The PROFIBUS Nutzerorganisation e.V. (PNO) will hold its seventh “PI-Konferenz” from March 15 to 18, 2021; this time, it will take place virtually. The guiding theme “process goes digital” addresses the many innovations and great progress in process automation in the era of digitalization. Other focal points will be information models, TSN, SPE, as well as 5G and cloud applications. The conference will offer more than 50 lectures about different aspects of industrial communication.
The focal point “process goes digital” of this year’s PI-Konferenz was established in view that Achema was shifted by a year. In the past, precisely with regard to developments relating to APL, we always oriented ourselves according to the important target of Achema, to present our new developments there. We could not have predicted that Achema will be shifted because of the pandemic, but this won’t make a big difference. Although in-person events are always better suited for showing off initial APL products, we will hold fast to this date. We are proud that the specification work has been completed and that we will be able to present switches and initial field devices with Ethernet-APL in early summer. The time is ripe for the breakthrough of Ethernet in the process industry.
We are optimistic that the process industry will adopt PROFINET since PROFINET is an established protocol that has proven itself for many years in other industries. The bandwidth is high, the installation easy, the certification procedures well-rehearsed, and there is a lot of experience available, especially with regard to interoperability. In addition, the development of PROFINET PA 4.0 and Ethernet-APL was always done in close coordination with user organizations, manufacturers, and users. Everybody is working together. Also, now the process industry is standing before a radical change concerning automation and digitalization. A lot of developments have been initiated; an example is NAMUR Open Architecture (NOA), where the concern is to get more information from the process and work more efficiently and flexibly.