PROFIBUS is not one communication system, but a variety of protocols built on the same field-bus technology bundle. Users can combine varieties of PROFIBUS protocols with their own software and other requirements, resulting in a unique application profile. With many profiles available, PROFIBUS can suit specific needs. One thing remains the same, though. Through thorough testing, PROFIBUS devices meet a high standard of quality befitting a high quality network.
PROFIBUS was born out of a combined push by the German government, German companies, and other industry leaders in the late 1980s. Their effort created an automation solution that is not only still viable today, but has led to further solutions. The proud heritage of PROFIBUS allows for many European customers to turn to automation specific to their needs.
In 1987, 21 companies and institutions in Germany joined forces to create a new protocol. Their goal was to create a bit-serial Fieldbus system. In order for the system to be viable, they needed to standardize the field device interface. The group, which had taken the name Central Association for the Electrical Industry (ZVEI), completed its goal with the creation of PROFIBUS FMS (Fieldbus Message Specification).
This new protocol satisfied standardization of Industrial Automation through a protocol capable of sending complex communications. The ZVEI was not finished, though. In 1993, the group introduced a new standard, PROFIBUS DP (Decentralized Periphery). This new version featured more simplicity, including easier configuration and faster messaging.
The ZVEI continues serving the electronics industry in Germany. Their work to create PROFIBUS was vital.
PROFIBUS standards are maintained and advanced via a pair of important organizations. In 1989, PROFIBUS manufacturers and users created the PROFIBUS User Organization (PNO). This group was, and still is, a non-commercial venture. Members work to advance PROFIBUS through support and education, including publishing documents that help users satisfy their needs using existing technology.
A larger group was formed in 1995 and named PROFIBUS International, or PI. As the largest Fieldbus user association in the world, PI is able to undertake many tasks vital to the progression of PROFIBUS. Like the PNO, PI educates users on PROFIBUS and helps advance its placement throughout the world. The organization goes further, though, by helping with quality assurance, setting standards, and developing new PROFIBUS technologies.
PROFIBUS is a smart, field-bus technology. Devices on the system connect to a central line. Once connected, these devices can communicate information in an efficient manner, but can go beyond automation messages. PROFIBUS devices can also participate in self-diagnosis and connection diagnosis. At the most basic level, PROFIBUS benefits from superior design of its OSI layers and basic topology.