Control Software Is Sweeter in Suites

When Bundled in Suites, Control Software Is More Interoperable and Offers More Options

One advantage of using an all-inclusive software suite that includes control is pricing, says Ted Thayer, automation systems product manager for Bosch Rexroth ( "Another advantage is program organization for multiple machine components. Drives, PLC and HMI can all be accessed from a single project explorer tree."

Another primary advantage of suites is ease of use, says Charlie Norz, product manager – Wago-I/O-System ( "Comprehensive control software that includes typical functions, such as programming and visualization, is often very intuitive and can significantly streamline project commissioning," he says.

"When you have different software forming a suite, and you have that interoperability, there's an opportunity to develop a ‘common tagname database,’ which allows you to create and assign I/O variable names once and then use them over and over again across the entire suite of other software components—your HMI development package, your database integration software," says Ben Orchard, systems engineer at Opto 22 ( "Each of these components is independent and doesn't rely on the others, but at the same time, can still access and use the established tagname database."

Customers can seamlessly layer other parts of the suite, and it also provides a consistent approach to configuration, reuse of common components across the suite, licensing, security and maintenance of solutions, says Prasad Pai, iFix product manager at GE Fanuc ( "But if the control software is very dependent on the other parts of the suite for its basic operation," says Pai, "then the solution can be very expensive and closed for any external integration."

Instead of managing multiple licenses, a suite reduces that number to one, says Stephen Arnold, senior automation product marketing specialist at Schneider Electric ( "A large benefit to users relates to the ability to create a database for different hardware—PLCs, HMI—through one editing session," he says. "This helps to eliminate the errors that can be introduced by creating multiple databases individually for each piece of hardware.  Software suites offer the user a solution that will be better integrated and easier to employ than may be the case when using multiple, individual software programs that have not been bundled and tested together."

Support also comes from one vendor rather than multiple, says Bjoern Falke, product marketing senior specialist at Phoenix Contact ( "One disadvantage, however, is that you possibly lose some flexibility," he adds. "For example, you like the control software from Supplier A, but like a different HMI/visualization software from Supplier B. In that case, you would have to do more testing to make sure the two different packages work with each other. Sometimes you need special drivers."

The advantages of a software suite depend on the level of data integration between the software products and the consistency of the user experience, says Fabio Malaspina, product manager at Rockwell Automation ( "Some control vendors develop products at different times by varying engineer teams for multiple purposes," he explains. "Unfortunately, these same products are often loosely packaged in a suite offering. This lowers productivity by requiring users to enter the same data multiple times in different software products, all with separate user interfaces."

