Sometimes time goes very fast; a year ago PI published my welcome article on PROFIsafe in PROFINEWS. As everyone expected the number of PROFIsafe nodes installed has reached 5.4 million in year 2015. There is no doubt that this trend will continue for the coming years because of the transition of fieldbus technology from PROFIBUS to PROFINET and market acceptance of safe PLCs for functional safety. All machine builders are considering that PROFIsafe can be part of a new safety concept while engineering the next generation machines and going away from the traditional way of implementing safety with relays. The production lines are already well interconnected and now will raise the bar with reconfigurable safety devices. This can be achieved only when the safety parameters are secured.
Industrie 4.0 is a big leap for factory and process automation. PROFINET technology has proven to be the backbone of it. The safety and security of machines and plants play a big role in the journey of Industrie 4.0. As an open communication profile, PROFIsafe technology is accounting for future requirements, including them in updates to the PROFIsafe specification.
In this issue you will find some of the successful stories of PROFIsafe which we are permitted to publish but that does not mean that only these few F-Devices are installed in the field. Some case studies have been placed on PI website and more will be added in the coming months. As PROFIsafe is becoming the proven industry standard for safety communication, innovation is taking place in many safety devices. More PROFIsafe F-Devices and Gateways are being developed as the number of F-Hosts available in the market is increasing. The development time for F-Devices has gone down over the years due to the availability of design kits and pre-certified modules. In addition to regular workshops organized each year, PI provides the certified designers course for expediting the development time and device certification process.
The real benefits of using the PROFIsafe profile are explained with a live demo panel, which is presented on several fairs and also in the user workshops. The live demo consists of three machine modules and each has a Fail-safe PLC as PROFIsafe F-Host from a different provider. Each machine module consists of several F-Devices for its safety. If there is an emergency, the E-Stop button or Laser scanner or Light curtain is enabled to activate the Safe Torque Off (STO) function of a Drive to stop the motor. For example a door is opened, the speed of the motor is limited to access the machine safely by activating the Safely Limited Speed (SLS) function of a drive. These drive based safety functions can be activated at same time for all modules or independently for any module of the whole machine. This gives more flexibility and increases productivity. This all happens over just one PROFINET cable because the PROFIsafe communication works based on the Black-Channel principle. Less wiring means not only just cable savings but also time saving due to reduced electrical work which offers extra time to build more machines.
This month PI has prepared a video of the PROFIsafe Live Demo to explain some of the advantages of choosing well established PROFIsafe as safe fieldbus communication. This has been placed on PI website, YouTube channel, other social media, and in the “New Videos” article in this issue. I hope it gives you the motivation to explore more about the simplicity and the interoperability of PROFIsafe profile. also hope you enjoy reading the PROFIsafe product news and application stories. I look forward to seeing you in one of the next user workshops or at the PI Booth at the SPS/IPC/Drives Fair.
M.Sc. in Electrical Engineering
Working Group Leader PROFIsafe Marketing
Functional Safety Expert, Danfoss Drives