Reader Feedback: Machine Builder Training, End User Benefits and More

Letters, Letters, Letters! See What Our Readers Had to Say this Month

[These comments were posted recently on Machine Builder Forum ( in response to Contributing Editor Jeremy Pollard’s posting on whether the IEC 61131 standard has significant value to users.]

Training and Maintenance Win

The benefit for the user base is reduced cost of training and maintenance. When you’re trying to get 100,000 widgets per shift out the back door, a maintenance technician who can troubleshoot Vendor A’s code and then go and work on Vendor B’s code is a significant financial advantage.

MARC ROBBINS, controls engineer,
Los Alamos National Laboratory,

Desperately Seeking Benefits

I wholeheartedly agree that the end user (me) doesn’t benefit or appreciate most of the benefits gained from IEC 61131 software. Most of the time it just doesn’t help, and many times it seems to get in the way. Give me a well-coordinated environment like RSLogix for end user troubleshooting.

ROD SANDERS, electronic technician,
Stevens Graphics,

Best We’ve Got

You know IEC is about look and feel, so it’s focused toward training, engineering, operation and installation.
Also, via the function block concepts it is focused on reusability of code, especially in different projects.
It gives you (especially if combined with SFC) a very structured approach to your software development process.

Perhaps the issue in the U.S. actually  is whether there is a consistent software development philosophy within industrial automation.

EELCO VAN DER WAL, managing director,

Have You Seen the Emperor’s Clothes?

When this thing was first promised, we were told that there would be “automation code foundries” where you would purchase standard code widgets and they could be used by any IEC 61131-3 PLC.

The emperor has no clothes with IEC 61131-3.

The vendor voting bloc at the IEC hijacked the whole process, just as they did with the eight-headed hydra for the fieldbus.

There’s no way that a Siemens S7 expert can intuitively switch to ControlLogix and be ready to go.

RANJAN ACHARYA, senior systems engineer
Grantek Systems Integration, 

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