Industrial Data Xchange (IDX) presented at the August Technology Evening on the topic “What is new from Profibus and Profinet International?”
What is Profibus? Simply put, it is a digital communication system used in automation.
According to IDX’s Michael Garnham, digital communication is the way of the future and the reasons for this are:
• Analog signals can get corrupted by noise or signal attenuation, whereas digital signals can be accurately defined even though there is a noise effect.
• Hardwired analog signals can only send one value at a time whereas digital systems can send multiple pieces of information at once.
Johan Maritz (right) thanks Michael Garnham after the presentation.
Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) is very important when it comes to Profibus. The following is a list of guidelines to prevent electrostatic/electromagnetic interference on Profibus systems:
• Keep profibus cables separate from other cables (the distance between the cables will depend on the voltage on the cables).
• Shield/screen cables, and remember that the shield needs to be earthed.
• Use steel cable trays to minimise electro-magnetic interference and remember to earth the cable trays.
• Earth the Profibus cable at both ends.
• Avoid running Profibus cables close to motor cables. If this is not possible, use any of the following screening methods on the motor cables: copper braid/tape; steel braid; solid copper cladding or aluminium tape armour,
• Cables between drives (VSD) and motors can carry high currents, in such cases use symmetric cables and remember to earth them.
In summary, it seems like Profibus and Profinet might be the way of the future, but there is still a long way to go in replacing the current analog systems on existing plants. Furthermore, it seems like installation of Profibus systems on existing plants can become an issue due to the fact that they need to be installed as a complete separate system in order to avoid EMC.
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