PROFIsafe Goes Ethernet-APL

  • Post category:PI NEWS
  • Reading time:2 mins read

Common Network for Non-Safety and Safety Applications

For decades, the chemical industry has been making concerted efforts to guarantee safety for people and the environment. The infrastructures for process and operations management and safety applications are strictly separated. These two worlds differed technologically as well, as only 4-20 mA was available for safety applications. With the combination of Ethernet-APL and PROFIsafe, PROFIBUS & PROFINET International (PI) meets the challenge of providing both safety and non-safety applications through a unified PROFINET infrastructure.

In the course of developments in Industry 4.0 and the rise in networking in process control, the gap between operational and safety functions is becoming increasingly apparent. In this context, users seek for a modern, integrated automation solution that covers everything from engineering, operation, maintenance and optimization to product warehousing – but without compromising on functional safety.

PROFIsafe for the Process Industry

Ethernet-APL offers a standardized, future-proof communication platform for process automation. It meets the requirements of users from the process industry for simple wiring, including reverse polarity protection, two-wire lines for power and data, explosion protection, and high transmission speeds. PROFINET over APL combines the advantages of Ethernet-APL with proven PROFINET technology.

It is therefore only obvious to address the issue of safety, as well. The timing is favorable – after all, the introduction of flexible Ethernet-APL technology provides a uniform technological basis for safety and non-safety systems. At the same time, PROFIsafe is a TÜV-certified SIL3 safety protocol that has proven itself in manufacturing automation for many years. It is based on the black-channel principle and safeguards maximum system availability. The PROFIsafe protocol has no retroactive effects on standard bus protocols and is independent of the respective transmission channel. Neither the transmission rates nor the respective error detection mechanism play a role. For PROFIsafe, the transmission channels are merely “black channels.”

Initial practical experience with PROFIsafe has already been gained in the same BASF test facility where PROFINET was already successfully tested in combination with Ethernet-APL. At ACHEMA  this past in August 2022, Endress+Hauser, Pepperl+Fuchs and HIMA demonstrated how the fully functional solution works with PROFIsafe for the first time. Experts showed the wide range of solutions with PROFIsafe for brownfield and greenfield plants.