered advanced or additional services. The plant builder/system integrator can thus be given access to detailed diagnostic data; for example, via remote access (or via Industry 4.0 applications in the future). Remote maintenance enables operators to work better and even more closely with local maintenance service providers.

Of course, end-to-end digital communication also enables access to ever more extensive diagnostic data. This meets all the requirements for proactive maintenance and minimizes time-consuming interventions in the field. Unnecessary deployments can even be totally avoided. Overall, this can reduce maintenance costs and significantly increase plant availability.

In addition, concepts for predictive maintenance already include more than just diagnostic data, so conclusions can be drawn about the field devices themselves. For example, if the pressure before and after a heat exchanger is recorded, this also enables conclusions to be drawn about the operation and condition of this device, even though the device cannot provide any diagnostic data itself. So using PROFIBUS PA and PROFINET technology supports concepts that ensure that a plant always runs at the optimum working/measuring point.

Overall, the combined use of PROFIBUS PA and PROFINET technology equips manufacturing and process plants for the future, since end-to-end digital communication is the only option that enables optimum use of comprehensive diagnostic data from the field. The PROFINET gateway from Pepperl+Fuchs and the driver library mean that crucial functions for safe operation without manual programming are now available.


PROFINET as solution platform with coupling and power supply for PROFIBUS PA


With S2 system redundancy: connection of PROFIBUS PA to PROFINET

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