Practical and high-quality certification tests for communication interfaces are among the key factors for acceptance of an open communication standard. PI (PROFIBUS & PROFINET International) has maintained a certification system for PROFIBUS and PROFINET products since the beginning. The tests are performed in accredited test laboratories, which are located in all important economic regions. Certificates based on test reports of the accredited test laboratories are issued centrally by the certification body in Karlsruhe. The continual increase in the number of certifications shows that the measures taken are meeting the market demand.
Continual monitoring ensures a globally uniform quality standard for the certification test. This includes creating and releasing test specifications, implementing test tools, setting rules for establishing and operating accredited test laboratories and monitoring them, and issuing certificates.
End-users from many sectors, such as the automobile or process industry, are increasingly recognizing the advantages of certified products in automation systems and consistently demanding products from their suppliers whose PROFIBUS/PROFINET interfaces have been tested and certified. The statistics on certified products demonstrate this. While the number of certificates for PROFIBUS devices has been relatively constant in recent years, with about 150 certificates issued annually, the numbers for PROFINET are continually increasing. For example, the record value in 2015, which already represented a significant jump, was surpassed the following year. Furthermore, the threshold of 500 certificates issued within one calendar year was passed for the first time in 2016. It should be emphasized in particular that certificates are increasingly being issued to international manufacturers.
The rising numbers for PROFINET are not only an indication of a growing number of products; the test laboratories are also seeing an increase in the scope of the PROFINET functions implemented. PI is continually updating a test tool that makes it possible to conduct tests and evaluate the test results largely automatically. Members of PI can download this tool at no charge from the PI website and use it in-house during development to get new products on the market all the more quickly.