Industry Foursight™

Industry 4.0 has a lot of requirements and it’s an exciting time to be involved in industrial automation. New solutions are taking shape and stand to make automation networks easier to manage, faster to run, and most importantly, provide value like never before. Concepts like TSN and OPC UA are making headlines and the race is on to leverage each in order to gain sustainable competitive advantage. There’s no silver bullet, but PROFINET plays a key role.

Industry Foursight™ is a PI North America initiative to promote PROFINET applications and implementations with Industry 4.0 technologies. PI North America has created a dedicated site for users to gain knowledge of such technologies. The site will be growing continuously during the year with TSN, OPC UA, and APL articles.

Real-Time Communication with PROFINET @ TSN

TSN is a promising technology drawing a lot of attention at the moment. TSN offers great potential for PROFINET. It aims to combine the wide range of IT networks with the robustness and determinism of automation networks. In short: hard real-time via standard IT networks. But this doesn’t signal a revolution for PROFINET. Rather, it represents a visionary architecture upon which PROFINET is built.


With Industrie 4.0, there is the need to publish data to IT systems like MES, Asset- or Condition Management applications as well. Today this requires a lot of configuration effort, manual steps like the handling of long Excel charts (and the like) to make this data available. Since there is no standardized data semantics specified, often the data is not usable in an economically meaningful way. For this reason, PI supports OPC UA as a complementing service in PROFINET networks.

OPC UA is an object and service-oriented architecture which features not only a standardized structure for the transport of data. Our OPC UA animation video shows you how easy access to structured machine data is and why OPC UA in PROFINET networks are the perfect complement for Industrie 4.0 network infrastructures.