PLCopen is an independent organization providing efficiency in industrial automation based on the needs of users. Its members, representing various industries, focus on harmonization of control programming, and application and interfacing engineering. Founded in 1992, PLCopen members have concentrated on technical specifications around IEC 61131-3, creating specifications and implementations in order to reduce cost in industrial engineering. The outcome for example is standardized libraries for different application fields, harmonized language conformity levels and engineering interfaces for exchange. Experts of the PLCopen members are organized in technical committees and together with end users define such open standards.
PLCopen was founded in 1992 just after the programming standard IEC 61131-3 was published. The controls market at that time was a very heterogeneous market with different types of programming methods for many different PLCs. The IEC 61131-3 is a standard defining the programming languages for PLCs, embedded controls, and industrial PCs, harmonizing applications independent from specific dialects, but still based on known methods such as the textual programming languages Function Block Diagram and Ladder Diagram, and the structuring tool Sequential Function Chart.
IEC 61131-3 is a highly accepted programming standard and many-industrial software and hardware companies offer products based on this standard, which in the end are used in many different machinery and other application fields.