Factory Automation networks demand a quite different set of operating parameters compared to PROCESS AUTOMATION. More data has to be transmitted faster so bandwidths must be greater. Network resilience, security and redundancy must also be considered.
For general applications
PI has already standardized on existing WLAN solutions based on IEEE802.11a, b and g technologies. These options provide a range of solutions to meet most industrial needs at the cell level. WLAN fits well with Ethernet and is a natural partner for PROFINET.
For sensor/actuator level communications
PI is currently in the process of developing suitable solutions for the lowest device level in manufacturing. The solution is to be based on existing standards as far as possible, with enhancements to ensure that protocols and technologies fit this need perfectly.
PI has chosen Bluetooth (IEEE802.15.1) as the communications medium for this application, complemented by IO-LINK as the connection interface to end devices. This combination will be augmented by parts of the WISA specification to create a superior solution in factory automation applications and give PI members a competitive edge in this fast-evolving environment.