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PROFIBUS International

In order to ensure its maintenance, development and market dominance, open technology requires a company-independent institute as a working platform. In 1989, the PROFIBUS User Organization e.V. (PNO) was founded to promote PROFIBUS technology in this very manner. It is a nonprofit trade body of manufacturers, users and institutes. The PNO is a member of PROFIBUS International (PI) founded in 1995, which now boasts 23 regional user organizations (Regional PROFIBUS Associations, RPA) and more than 1,100 members including those in the US, China and Japan who represent the largest trade body in the field of industrial communications worldwide (Fig. 38).


The RPAs organize exhibitions and information seminars but take care that new market demands are considered during future development work.


The key tasks of PI are as follows:

  • Maintenance and development of PROFIBUS technology.
  • Extending worldwide acceptance and use of PROFIBUS technology.
  • Investment protection for users and manufacturer through influencing control of standardization.
  • Representation of members' interests with regards to standardization committees and associations.
  • Worldwide technical support of companies through the Competence Centers.
  • Quality assurance through device certification.


PI has handed over the development of PROFIBUS technology to PNO Germany. The advisory committee of PNO Germany now controls the development activities. The development teams are organized in 5 Technical Committees (TCs) with more than 35 permanent Working Groups (WGs). In addition to this, there are also a changing number of ad hoc WGs that handle specific subjects limited to certain time periods. The WGs with more than 300 experts draw up new specifications and profiles, deal with quality assurance and standardization, work in standardization committees and undertake effective marketing measures (trade fairs, presentations) for expanding PROFIBUS technology. The PI support center coordinates all ongoing events.

Structure of the PROFIBUS User OrganizationFig. 37: Structure of the PROFIBUS User Organization


Membership in the PNO is open to all companies, associations, institutes and persons who would like to play a constructive role in the development and acceptance of PROFIBUS technology. The mutual efforts of members who are often very different and come from a broad spectrum of industries (particularly in the WGs) produce a considerable synergy effect and generate a rigorous exchange of information. This leads to innovative solutions, effective use of resources and last but not least, a significant market advantage.

Working Groups

The WGs with their 300 honorary members make a key contribution to the success of PROFIBUS. Fig. 37 shows how the 5 TCs are broken down to deal with different areas. The further division into more than 35 WGs allows very focused development work on specific technologies and industries.

All members are entitled to participate in the working groups and are thus able to take a proactive stance on further development. All new work results are submitted to members for further comment before they are released by the advisory committee.

Competence Centers

PI has approved 22 Competence Centers worldwide as well as 7 test laboratories for certification work. These facilities offer all manner of advice and support to users and manufacturers as well as carrying out tests for the certification of devices. As part of PROFIBUS International, they offer their services company-neutral according to the agreed documents of rules.

Competence Centers as well as Test Laboratories are regularly checked with respect to their qualification by performing an approval procedure specifically oriented to their tasks. Current addresses can be found on the PI Web site.


By way of further support, the PNO offers all users and manufacturers a wide and very comprehensive range of documentation. This is provided in English and divided into the following categories:

PROFIBUS Standard contains the basic PROFIBUS specification and a selection of other documents.

PROFIBUS Guidelines contains specifications on implementations, test procedures, installations, description languages, as well as application-oriented specifications, such as Time Stamp or PROFInet.

PROFIBUS profiles contains all approved profile specifications.

Technical overviews and catalogs

The key themes of PROFIBUS are presented in numerous technical overviews from a marketing standpoint. The product catalog, containing more than 2000 PROFIBUS products and services, offers an excellent overview of the performance capability of the member companies of PROFIBUS.

The documents are available in PDF format on the PROFIBUS Web site. If required you can also obtain the documentation on CDROM.

A list of all available documentation can also be obtained from the PNO or on the PROFIBUS Web site.

PI OrganizationFig. 38: PI Organization

Go back to the header article PROFIBUS Technology and Application

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