Industry Sector/Industry Automation Division

Profinet communication now even more powerful and versatile

The Siemens Industry Automation Division has enhanced the Profinet functionality of its Simatic S7-300 and S7-400 controllers with Shared Device, Intelligent Device (I-Device) and Media Redundancy Protocol (MRP). These features facilitate easier system configuration, for example in failsafe applications, leaner and more versatile topology architectures with multiple networked controllers and higher plant availability. The new firmware also provides improved diagnostic functions via user-definable Web pages and supports isochronous mode via Profinet.

With Shared Device, several Simatic controllers can access a Profinet input/output device, such as a distributed I/O system. This makes system configuration easier, for example in failsafe applications. It also means that both standard and failsafe CPUs can utilize the same distributed I/O system.

Intelligent Device (I-Device) allows I/O communication of a CPU to other higher-level or central controllers.  Previously only hierarchical access from the central CPU to ­lower-level I/O devices was possible. With I-Device, leaner and more flexible topology architectures with multiple networked controllers is possible. It is easier to network controllers from several different projects, for example, or integrate Siemens controls with controllers from other manufacturers within a communication network.

The Media Redundancy Protocol (MRP) increases plant availability. This requires that the network infrastructure be installed redundantly in a ring-type topology, using Industrial Ethernet switches or via the integrated Profinet interfaces of the Simatic controllers and distributed I/O systems, for example. If communication is interrupted in one section of the ring installation, only this segment is affected without a complete plant standstill. This means that maintenance and repair work can be carried out without time pressure. The MRP protocol ensures a reconfiguration time of less than 200 milliseconds.

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