More functions are added to automation and machine control software seemingly every day. We can do sequencing or logic and motion control and HMI in one software package, on one controller. A common language platform is an essential in most automation software packages these days.
In our July cover story, we wrote that, in many ways, working toward a common environment is as much a frame of mind as it is a software package. Dan Heyman, controls engineering manager for Kuka AT, began years ago trying to get his team members to think in terms of commonizing more functions. "We did this years ago," he said. "We got tired of customizing HMIs to a station. An assembly line can have 60–100 stations on it."
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Now Heyman and his engineers use the same function blocks for as many devices as possible. For the most part, they try to stick with ladder logic as a common language. "Some guys just love statement lists. Others can’t read it to save their butts," he remarked. "We try to keep it simple, but try to keep it common, so you don’t have to know multiple languages."
Kuka whittled its function blocks down to around 60, compared with perhaps a couple hundred before. "A lot of that is just discipline in your programming," he says. "We’re giving them the freedom, but also the guidance. Here’s a motion block — do as many different motions as possible, vs. writing one for this cylinder with this particular type of valve."
Similarly, in June we reported on the path that machining center builder Rattunde took to use a single software environment. The CNC, PLC and HMI are programmed within one software environment, noted Richard Stadler, president of Rattunde’s North American operation. "Every end of the machine, every motion, every input, every output is controlled by the integrated control system."
|Good to Share
Automation Studio 4 has true-to-life architecture modeling, version control, support for shared projects via modularization, and simple object-oriented programming. It comes with an interface to Eplan Electric P8, which allows ECAD projects and the hardware configuration to be synchronized. A smart editor uses function libraries and sections of code that have already been programmed.
B&R Industrial Automation
|Big for MACs
Sysmac Studio integrates configuration, programming, simulation and monitoring to set up, program, debug and maintain NJ-Series Machine Automation Controllers and EtherCAT slaves. Machine and motion programming is based on IEC 61131-3 and PLCopen function blocks for motion control. It offers a 3D simulation environment to develop and test off-line motion profiles.
Omron Automation & Safety
CoDeSys for company's PLCs streamlines GUI creation and application programming via integrated IEC 61131-3 object-orientated programming. Visualization lets users select basic elements/pre-drawn shapes to create industrial objects. It allows object-variable manipulation within code.
SoftPLC embedded control firmware includes support for DHCP (dynamic Ethernet addressing) and SLC-500 commands in the DF1 and A-B Ethernet drivers, in addition to PLC-5 commands, enabling more HMIs to communicate to a SoftPLC-based controller. Open architecture software supports a variety of network and I/O protocols, and a C++ toolkit allows customers to add extensions such as logic instructions, drivers and more.
IsaGraf 6.1 IEC 61131-3 and IEC 61499-compliant firmware and workbench offers plug-ins including LD, FBD, ST, SFC and IEC 61499 editors, an integrated HMI, a binding editor, an I/O wiring tool, and a spy list. It includes Version Source Control, which provides a means for multiple users to work on the same elements; and Failover, a backup operational mode in which control system functions are assumed by a secondary control system when the primary system becomes unavailable.
RSLogix 5000 v20 software provides a single development environment for CompactLogix, ControlLogix and GuardLogix programmable automation controllers; Kinetix 350 servo drives on EtherNet/IP; and PanelView HMIs. In combination with scalable, right-sized control system components, users can scale from 48 to 10,000 I/O using a single control platform and common user experience.
|The Plot Optimizes
Plot Manager feature of RMCTools software streamlines tuning and optimizing of motion control loops by displaying graphs of target and actual values of motion axis position, velocity, acceleration, pressure, force and other parameters over time. It works with company's RMC70 one- and two-axis motion controllers and RMC150 multi-axis motion controllers. For traceability, reporting and comparison needs, plots can be saved or exported in different file types.
Delta Computer Systems
TwinCAT 3 PC-based control software with object-oriented IEC 61131-3 extensions enables programming in IT languages via C and C++. The software modules can run in different languages within a common runtime. Modularity improves reuse of written and tested modules. The runtime operates in real-time conditions with the use of multi-core technology and the support of 32-bit operating systems.
PC Worx RT Basic software PLC, used with an industrial PC, handles control tasks in real time via Profinet, Interbus or Modbus TCP. With a Valueline industrial PC equipped with Intel Core 2 Duo processor, processing times are 0.7 µs for 1K-bit instructions. One core is dedicated to real-time control tasks programmed in all five IEC languages. The remaining core runs existing programs written in a high-level language or other software and hardware under Windows.
Net.ABLink 4.0 provides a direct communication channel to A-B PLCs without OPC servers. Users develop Windows programs, system services, class libraries and ASP.NET solutions with direct communication to controllers using Ethernet, DH+, DH-485 or Serial DF1. It provides runtime free deployments without additional license fees, no third-party components, drivers, APIs or tools.
DASYLab software helps solve complex data acquisition and control scenarios via a flowchart directly on the screen. PID control and binary logic control can be defined using the module icons. Pulse generators can be used for exact time-dependent control with complex control signals.
|An iPad Fix
iPad app for Proficy HMI/SCADA iFix and Cimplicity lets users of iFix WebSpace or Cimplicity GlobalView connect to their HMI/SCADA runtime projects. It supports the same capabilities of a standard client. The app incorporates the ability to limit functions via standard runtime project security features as required by a user and/or a group.
GE Intelligent Platforms
SoftPAC software-based programmable controller for computationally intensive applications and applications that must log, manipulate and exchange large amounts of data is programmed with the PAC Project software suite just like company's hardware PACs. It runs under Microsoft Windows 7 (32- or 64-bit) or Windows XP (32-bit).
|One for All
Automation Organizer (AO) software suite combines the latest versions of WindLDR PLC and WindO/I-NV2 OI software with WindCFG system configuration software. Users can create a common tag name database for IDEC PLCs and OI touchscreens.
|Small App Control
Web control software with Ajax technology can remotely monitor and control a few points in a PLC-managed environment or machine using Nano-10 and FMD PLCs. Users can create and configure a custom web page that will open in a standard web browser on any PC, iPhone, iPad and most Android devices.
Triangle Research Intl
KEPDirect OPC Server connects Windows client software with an OPC server for connecting, managing, monitoring and controlling Ethernet remote I/O, PLCs and PACs. Communication is managed through a platform that supports open standards, proprietary communication protocols and other APIs.
Frequency analysis software (FAS) tunes servo systems in the frequency domain and, with a motion controller, measures the frequency response of the plant (amplifier, motor, load and encoder). It simulates possible control solutions and synthesizes the two for Bode analysis of the closed-loop system.
Galil Motion Control
IndraWorks Engineering 12 software provides access to all system components, uniform programming according to IEC 61131-3, and open support of standardized interfaces such as FDT/DTM. It supports real-time Ethernet communication, including SERCOS III, EtherNet/IP and Profinet. It offers standard HMI screens and the ability to develop customized screens and implement ActiveX controls.
|Connect and Control
Scalable KEPServerEX connects, manages, monitors and controls diverse automation devices and software applications. Communications platform supports open standards such as OPC, propriety communication protocols, APIs, and various automation system interfaces.