A Power Duo: PROFINET and PROFIBUS PA [App Story]


Bottling plants typically combine process-type applications such as monitoring and control of storage tanks and pipe systems for liquids (using level, flow, pressure, temperature, and valves) with motion control applications like bottle filling, capping, and packaging. PROFIBUS technology which for 25 years, performed very well in doing both tasks with just one plant-wide control system is now integrated with Ethernet-based PROFINET for even better overall performance.

Decades ago, the Food & Beverage industry was one of the first to optimize their production processes with the help of the newly developed fieldbus technology – and PROFIBUS in particular. Today, this industry is again among the first to utilize the value provided by the next level of automation performance with PROFINET, the Ethernet-based communication technology of PROFIBUS & PROFINET International (PI).

Case Study

A new spirit bottling and packaging plant located in Western Europe employs about 300 process devices for flow, temperature, level, and pressure measurements provided by Endress+Hauser. All of them are equipped with the well-proven “PA Device-Profile 3.02” and installed in one of the 20 PROFIBUS PA-segments spread across the entire plant. Distribution boxes, that implement the easy to handle and flexible trunk and spur topology, are used to connect the devices. The majority of the PA segments lead into hazardous areas, Zone 1.

PROFINET is used as a plant-wide control protocol, where all bottling, capping and packaging machinery is directly connected. The PROFIBUS PA segments are coupled to PROFINET via segment couplers. The Proxy technology represents the respective PA-devices with just one gateway for up to four segments each in the PROFINET system as “PROFINET Devices”.

Some of the process devices, such as high-tech flow meters, are connected directly to PROFINET e.g. enabling features like direct web server access, easy identification, high bandwidth, or direct parameterization from the control system. The PROFINET network is designed with line and star topologies to build an optimal, flexible backbone and is connected to the higher level controller via a managed switch.

The result is a highly valuable control solution, where PROFIBUS PA and PROFINET are integrated into one single control system, combining the strengths of a number of PI technologies for the best plant processing results and user benefits:

  • PROFIBUS PA: for use in hazardous areas, with long cable length and its two-wire power supply/data communication technology
  • PA Profile 3.02: for standardized and uniform behavior of field devices from different manufacturers on the bus
  • PROFINET: powerful and future-proof, allows the use of standard Ethernet features
  • PROXY Technology: enables a smooth, standardized and vendor-neutral integration of PROFIBUS PA segments into PROFINET systems


The combination of four PI technologies in one single control system generates remarkable user benefits: PROFINET enables highly efficient motion control solutions (bottle filling and capping), high bandwidth, flexibility, and scalable redundancy structures. PROFIBUS PA segments integrate a great variety of process devices for reliable tank and pipe control.

Easy engineering and system integration contributed to the success of this solution: the system integrator, while already very experienced in PROFIBUS PA in hazardous areas, had to integrate the devices directly into PROFINET using the gateway for the very first time; and he was quite impressed how easy and quickly PA-devices – also thanks to the FISCO model and the PI Proxy specification – could be installed in hazardous areas and integrated into the control system.