Demonstrating our Strategy with Concrete Measures

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“OK, I understand. Your strategy is smart and you’re well on your way”.

That was the feedback from a trade fair visitor at Hannover Messe 2019. Not only at the HM2019, but also at the PI Konferenz two weeks prior, we were able to provide many customers and members with the information necessary for the upcoming decisions, be it for the basic strategic orientation or also for the planning of development projects.

Integration of TSN in PROFINET

We integrate the new IEEE Ethernet technology to provide additional user benefits through flexibility in network configuration and higher throughput with robust I/O communication.

In addition to the TSN live demo with various chip manufacturers, the HM2019 was the first time that the concept and a first test case for the certification of PROFINET devices with TSN (in my experience, we are leading again here) could be seen.

The early creation of test cases and their implementation parallel to the specification not only enable an early start of tests with the availability of products. They are also helpful and necessary for checking the completeness, uniqueness, and testability of the specification itself, which will soon be published. Certification testing is essential to ensure the interoperability and quality of the products, and this step has already been taken.

Vertical and Horizontal Integration Using OPC UA

The possible application of OPC UA was the topic in many exhibition booths or presentations at the HM2019. At our demo, visitors could get a comprehensive insight through different use cases:

  • Controller-Controller communication with different manufacturers
  • Safe Controller-Controller communication based on PROFIsafe
  • Mapping from PROFINET to OPC UA in various devices: controller, gateway, device
  • Mapping from IO-Link
  • Manufacturer specific OPC-Server
  • Simultaneous integration of several Companion specifications including a VDMA-CS
  • Namur Open Architecture

We’re not only using the demo’s structure for the show, but also as a first proof-of-concept for the new Companion Specifications that will be released soon.

Extension of the Security Concept

In addition to the technical investigation of possible security protocols, the experts of the Security-WG have decided to start a discussion with customers and manufacturers with the help of a whitepaper for a targeted and applicable extension of the security measures. This whitepaper “Security Enhancements for PROFINET” describes the new security requirements, the protection goals derived from them and, based on the analyses performed, the essential concepts and protection measures for a PROFINET system. In the next step, the security working group will specify extensions to the PROFINET protocol and upgrade it with additional cryptographic functions to ensure integrity, authenticity and, if necessary, confidentiality of communication at the protocol level.

As you can see, we solve these relevant topics not only in the form of presentations but also in corresponding detailed measures such as whitepapers, specifications, and tests. This is the only way we can meet our demand to offer a comprehensive and fully-elaborated technology for the market, which, in addition to reliable communication, increasingly requires continuous information modeling. The corresponding success is reflected in the recently published node numbers.

P.S.: We will not only continue to work on these topics, but the next ones are also already being addressed: 5G and Single-Pair Ethernet.

Or, as a trade fair visitor and I like to say: “Interesting times; let’s build them”.

Xaver Schmidt 

Industrie 4.0 Working Group