Another three years have passed by since the last Achema already! At this year’s Achema numerous innovations could be seen and all participants engaged in a lively exchange with scores of customers and interested parties. PI aroused the interest of many visitors with a large multi-vendor 2-wire Ethernet (APL) demonstrator.

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 biotech for chemistry, chemical and pharma logistics, and flexible production. Over 3,700 exhibitors from 55 countries were represented at the trade fair and more than 145,000 visitors learned about trends and products of the chemical, pharmaceutical, and food industries.

The impression which Achema gives to its visitors shows the enormous diversity of products and manufacturers along the value-chain in the process industries. Every level known from the automation pyramid can be seen, explained, and demonstrated at the Frankfurt Fair; 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 cloud-based products and services. 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, PI positioned itself in Hall 11 where visitors came to learn about process instrumentation, controls, and asset management technologies. 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. There were stimulating discussions and live demonstrations of PROFINET, IIoT, and FDI. The biggest magnet for visitors was the new multi-vendor demonstrator of intrinsically safe 2-wire Ethernet, which is also explained in the White Paper published by the APL consortium:

Download APL White Paper

Another highlight from PI is the updated White Paper “PROFINET – The Solution Platform for Process Automation” which can be read here (German language). In this paper, numerous well-known manufacturers explain why PROFINET is gaining market share in process automation thanks to its current properties and the properties which were recently released. Of primary interest is the addition of PROFINET to the PROFIBUS PA Profile in combination with new features in a downsized profile (Version 4.0), as well as the future inclusion of the new 2-wire Ethernet physical layer. It was clear from numerous discussions with field device, control system, and network infrastructure manufacturers involved, that the vision stated by PI at Achema 2015 has come to life, step-by-step.

Together with end-users, interest groups and manufacturers, I am pleased to take part in this exciting undertaking. I am confident that by the next Achema (June 14-18, 2021), the first certified intrinsically safe 2-wire PROFINET devices and components will be marketable!

Karl Büttner
Co-Leader
PA Marketing Working Group