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Wireless communication in factory automation

23 March 2009

PI (Profibus & Profinet International) has defined the upcoming work for wireless coupling of sensors and actuators in factory automation. Based on preliminary investigations, PI has decided to use radio technology compliant with IEEE 802.15.1 for manufacturing automation.

Wireless communication in factory automation
Wireless communication in factory automation

The investigations showed that a series of different requirements exist for coupling sensors and actuators in factory and process automation. On the one hand, performance requirements differ, and on the other, the standardised protocols for Hart sensors and actuators (for process automation) and IO-Link (for manufacturing automation) are optimised to the respective requirements. WirelessHart uses radio technology compliant with the IEEE 802.15.4 standard for the transmission technology. Due to the higher requirements regarding response time, radio technology compliant with IEEE 802.15.1 will be used for manufacturing automation.

PI has already decided for WirelessHart as the standard for process automation one years ago. To be able to offer an optimum solution for factory automation, PI decided to develop the specification for wireless sensors and actuators for factory automation based on WISA technology (IEEE 802.15.1).

The question of coexistence is especially important. In addition to coexistence with WirelessHart, it must also be guaranteed with WLAN, the standard for wireless transmission in Profinet systems. This is ensured by making corresponding settings in the wireless sensor networks for process and manufacturing automation.

The specification work for the wireless communication of sensors and actuators in manufacturing automation has already begun. The target for completion of the corresponding documents is 2009.
Alternative and integrated uses of the radio technology for process automation (IEEE 802.15.4) and factory automation are being left open for the future by PI.

For an update on Profibus, Profinet, PROFIsafe and wireless industrial communications, readers are recommended to attend the Profibus & Profinet User Conference at Stratford Manor Hotel, Stratford on Avon, June 16/17 2009 where industry experts will present the latest on the technologies and their application in a packed programme of technical presentations and hands-on workshops. Full details and the Conference Programme and reservation form can be found on the conference website at

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