What are profiles?

Profiles used in automation technology define certain characteristics and responses for devices, device groups or whole systems which specify their main and unique properties. Only devices with manufacturer-neutral, identical profiles can "interoperate" on a fieldbus and thus fully exploit the advantages of a fieldbus for the user.

Profiles are specifications defined by manufacturers and users for certain characteristics, performance features and behaviors of devices and systems. They aim to ensure that devices and systems which belong to one product family by virtue of their "product-compliant" development are interoperable and, to a certain degree, exchangeable in bus operation.

Profile types

Different types of profile can be distinguished as so-called application profiles (general or specific) and system profiles:

  • Application profiles
    mainly refer to devices (drives) and contain an agreed selection of bus communication modes, as well as specific device applications.
  • System profiles
    describe system classes and include the master functionality, program interfaces and integration methods.

The PROFIdrive profile is a specific application profile.

PROFIdrive in drive applications

The PROFIdrive profile defines the device behavior and the access procedure to drive data for electrical drives on PROFIBUS, from simple frequency converters up to high performance servo controllers.

It contains a detailed description of how the communication functions "slave-to-slave communication", "equidistance" and "isochronous operation" are used meaningfully for drive applications. In addition, it specifies all device characteristics which influence interfaces connected to a controller over PROFIBUS or PROFINET. This includes the sequence control system, encoder interface, standardization of values, definition of standard messages, and access to drive parameters, etc.

The PROFIdrive profile supports both central and distributed Motion Control concepts.

The basic philosophy: Keep it simple

The PROFIdrive profile tries to keep the drive interface as simple as possible and free from technology functions. This philosophy ensures that reference models, as well as the functionality and performance of the PROFIBUS/PROFINET master, have no or very little influence on the drive interface.

Segmentation into application/utilization categories

The integration of drives into automation solutions depends heavily on the drive task. To cover the extensive range of drive applications from the most simple frequency converter up to highly dynamic, synchronized multi-axis systems with a single profile, PROFIdrive defines six application categories which cover most drive applications.

  • Category 1 - Standard Drives (such as pumps, fans, stirring units, etc.)
  • Category 2 - Standard Drives with Technology Functions
  • Category 3 - Positioning Drives
  • Category 4 - Motion Control Drives with Central, Higher-Level Motion Control Intelligence
  • Category 5 - Motion Control Drives with Central, Higher-Level Motion Control Intelligence and the Patented "Dynamic Servo Control" Position Concept
  • Category 6 - Motion Control Drives with Distributed Motion Control Intelligence Integrated in the Drives

PROFIdrive defines a device model based on function modules which cooperate in the device and generate the intelligence of the drive system. These modules have objects assigned to them which are described in the profile and are defined with respect to their functions. The overall functionality of a drive is therefore described through the sum of its parameters.

In contrast to other drive profiles, PROFIdrive defines only the access mechanisms to the parameters as well as a subset of profile parameters (about 30) such as the fault buffer, drive control and device identification.

All other parameters are vendor-specific which gives drive manufacturers great flexibility with respect to implementing control functions. The elements of a parameter are accessed acyclically over the so-called DP-V1 parameter channel.

As a communication protocol, PROFIdrive uses DP-V0, DP-V1, and the DP-V2 expansions for PROFIBUS including the functions "Slave-to-Slave Communication" and "Isochronous Operation", or PROFINET IO with real-time classes RT and IRT.


Utilization category 4 is the most important category for highly dynamic and highly complex Motion Control tasks. This application category describes in detail the master/slave relationship between the controller and the drives which are connected to each other over PROFIBUS and PROFINET.

The DSC (Dynamic Servo Control) function significantly improves the dynamic response and stiffness of the position control circuit by minimizing the dead times which usually occur for speed setpoint interfaces with an additional, relatively simple feedback network in the drive. The position control circuit is closed in the drive which permits very fast position control cycles (e.g. 125 μs for SINAMICS S) and thus limits dead times exclusively to the control behavior.

In SINAMICS S the drive interface has been implemented according to the PROFIdrive profile V4 and Utilization Categories 1 to 4 (Category 4 with and without DSC) and is referred to below as the PROFIdrive interface.


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