Open Interfaces with PI technologies

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The past year was extremely successful for the Ethernet-APL team. The Ethernet-APL technology was finally released and the first use-cases were presented. With Ethernet-APL, a broadband communication technology is now available that meets the requirements of NAMUR (e.g. the second channel for NOA – NAMUR Open Architecture), i.e. users from the process industry. A test installation at BASF was extremely positive, so that this is now to be followed by a pilot installation. This opens up further scenarios. For example, a viable solution for safety applications is now being sought. Since PROFIsafe is a TÜV-approved SIL3 safety protocol and has proven itself in the automotive industry for many years, its implementation in the process industry is obvious. Here, too, initial trials at BASF are already promising.

Nothing now stands in the way of its widespread use in practice. The first devices with APL technology will be launched on the market this year; the first Ethernet APL switches are already available as products. We will see and hear more about this in articles at this year’s Achema in Frankfurt.

We also welcome MTP – Modular Type Packages – another member from the process industry to the PI community. With MTP, easier integration of package units is possible. This is particularly interesting for companies in the fine chemicals and pharmaceutical industries, which need to react flexibly to changing markets. Meanwhile, other industries are showing great interest in MTP, such as the marine, logistics, and hydrogen industries.

PI technologies also provide flexibility elsewhere. For example, the open positioning technology omlox is the key to flexible and automated production processes in logistics applications. And with a new uniform data interface between the PLC and robot controllers, robot programming can be made uniform – and thus much more efficient – for PLC programmers and PLC suppliers.

A final word: In my many years of work as a board member, it was often a matter of building bridges between technologies and people, in other words, creating many interfaces. Now, after 20 years at Endress+Hauser, it is time to say goodbye to my professional life and thus also to my work at PI. However, I will continue to accompany my heart’s project – APL technology – for some time to come.

Dr. Jörg Hähniche
Chairman, APL Group
Board Member, PNO