2016 GAM Application Stories

In addition to providing our members with a forum for discussion about past and future activities, the General Assembly Meeting (GAM) is an opportunity to hear from end-users. End users present their cutting edge applications using the PROFIBUS and PROFINET technologies. Of note were the number of case studies involving wireless and safety that push the boundaries of what’s imaginable through automation.

Prism Systems

Keith Jones

This year’s keynote was from Keith Jones, President of Prism Systems. As a control systems integrator, Prism Systems has developed broad knowledge across many industries, but in particular with theme park rides (e.g. Disneyland, etc.). The challenges associated with automating theme park rides are daunting. First among them is that all communication must be done wirelessly. Fortunately, PROFINET runs just as well over wireless as it does over wired networks. Second, is the very short cycle times needed to ensure safe operation. Since these rides transport guests via AGVs (Automated Guided Vehicles), safety is a critical factor the faster the AGV moves. Keith presented an application story that pushes the boundaries of what is imaginable when combining speed, safety, and wireless in a PROFINET network.

UPM Raflatac

David Hibbs

UPM Raflatac is a €1.4B company, and the number 2 self-adhesive label material maker in the world. They have operations in 40 countries including 11 factories. David Hibbs is an Automation Engineer for the company and came to the GAM to talk about PROFIsafe and sustainability. In order to protect their workers and products from any hazardous functioning of their equipment, the company decided it was time to invest in a better safety strategy. The process involved performing a risk assessment where it was determined that their machines would require a system reaching the highest safety standards (PL e / Cat 4 / SIL 3). After that, the question of implementation came with four options:

  1. Hardwired Safety System
  2. Programmable Safety Relays
  3. Separate Failsafe and Standard PLCs
  4. Combined Failsafe and Standard PLC

UPM Raflatac decided on the combined failsafe/standard PLC option with PROFIsafe for the flexibility and sustainability it provided. In fact the title of David’s presentation was “PROFINET for Future-Proof Safety.”

Taylor Winfield

Mike Prokop

With a legacy dating to 1882, Taylor-Winfield, is a full-service capital equipment manufacturer specializing in ARC welding, coil joining, induction heating, and heavy material handling. Mike Prokop, Chief Electrical Engineer presented their company’s solution for the automated handling, loading, and storage of large plastic sheeting rolls.

Previously, their customer would have to manually move, log, and retrieve the massive rolls which was time consuming and inefficient. Rolls were often misplaced and mislabeled. A six-cell, redundant-ring PROFINET network links 51 I/O modules, hundreds of I/O devices, two laser distance sensors, and seven robots. Additionally, 30 lights curtains, and 20 pushbutton (e-stop) stations are linked via PROFIsafe to the main controllers. Orders are pulled down from the MES system via OPC at the beginning of each shift. Rolls are ordered, palletized, wrapped, and prepared for shipping. As a result, the entire operation is “lights out” from start to finish.


Mike Martin

Trutegra is a control systems integrator with particular expertise in overhead cranes, among other fields. Mike Martin, Business Development/IT Manager, presented several applications. For one application, four fully automated 50 ton cranes moved steel coils among 1,600 storage locations inside a 2,000 ft long building. PROFINET communication was run along both wired and wireless networks. Interestingly, the application called for the integration of wireless streaming video, which was run over the same network as the PROFINET traffic.

In another application two fully automated 65 ton cranes were used in a nickel mining operation in Brazil. Redundant wired and wireless communications were employed in addition to PROFIsafe enabled perimeter fencing.