TopDoc PLC programming/documentation/maintenance software is available for both Linux and Windows operating systems. File formats, functions and features are common to both versions so users can move between the two operating systems. TopDoc is used to support SoftPLC open-architecture PACs. Features include ladder logic programming and documentation, PLC configuration, online monitoring/programming and reports. A console option provides access to the PLC via SSH for remote troubleshooting.
PcVue v.8.2 is compatible with AutoCAD, enables the conversion of FactoryLink data and supports VMware, which allows a single PC to manage several virtual machines. Based on object-oriented technology PcVue is designed to reduce development and implementation time. The PcVue v.8.2 Smart Generator tool allows the use of data from software platforms such as Wago CoDeSys, Schneider Electric Unity, IsaGraf and Echelon.
ARC Informatique
virtualization technologyVIRTUAL OS
LabView 2009 with virtualization technology makes it possible to run multiple operating systems side-by-side on the same multicore processing hardware. NI Real-Time Hypervisor software combines the power of the LabView Real-Time Module with general-purpose OS capabilities to reduce overall system cost and size. Engineers and scientists can run Windows XP and LabView Real-Time side- by-side on the same controller.
National Instruments
operations softwareINTEGRATED SOLUTIONS
Wonderware Operations Software 3.4 and Performance Software 3.4 integrate with Wonderware’s System Platform and InTouch HMI software and are built on standards-based ArchestrA real-time service-oriented architecture (SOA). This provides a comprehensive manufacturing execution system (MES), enterprise manufacturing intelligence (EMI), human-machine interface (HMI) and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) solution using a single platform.
automation studioIN THE STUDIO
A single development environment for control, visualization, motion control and communication tasks, Automation Studio includes all standardized IEC editors, an integrated ANSI C compiler and debugger, graphic configuration for I/O points and axes and integrated configuration of machine visualization systems. IP 20 and IP 67 I/O offer flexibility and can be scaled using small slices or compact blocks and can be linked to the controller using fieldbus connections or direct coupling.
B&R Industrial Automation
IsaGraf IEC 61131-3/IEC 61499-compliant environment programs a variety of automation products, including PACs, PLCs, DCSs, RTUs, CNCs, embedded microcontrollers and motion controllers. Based on a scalable and modular platform, IsaGraf 6 provides a managed open plug-in environment that enables integration of components. The infrastructure allows IsaGraf Runtime to coexist with any other PLC in the same development environment, unifying them under IEC 61131.
MotionWorks IECIEC PRO
MotionWorks IEC Pro integrated development environment based on IEC 61131-3 is built on the same code as MotionWorks IEC Express software and includes all additions made to the MotionWorks IEC Express software since May 2008. The Pro version allows users to program in sequential function chart language, and configure projects with up to 16 tasks.
engineering softwareCOMPACT CONTROL
Simatic Step 7 Basic engineering software for the compact controller class includes tools for programming Simatic S7-1200 compact controller and Simatic HMI Basic panels from one integrated software package. Task-oriented and intuitive editors support ladder logic and function block diagram programming languages. Step 7 Basic engineering software and S7-1200 controller integrate the controller, HMI and networking functionalities with one program.
Siemens Industry
KW Software's Multiprog and ProConOS requires a one-time design to leverage control know-how into different control platforms. KW SoftLogic creates single tagging database and HMI software, and shares the same tagging database by OPC server under Windows CE operating system. Multiprog supports all standardized IEC 61131-3 programming languages.
Advantech Industrial Automation Group

Think & Do 8.0 HMI software provides real-time and historical trending and alarming, along with ActiveX, MS.NET and VB script support. The HMI runtime environment lets the user establish concurrent Web HMI sessions, where the HMI screens can be viewed remotely through an ordinary Web browser. The grid-based flowchart editor creates a visual flowchart and connects flowchart elements with the use of a hotspot connect feature.

MintNC software provides designers with a tool for programming motion control moves involving contouring and profiling applications in industrial automation machinery. It provides a PC-based environment that will import information in industry-standard CAD formats including G code, HPGL and DXF, and it generates required real-time motion commands.
Baldor Electric

TwinCat EtherNet/IP slave software can communicate seamlessly with all company industrial PCs, embedded PCs, PLCs and EtherNet/IP master devices from other vendors. The software lets machine builders use small, high-speed processors in the company’s PC-based controllers.
Beckhoff Automation

RMCTools 2.2 software supports RMC150 multi-axis motion controllers with flexible mathematical expressions, setup wizards, automated loop tuning wizards and graphics-based diagnostics.
Delta Computer Systems

Gp-Pro EX Version 2.2 HMI development software includes multimedia capability, remote PC access, high-speed device linking and built-in control logic editor. The software is designed to speed application development for both OEMs and end users that need to standardize on one HMI package that supports Windows-based systems and dedicated operator interfaces. Other features include local and remote security and traceability.
Pro-face America

software toolsSOFTWARE TOOLS
Intune+ Process Navigator combines customized software tools and process control services to minimize process variations through a production unit. It provides customized reports that supplement and enhance existing technical expertise on the staff.

