Back To The Future: Interbus Obsolescence

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Written by Tony Deane, Sales & Marketing Manager- Industry Management & Automation

Interbus is still an integral legacy part of industry, still supporting and operating countless systems throughout several industries from Automotive, Food and Beverage, Printing, Materials Handling and many more.

One of the defining characteristics of many Interbus systems is that, in many cases, they are spread over a wide area within a factory. In fact, due to the integrated repeater function in each device, the total expansion of the INTERBUS system can reach 13 km (8.078 mi.). Replacing a controller is one thing, replacing an entire network infrastructure of that magnitude on an operationally critical system to a business is an entirely different proposition and undertaking which, if at all possible, you would want to avoid.

The issue facing many legacy Interbus users is that many vendors who, in the past, used Interbus to leverage its ground-breaking properties when launched in 1986 (and used in new installations up to as recently as 2013), no longer support the PLC Systems that used Interbus as a fieldbus network, or no longer supply the Interbus master interface card, as the factory automation industry moves away from serial copper based network technology to Ethernet based networks (Profinet, Ethernet IP, Ethercat).

So, the question is how can you upgrade your control system to the latest control technology without having to replace a perfectly robust, extensive, and functioning network infrastructure overnight?

As the creators of Interbus in 1986, Phoenix Contact offers you not one, but two options.

Firstly, we offer the FL NP PND 4TX 2985974 Profinet proxy device.

The FL NP PND 4TX device allows your control system to control your Interbus network by combining a Profinet device with an integrated Interbus G4 Master within one product.  The device allows the PLC to talk to the Interbus network via Profinet. This will provide a path towards a gradual change of network infrastructure, whilst the plant remains in operation.

For the second option, Phoenix Contact offer PLC Next Technology utilising the AXC F XT IB 2403018 Interbus master interface. This option requires a far more comprehensive re-engineering approach than the FL NP PND 4TX but will allow you to bring an existing, robust and dependable Interbus system into a control platform that can leverage High level languages including C#, C++, Opensource software, allow you to use the likes of NodeRed and allow instant IIOT cloud access to process data via Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and our own Proficloud service to give visibility and transparency, to enable early diagnosis, intervention and ultimately, efficiency to your system.

Both solutions allow for a gradual migration to Profinet over an extended period, therefore making the inevitable move to an Ethernet technology-based network, a project-based undertaking with less disruption both operationally and financially.  

For more information or demonstration of either option contact Tony Deane on 07824 437393 or email



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