Profibus and Profinet International (PI) reported Jan. 9 that it’s successfully completed all requirements including a certification test for using Profinet over Ethernet Advanced Physical Layer (APL) in hazardous process automation applications.
This achievement was based on specification documentation for Ethernet-APL’s intrinsically safe (IS) physical layer. This two-wire networking protocol was developed by the FieldComm Group, ODVA and OPC Foundation organizations, while corresponding additions were made to Profinet’s specifications by PI’s working groups.
Another task to prepare Profinet for running on Ethernet-APL was updating the organization’s General Station Description over XML (GSDML) specification. Profile for Profibus PA devices were previously optimized for use with Profinet. To support simple, manufacturer-independent device replacement, corresponding profile GSDs were provided. GSD files are a descriptions of an I/O device provided by their manufacturers.
To ensure interoperability between products from different suppliers, PI’s Test System Development Group (TSDG) coordinated the certification tests. Its scope includes additional APL-specific test cases for checking Profinet communications, establishing an APL-specific test setup for interoperability scenarios, and providing a test for Profile for PA Device functions. The certification tests and tools for the physical layer were provided thanks to cooperation from FieldComm Group, ODVA and OPC Foundation. Therefore, they’re also the same for all higher-level communication systems, and only need to be conducted once, by agreement, for mutual recognition for the same hardware version of a product. The certification test is available to all manufacturers of Profinet over APL devices at accredited PI test labs.
Meanwhile, PI adds that end users have positively rated the suitability of Profinet over APL in a host of lab installations, and it’s already similarly integrating functional safety with Profisafe protocol in coordination with process industry end users.