When the doors closed at SPS/IPC/Drives on November 26, we could look back at three successful days full of talks, discussions, and presentations about PROFINET, PROFIBUS, and IO-Link. With the slogan “PROFINET – the backbone for Industrie 4.0”, we certainly struck a nerve and attracted many users and vendors. PROFINET, as the leading Industrial Ethernet solution, already covers lots of features which puts it in the pole position to deliver useful data in advanced manufacturing systems. The role of PROFIBUS is and will be in the future to satisfy specific needs especially in process industries like intrinsic safety, long distances, and power over 2-wires. PROFIBUS can be integrated seamlessly into PROFINET networks, making our technology suitable for all industries, from factory to process. IO-Link now bridges the gap to the sensor level. With IO-Link, we are able to provide digital communication from the cloud down to the sensor. As a result, the combination of these three technologies will be the foundation for Industrie 4.0 or the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
Technology and More
That said, these are only the technical features. PI’s strength has always been to provide more than just technology. We provide a community. A community of experts, vendors, and even users is tightly integrated in our worldwide network. Therefore it is no surprise that PI announced major cooperations at this year’s SPS/IPC/Drives press conference. First was the extension of our long ongoing collaboration with the OPC Foundation. Again, this will be a major building block for IIoT. PROFINET is the only network capable of delivering real time performance while still allowing open standard TCP/IP traffic. PROFINET is providing the infrastructure for complementary technologies like OPC UA to move valuable information from the shop floor to the cloud. One network -no tunneling or gateways: it is a clear benefit for the user due to the ease of use. Less configuration means faster commissioning.
Towards Industrie 4.0
Another step on our way to Industrie 4.0 is the announcement with the CC-Link Partner Association. Two strong organizations have agreed to work together for the better integration of different open networks. It is again the user we have in mind, when we want to simplify the integration of a machine equipped with CC-Link IE into a PROFINET network and vice versa. Industrie 4.0 will not work with overly complicated technologies. And communication is certainly a key feature for the future. It is our task to make it as easy as possible for our users.
PI will continue to seek active and strong partners for the benefit of our members and users. It’s something we have been doing for 25 years now.
I wish you and your families Happy Holidays and a great start in 2016!