Take Control of Control Software

Dec. 22, 2014
Current Approaches Automate Automation

Increasing demands on the time and resources of today's engineers mean that modern control software should be designed with efficiency in mind.

"Trends in the industry lean toward the ability to automate the automation software, providing engineers the tools to programmatically change the software configuration of a machine, including the actual PLC code. This enables an OEM to automatically configure the machine controller's code to match the machine's actual I/O layout or to modify the software configuration based on the company's orderable machine options, without requiring the efforts of a controls engineer," says Daymon Thompson, TwinCAT product specialist, Beckhoff Automation.

The resulting better use of engineers' time boosts their productivity and gives them the freedom to focus on more valuable activities such as R&D and developing next-generation machine concepts, continues Thompson.

"These capabilities come with the need to archive and control the source code of the machines. Modern PC-based control software makes use of widely used and available source control tools such as Git, SVN or even Microsoft Team Foundation Server. This means engineering teams have access to a wider range of valuable programming tools. In this way, the automation technology (AT) and IT/computer science arenas are unified so the best-suited programming tool can be deployed depending on each individual task."

Automation Interface in TwinCAT 3 allows the remote control of TwinCAT PC-based real-time control systems, supporting the external control of almost all off-line and on-line functions. Automation Interface consists of a large number of programming routines available in the software's API in the form of classes and methods. Users can generate, change and save TwinCAT projects in a standard and flexible manner in conjunction with a source code database, if desired.
Beckhoff; 877/894-6228

Analyze This
Zenon Analyzer 2.20 is reporting and analysis software for industrial automation applications. An SQL connector lets users connect databases from third parties and use the data for reporting and analysis. The software has new report templates such as the Sankey diagram, a requirement for energy data management systems in accordance with ISO 50001.
Copa-Data USA; 609/385-0846

PLC Project Planning
EPlan Platform 2.4 provides PLC project planning in graphical overviews. Navigation options accelerate project planning, even in large projects. Extended support for IEC 81346 and IEC 61355 through structuring principles and reference designations provides users a basis for innovative design methods.
ePlan Software & Service; 248/945-9204


Collect Maintenance Data
SILStat v2 software helps users evaluate risks posed by hazardous situations by collecting and analyzing operation and maintenance data. A standalone (Lite) and server-based (Site) option are available.
exida; 215/453-1720

Controls SCADA
Proficy HMI/SCADA - Cimplicity software precisely monitors and controls every aspect of a user's SCADA environment, equipment and resources. Version 9.0 lets users improve structured databases quickly and easily, enabling real-time operation intelligence and providing the right information, anytime, anywhere. Features include improved configuration capabilities, better interaction with new, richer protocols and an improved operator experience with reduced alarm noise. Long point names allow 256 characters for building a structured database quickly. Proficy Historian for SCADA is included in the release.
GE Intelligent Platforms; 800/433-2682

Analyzes Root Cause
PlantTriage Control Loop Monitoring software uses a special method called Automated Determination of Root Cause, which is central to assessing a control loop by locating the original root cause of upsets. The method determines the most likely root cause using a big-data technique that gathers real-time data from hundreds or thousands of controllers and correlates it.
Metso ExperTune; 262/369-7711

Programs PACs
PAC Project 9.4 is an upgrade to PAC Project, a software suite that provides control programming, HMI development, OPC connectivity and database integration. PAC Project 9.4 adds support for HART protocol SNAP I/O modules, logs HMI data to ODBC databases and uses Unicode (UTF-16) in the HMI to support many additional languages.
Opto 22; 951/695-3000

SCADA Software
Idea Studio SCADA software helps operators and developers be productive in a short time with an architecture that pre-integrates all core SCADA components with one installation. Users can configure redundant servers, distributed historians, mobile access or communication with any combination of I/O. The software provides a simple drag-and-drop interface for creating professional displays. Operators can create and save their own trends.
Trihedral; 800/463-2783

Manages Field Devices
FieldMate Versatile Device Management Wizard R3.01 is software for configuring, adjusting and managing a wide variety of field devices used in factories and other production sites. The software includes functions that facilitate the management of memos, photos and videos, as well as automatically generate reports. It runs on PCs, including tablet PCs, that have either Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. A trial version is available on the company's website.
Yokogawa Corporation;

Big for MACs
Sysmac Studio software integrates configuration, programming, simulation and monitoring to set up, program, debug and maintain NJ-Series machine automation controllers (MACs) 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; 866/88-omron

Build It
Automation Builder provides an integrated development environment for control and motion systems based on PLCs, safety PLCs, robotics, motion control and related automation components. This reduces software complexity by combining all of the tools required for configuring, programming, debugging and maintaining automation projects from a common intuitive interface. It includes RobotStudio tool for simulating and programming industrial robot applications, Mint WorkBench tool and pre-built and tested libraries for controlling devices connected via fieldbuses, networks or the Web.
ABB; 262/780-3000

Service Updates
With Service Pack for CoDeSys v.3.5, users make better use of screen space by automatically hiding windows that aren't required. Dialogues are simplified, drag-and-drop support is extended, online displays standardized and the program displays in graphic editors are more intuitive. Motion and CNC characteristics of the system have been extended by new transformations, as well as drivers for CAN and EtherCAT drives.
3S-Smart Software Solutions; +49-831-54031-17

More Support
Do-more PLC supports Ethernet I/O directly from the Ethernet port on the CPU. Connected racks and drives are auto-discovered, and all connected Ethernet I/O points use native addressing. Users can independently adjust the poll rate for each I/O rack (slave). Ethernet slaves can be configured as "critical" I/O, so the CPU will drop out of run mode if that I/O rack or GS drive disconnects for some reason. Diagnostic functions are included.
AutomationDirect; 800/633-0405;

Deploy Control Portico software lets users deploy a network portal for remote visualization, interaction and control of other computers on the factory floor. Using Ethernet and remote frame buffering (RFB), it extends the transmission of video signals beyond the limits of VGA or DVI, and does it without the need for repeater hardware and cables. Its control arbitration mechanism ensures that only one client has control of the server computer at any given time.
Phoenix Contact; 800/322-3225

More Hardware Support
LabView 2013 includes native support for the newest hardware from vendors such as ARM and Xilinx, as well as a suite of code management, documentation and review tools. New tools integrate with a software engineering process, including a new Subversion plug-in from Viewpoint Systems and a new tool from Wirebird Labs. It enables users to deliver systems on the latest mobile platforms for iOS and Android for dashboards for remote monitoring and system control.
National Instruments; 800/453-6202

Follow the Right Path
Generate G-code motion programs directly from CAD drawings by importing vector-based drawing files into CADFusion to see the resulting tool path graphically. Automatic and manual shape reordering options allow for optimal tool and processing paths. The software allows user-defined initialization, process shutdown and shuttering commands (laser on/off).
Aerotech; 412/967-6854;

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; 770/772-0400;

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