Wednesday, November 2, 2016


We’ve been receiving numerous requests for converting PROFIBUS PA to fibre optics lately.  I believe that really what the request is that there is an existing PROFIBUS DP master with DP (and possible existing PA) infrastructure and the requirement is to add some PA devices that are out in the field. PROCENTEC have a range of COMbricks modules that are able to meet almost ant type of network configuration. In this article we'll investigate some of the configuration options and which components should be used in each configuration. Your network layout might look something like the picture below: 

Being able to run fibre to these field areas has the following advantages:

  • Fibre can be run over longer distances, PROCENTEC offer up to 30km on single-mode fibre. Typically, 2km on multi-mode. 
  • Fibre can run through areas that are susceptible to EMC interference without being affected
  • The inherent electrical isolation means that the complicated story of earthing on PA systems is simplified to just the field area. In other words, the complication of Earth loop current over long distance is avoided.

Before going ahead with the design, one needs to answer some questions:

  • Will multi-mode or single-mode fibre be used? Or is there a mixture? 
  • What connector types will be used on the fibre? 
  • Is a fibre redundant ring required? 

These are the options using the COMbricks solution:

1) Multi-mode off one COMbricks fibre module in the substation (1 is spare):

COMbricks components used in above implementation:
  • x3 Head Station Type 1B (101-20011B)
  • x3 PROFIBUS Fiber Optic Module (101-201510)
  • x2 PROFIBUS PA link/coupler Module (101-201610)
  • x2 SCOPE Repeater (101-201210) for connection the DP devices in the substation 

2) Multi-mode off one COMbricks fibre module in the substation (1 is spare), redundant ring:

COMbricks components used in above implementation:
  • x3 Head Station Type 1B (101-20011B)
  • x3 PROFIBUS Multi-Mode Fiber Optic Ring Module (101-201530)
  • x2 PROFIBUS PA link/coupler Module (101-201610)
  • x2 SCOPE Repeater (101-201210) for connection the DP devices in the substation 

3) Multi-mode off one COMbricks fibre module in the substation, redundant ring for each field area:
COMbricks components used in above implementation:
  •      x3 Head Station Type 1B (101-20011B)
  •      x4 PROFIBUS Multi-Mode Fiber Optic Ring Module (101-201530)
  •      x2 PROFIBUS PA link/coupler Module (101-201610)
  •      x2 SCOPE Repeater (101-201210) for connection the DP devices in the substation

3) All of the above implementations could be implemented using single mode fibre. Simply replace the multimode fibre module with the Single-Mode Fiber Optic Ring (101-201531). 

4) It is possible to mix multi-mode and single-mode using the PROFIBUS Multi-Mode and Single-Mode Fiber Optic Ring module (101-201532):
COMbricks components used in above implementation:
  • x3 Head Station Type 1B (101-20011B)
  • x1 Multi-Mode and Single-Mode Fiber Optic Ring module (101-201532) in substation 
  • x1 PROFIBUS Multi-Mode Fiber Optic Ring Module (101-201530) for area 3
  • x1 Single-Mode Fiber Optic Ring (101-201531) for area 2
  • x2 PROFIBUS PA link/coupler Module (101-201610)
  • x2 SCOPE Repeater (101-201210) for connection the DP devices in the substation 

COMbricks is a modular network component solution with flexibility to meet almost any type of network architecture. All COMbricks head stations can be connected to the local LAN and be used to remotely access and view the health of the segments the COMbricks modules are attached to. They can even be configured to issue email alerts if a PROFIBUS error has been detected on the segment so that it can be addressed before it causes a failure. This is part of your pre-emptive maintenance strategy. 

Michael Garnham 
PROFIBUS/PROFINET Competence and Training Centre Manager - Industrial Data Xchange cc

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

IDX exhibiting in Nairobi at the 2016 East Africa Power Industry Convention (EAPIC)

      Come visit us at stand 108Contact If you would like to book some time for a meeting, or find out more information on this event. We look forward to seeing you there!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

IEC61850 to Modbus TCP/IP, EtherNet/IP, M-bus, PROFINET or PROFIBUS

The SG-gateway family is a current leading Smart Grid application solution, acting as a remote terminal unit for the energy market.

The SG-gateway enables the remote control and management of electrical equipment in power grids, controlling and monitoring assets, processes and installations in the field.
Networking and interfacing between various fieldbuses and Industrial Ethernet protocols is where this gateway shines, allowing cross interfacing between:
  • IEC61850 (Client/Server)
  • IEC60870-5-104 (Client/Server)
  • Modbus TCP (Client/Server)
  • Modbus RTU (Master/Slave)
  • Various Serial RS232, RS485 and RS232
  • EtherNet/IP
Here are some application examples:

Transmission can also be made available via Ethernet or 3G VPN connection into your server.
The SG-Gateways sports an easy web based configuration tool using a standard browser, configuring with a simple drag and drop method.

Choose the right SG-gateway to suit your requirement, here are the options below:

With the flexibility and multi protocol support of the SG-gateway range, its possible to support any application and customize to your site requirement with little effort.

For more information on the SG-gateway range contact us:

Phone:  +27 11 548 9960

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The New Certified PROFIBUS System Design Course comes to Johannesburg

NEW! Certified PROFIBUS System Design Course
25 to 28 July 2016
PROFIBUS Installers are certified, the devices are certified, but what about the system design itself?  

