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Learning about all things Profibus/Profinet

04 June 2013

A conference is being held by the Profibus UK Group on 26th June 2013 at The Stratford Manor Hotel in Stratford-upon-Avon. The event is aimed at all concerned with the implementation of fieldbus and/or industrial Ethernet technologies. Suzanne Gill finds out about a few of the presentations.

The conference programme for the Profibus UK 20th anniversary event will contain a mixture of presentations, demonstrations and hands-on practical sessions designed to contain something for a variety of experience levels. It will cover the latest developments in PROFIBUS and PROFINET technology for factory and process automation including safety, motion control, wireless implementations and integration with the Internet and MES.
The first keynote presenter at the event will be Brian Holliday, a co-founder of the Profibus User Group in the UK. He will provide a brief historical perspective of Profibus/Profinet, from early applications through to the current day.

"It is important today to take a long-term view of technology - where it is going and how it can be deployed. I believe that communications remain absolutely central to future investment, for both automation vendors and end- users to create connected systems," said Holliday. "Industry challenges today have moved on from the traditional problems surrounding interfacing, to how we can better exploit connective technologies for the information that can be extracted from the network - for energy management, asset management, downtime monitoring or faster isolation of faults using intelligent tools," he said.

During his presentation, Holliday will be reflecting on the importance of industrial communication and standardisation, arguing its central relevance to the technology challenges being tackled in manufacturing and infrastructure today.

He will also share his insights into current initiatives which aim to improve the engineering skills base and promote the use of autonomous and networked controls systems. The second keynote presentation comes from Karsten Schneider, PI chairman. He will focus on two major topics - looking at where the PI community stands today from an organisational perspective and offering his vision of the future for Profibus/Profinet technology.

He will also be looking at new technology developments. He said: "As product release comes close, an important topic for discussion is the FDI technology. I will be talking about what can be gained from this protocol independent technology and will explain how it fits in with Profibus/Profinet, providing harmonisation of configuration it possible to more easily manage devices from a range of vendors and DCS suppliers in a harmonised manner. We are no longer locked into a particular integration technology. With FDI we are free to choose," he said. "It can open systems up for wider integration."

Mark O'Halloran, from BAE Systems, will discuss how Profibus has been applied to meet safety targets while management and making reducing the ownership cost of vessels. He said: "The constraints of reduced manning and increased awareness of safety and achieving those targets within a marine environment has driven the demand for control and instrumentation systems with increased complexity, balanced by usability and cost of ownership, leading many marine system suppliers to look to fieldbuses to give flexibility in design and reduce the cost of production and maintenance." His presentation will look at BAE Systems' approach to utilising distributed control and distributed remote I/O, linked by Profibus technology and will explain how Profibus has been applied to meet safety targets and how it has given the flexibility to reduce ownership costs of vessels.

Profiles
Steffen Ochsenreither, from Endress+Hauser Process Solutions, will discuss the reason for PROFILES as well as looking at applications in which they can really play their strengths. A special focuswill be on the latest version of the PA PROFILE, which marks a major step for the technology in process automation.

Since the beginning of digital communication technology, there has been a need for devices that perform the same tasks to behave equally - even if they have been manufactured by different vendors. This need was answered with the introduction of the different PROFILES for the technology.

James Powell, from Siemens Process Instruments in Canada, will present a PROFIBUS PA project in a hazardous application which employs state-of-the-art fracking techniques to remove oil from the ground and store it in a small tank farm. Powell explained: "Our customer originally used multi-drop HART to get the level of the tanks from transmitters. Unfortunately, the application encountered some physical layer problems which led to intermittent problems with the HART network." The solution was to remove the HART radar heads - leaving the radar horn in place and replacing the head with a Profibus PA version - and rewiring the system to PA.

"Profibus PA's good noise immunity and the robustness of the physical layer provided a good communication solution in this application," said Powell. "Although PA is not completely immune to noise, in the sense that there are sites where we have to watch the grounding and work on improving noise immunity, this was unnecessary in this application.
"We were also able to add some extra benefits," he continued. "When used in components, PA is intrinsically safe.

The application originally used HART in an Ex manner, which required the use of physical coupling barriers. With IS instruments this is not necessary, which has provided safety advantages too. It is also possible to connect to the instruments remotely, via Ethernet, which is a good feature considering the extreme weather conditions experiences in the region," concluded Powell.

David Bray, chairman of United Utilities Fieldbus Steering Group will be providing an overview of United Utilities and its use of Profibus networks and devices and will explain more about WIMES, a large suite of specifications jointly developed by a group of water industry companies and the range of plant and processes covered by the specifications. His presentation will also include an introduction to lightning phenomena and surge protection devices. He will also explain where and why these devices should be used on copper-based Profibus networks.

A copy of the most up-to-date conference programme can be viewed at http://profibusgroup.com/conference-programme/





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