Profinet has become the communication standard commonly used for factory automation. Many automobile manufacturers and suppliers are already experienced users in this area and as early adopters have been demonstrating for many years the practicality of this communication system based on industrial Ethernet. The number of users is increasing rapidly at present, as machine builders appreciate its powerful real-time transmission capabilities. The technology gives companies the benefits of the Profibus protocol as well as far greater flexibility in the design of their network structures.
This development is also expected to deliver further tangible growth as Profinet is now being used in process automation. This area, however, has some special requirements that controllers and field devices have to fulfil. Turck Banner’s trend setting contribution to Profinet integration in the world of high availability systems extensively increases the functionality of fieldbus products to support S2 system redundancy.
Protecting plants in the chemical and pharmaceutical industry from downtimes involves considerable effort. Compared to factory automation, where the focus is on higher unit quantities and short cycle times, the interruption of a continuous production process can lead to enormous financial losses. Furthermore, the handling of hazardous liquid or gaseous substances involves the observance of strict safety precautions – particularly in areas provided with explosion protection. As a preventative measure, companies therefore firstly invest in the safeguarding of potential ignition sources and secondly in a high availability system architecture. Controllers and I/O modules in the field are normally provided with redundancy in order to ensure safe plant operation. If one device or connection fails, the otherwise inactive backup solution is activated. Planners implement these complex or limited redundant systems in accordance with the relevant requirements – both on the physical device level as well as in the underlying program logic.
S2 system redundancy preferred
In the Profinet context, a new standard was created for this with system redundancy. The terminology used here is based on a gradation that reflects the degree of fail safety that an automation system is to provide. No redundancy is implemented (S1) if a controller and field device only communicate via a single connection. However, if a Profinet device supports communication relations to the primary controller as well as its backup via this single connection, this is classified as S2. If the main controller fails, a seamless switch to its physical twin is performed. For this the I/O system and I/O module in the field must maintain this logical dual connection to two entirely spatially separated controllers. These S2 solutions meet the requirements of many applications and are preferred in practical applications. The alternative term ‘simple system redundancy’ should not obscure this fact. Very high and maximum availability can only be achieved with R1 or R2 system redundancy. This involves the additional implementation on a field device of a redundant communication interface and is often used in conjunction with remote I/O. R2 with its four-way connection represents the highest level of complexity. Each of the two communication interfaces of a device here can establish communication relations – to the main controller and to its redundant copy. This crosswise protection from failures is used extremely rarely.
Turck Banner brings high availability to the field
Siemens initiated the Profinet implementation of the redundancy profile and designed its controller systems to support redundant infrastructures. Profinet devices had previously not provided support for S2 system redundancy. Turck Banner has now responded to this demand with an extensive expansion of functions.
The TBEN-L5-8IOL is the first IO-Link master module that supports S2 system redundancy and offers protection to IP67 and IP69K, thanks to its fully potted electronic unit. This combination of industrial Ethernet and IO-Link offers digitalisation right through to the last metre. Furthermore, Turck Banner’s I/O modules come with an additional TCP/IP interface for read access to device data, so that all digital treasures can be gathered. Condition monitoring, asset management and predictive maintenance can thus be implemented without any limits.
The first TBEN-L5-8IOL modules will soon be deployed in the USA in the plant of a biopharmaceutical manufacturer, which in future will manage its production with Profinet system redundancy and IO-Link. High availability is essential in the sector for the handling of mostly sensitive and cost-intensive products.
Decentralised and modular network architectures can be designed so that the space required in the control cabinet is substantially reduced.
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