Join us on this 3½-day course covering the Certified PROFIBUS Installer and optimal design of PROFIBUS automation and control systems.

Run by Verwer Training and Consultancy Ltd and hosted by IDX

IDX, who operate the PROFIBUS Competence in South Africa, will be hosting the brand new PROFIBUS System Design Course presented by Andy Verwer from Verwer Training and Consultancy Ltd in the UK. It is your chance to be amongst the first in the world to earn this PROFIBUS International accredited certification during his short visit to South Africa.  
Who is this Course for? 
This course is aimed at anyone who is dealing with the design, specification or procurement of modern automation and control systems at the engineering or technical level. The course is also suitable for device manufacturers, system integrators and technical sales/marketing people who want to know the best way to put systems together.
The Certified PROFIBUS Installer certification is a prerequisite and will be included in this course and can be considered as a refresher for those who have already obtained the certification. 

IDX Offices, 1 Weaver Street, Fourways, South Africa 

What does the course cover?
Presented by Andy Verwer from Training and Consultancy Ltd in the UK, the course provides a top-down approach to designing a modern automation and control system and helps managers and designers to make the correct decisions from the project beginning. The course is applicable to all sectors of industry from factory automation to process control.  Examples and case-studies used on the course are from a wide range of industries including manufacturing, process plant water-treatment, materials handling and automated part sorting storage and retrieval. One of the aims of the course is to cover the design of modern control systems that are maintainable and which minimise the impact of control system and network failures which will inevitably occur during the life time of the plant.  The aim is to minimise the footprint of failures in terms of restricting the extent of the effects of failures and also the time to locate and repair faults. The course also covers the use of some of the latest and most important developments to appear on the market, including new devices which provide permanent monitoring of networks and notification in the case of degradation or failure. More on the course content:

-General system design requirements
The control system life cycle, consideration of maintenance, health checking and fault finding features.  Characteristics of communication and transmission technologies. Environmental considerations and choice of appropriate devices, cables and connectors.
-PROFIBUS network layout and design
PROFIBUS network architectures and their relative advantages in terms of performance, maintenance and reliability.  Integrating operation, supervision and engineering information into the control system.
-PROFIBUS profiles
How profiles can simplify system design, maintenance and give vendor independence.  Use of profile GSD files and DTMs.
-Hazardous areas
Essential requirements for hazardous areas and available design options.  Design of Intrinsically safe RS485 and MBP segments.
-High availability systems and redundancy
Basics of component and system reliability and application of basic reliability modelling techniques.  Overview and evaluation of practical solutions for high availability PROFIBUS systems, limitations and essential needs.
-Fibre optic, infra-red and wireless transmission
Basics of fibre optic transmission.  Connector and cable types. Design and application of various topologies, solutions for redundant fibre optic systems.  Basics and design considerations for infra-red and wireless communication.
-Modern solutions for network monitoring
-Safety related systems
Essential requirements and design options for safety related systems.
-Control system and network timing
Control system sampling and timing considerations.  DP and PA cycle time and jitter estimation.  The effect of gateways and couplers.
Basic characteristics and applications of isochronous cycle timing.
-Documentation and drawing standards

The course includes case study material and practical examples on how the techniques are applied. A theory test at the end of the course ensures that the attendees understand and can apply the material covered. Successful candidates will be awarded the Certified PROFIBUS System Designer Certificate issued by PISA.

Space is very limited! To book your spot and get a quote, please send an email to academy[at] or call IDX on +27 11 548 9960. 

Content adapted from For training outside of Southern Africa, please visit the 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Visit IDX at AUW 2016

We are pleased to invite you to visit IDX showcasing in The African Utility Week Expo at the CTICC-Cape Town
Find out here how we can provide you with a remote monitoring and control solution for your energy requirements.

We will be showcasing:

  • Remote energy device monitoring and control solutions (Gen sets, Solar, Hydro and wind).
    • DC Monitoring
    • Fuel Alarm and Monitoring
    • Remote IO Monitoring and control
  • Wireless LAN bridges for flexible industrial uses.
  • The new SG Gateway range, allows MBus, IO's and multiple Ethernet based protocols to be converted among one another.
  • The IDX academy and Certified training offerings.

FREE registration - CLICK HERE

Friday, March 18, 2016

Anybus Communicator Training at IDX. Convert serial and Modbus to PROFIBUS, PROFINET, Ethernet/IP, etc

Did you know that IDX in Johannesburg regularly runs free Anybus Communicator Training? Learn how to convert between common industrial communications protocols like Modbus, PROFINET, PROFIBUS, Ethernet/IP etc. Set-out practical exercises prepare you for real-world applications and you are encouraged to bring your own equipment so that you have an expert at hand to ensure success of your implementation.  Visit to check out the latest schedule.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Ingula Pumped storage scheme PROFIBUS Success story

Recently IDX (based on it's PROFIBUS know-how) had the privelege of visiting the Ingula Pumped Storage Scheme to assist in the resolution of an issue preventing the completion of integration of vendor equipment from different suppliers at Unit 3.
So we were pleased to see the story (below) reported in ESI AFRICA on 11th March 2016 ( ) that Unit 3 had commenced operation and had successfully synchronised to the national electricity grid.
Well done Kyle and Jackson!
For any PROFIBUS/PROFINET/OTHER Realtime communication issues contact