The Who’s Who of the process industry came together at ACHEMA 2015. Numerous innovations could be seen and all participants engaged in lively exchange with scores of customers and interested parties. PROFIBUS and PROFINET International aroused the interest of many visitors with publication of its White Paper “PROFINET – The solution platform for process automation.”
Achema is the world’s largest process industry trade fair for chemical technology, process technology, and biotechnology. The major trade fair takes place every three years in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. This year the key topics were industrial water management, process analytical technology, and bio-based production. The organizer Dechema draws a positive balance and the numbers speak for themselves. Over 3800 exhibitors were represented at the trade fair and more than 166,000 visitors learned about trends and products of the chemical, pharmaceutical, and food industries.
One of the impressive things about Achema is the glimpse it gives visitors into the enormous diversity of products and manufacturers along the value-added chain in the process industry. This unique impression arises, starting with CAD software for system design and continuing with pipe fitting and metal construction, materials engineering, sensors & actuators, automation engineering, laboratory equipment, as well as finished plant units (skids) and even complete turnkey plants, and finally culminating in the end products of chemical technology, process technology, and biotechnology. Many manufacturers also introduced safety and maintenance concepts. Alongside this were a wide variety of lecture and discussion forums as well as numerous university booths, which provided insights into current research and important future topics.
Within this impressive supply chain, PROFIBUS and PROFINET International positioned itself in Hall 11 where visitors came to learn about instrumentation and controls and process control technology. Together with other user organizations committed to digital communication technology, a variety of automation companies demonstrated the benefits of digitalization down to the field device level at the “Field Communication Lounge”. There were stimulating discussions and live demonstrations of PROFINET, PROFIBUS, and FDI. Another subject of hot debate was a new physical layer for intrinsically safe 2-wire Ethernet.
The highlight for PROFIBUS and PROFINET International this year was the White Paper “PROFINET – The solution platform for process automation.” In this paper, numerous well-known manufacturers explained how in the future PROFINET will also prevail in process automation thanks to its current properties and the properties that are under development or in the planning phase. Of primary interest here is the addition of PROFINET to PROFIBUS PA Profile 3.02 (currently undergoing specification) in combination with new features and plans to downsize the profile. It was clear from numerous discussions with field device, control system, and network infrastructure manufacturers involved, that end users can expect some new products related to this work in the near future.
I am pleased to take part, together with users, interest groups, and manufacturers, in this exciting undertaking. I am confident that by the next Achema (June 11-15, 2018), we will be able to show that a major part of the roadmaps and plans have been brought to life!