FPWIN Pro is developed according to IEC 61131-3. Features include one software for all Panasonic PLCs; five programming languages including instruction list, ladder diagram, function block diagram, sequential function chart and structured text; six supported languages including English, German, French, Italian, Spanish and Japanese; remote programming, service and diagnostics via modem or Ethernet; minimal program size through optimized compiler; debugging and monitoring tools; support of user-created functions and function blocks; and archive project file.
Panasonic Electric Works of America
design applicationsUNITY PRO
Design and develop applications for Modicon M340, Premium and Quantum PLC platforms using Unity Pro control software. Unity Pro is designed to enable users to develop functions using symbolic descriptions of data and an embedded library of derived function blocks (DFBs). This includes utilizing any of the five IEC-standard languages to customize your program. Online syntax verification in the textual and graphical language editors and the integrated PLC emulator debugging tool help to minimize programming errors. Functional views give direct access to the control management of the process.
Schneider Electric
IndraWorks engineering suite was developed for use across the entire range of Rexroth control and drive technologies. Users can program PLCs, motion controllers, HMIs and configure drives from a single software suite. A visualization tool can also be upgraded to allow remote access and monitoring of project HMIs. The software suite features scalable integration of the various engineering tools into the framework.
Bosch Rexroth
PAC project softwarePROJECT SUITE
PAC Project software suite includes PAC Control, an intuitive, flowchart-based control programming tool with both a plain-English command set and a scripting language. PAC Display, the HMI development and run-time application, also is included.
Opto 22
The CX-One software package integrates PLC programming software with support software for setting up networks, operator interface HMIs, servo systems, inverters and temperature controllers. Users never enter the same information twice and can manage entire projects from sequencing and motion control programs to configuration of field network devices without leaving the operating environment. Advances in CX-One v.3 enable programmers to use IEC 61131-3 programming languages, including sequential function chart and structured text. 
Omron Electronics
programming softwareOFFLOAD CONTROL
Utilizing the CoDeSys programming environment, Wago-I/O-Pro CAA 3.0 software is designed to offload traditional higher-level control to the machine level. Compliant with the IEC 61131-3 open standard, Speedway and Wago-I/O-Pro CAA 3.0 software accommodate all prominent programming languages, data types and operators. Speedway controllers feature object-oriented programming extensions. Coordinating multiple controllers is streamlined, as the software programs multiple controllers within one project. 
Rockwell Software RSLogix Architect software provides a single environment for the design and management of a Logix-based control system. The software provides a way to store reusable code components, add-on instructions (AOIs) and user-defined data types (UDTs). New features include find-and-replace capabilities, multi-object drag-and-drop or copy/paste function, quick print of search results and support for unrecognized modules. Select an AOI from a library and then find and replace one or more instances of that same AOI in the project.
Rockwell Automation
process control systemPROFICY
Proficy Process Systems is a process control system designed for customers in different industries with an advanced DCS or hybrid process control system.  V. 1.6 enhances the system architecture by adding the support of the PAC8000 process controllers and the PACSystems redundant Rx3i controllers.  With the support of PACSystems Redundant Rx3i controllers, Proficy Process Systems provides an architecture for a variety of industries, including food and beverage.
GE Fanuc
nanoNavigatorNANO UPGRADE
The nanoNavigator 2.0, for use with Phoenix Contact’s nanoLine controller, adds relay ladder logic (RLL) programming in addition to the flow chart language in the original version. Each project can consist of flow chart or ladder chart (RLL) sub-projects, which can comprise any combination of flow charts or RLL charts up to a maximum of 16 charts. The software is backward-compatible with all existing nanoLine base stations. Free download is available.
Phoenix Contact

monitoring systemsTAP INTO MACHINES
DataNet Enterprise Web-based enterprise monitoring system offers the basic functionality of an ERP tool or MES. Users pull information from various enterprise areas and display it in a consolidated format. It taps into machines, databases and legacy systems to manage core information, monitor real-time plant processes and collect and analyze historical data.

InstantHMI 5.0 platform-independent SCADA and control software has stand-alone PDA-based wireless access to EtherNet/IP-enabled controllers. The architecture provides extensibility via user-created DLL, customized OEM DLL, scripting and enhanced COM/ActiveX support, interface to specify RTI I/O configurations and control logic.
Software Horizons

motion programmingMOTION CONTROL
Motion programming interface MPI 4.0 is a C/C++ software library for writing motion applications for SynqNet controllers. As open software, it enables users to customize the application code for a machine and perform on-the-fly motion modifications, synchronize multiple axes and set up trigger events.
Danaher Motion

ASC.NET has driver support for Logix processors via Ethernet; A-B PLC5, SLC500 and MicroLogix via Ethernet; Modbus/TCP Master; GE SRTP; and Modbus RTU Master. HMI/SCADA developers have a runtime-free option for creating HMI, control and supervisory control applications in Visual Studio .NET. The drivers provide the communications link between .NET applications and industrial controllers, PLCs and instrumentation.
Automation Solutions