Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Role of PLCopen for Motion Control

Motion integration issues have emerged to the forefront, along with connectivity and maintainability to automation solutions. Unfortunately, the motion control market is a very fragmented market, providing a wide variety of incompatible systems or solutions. In practice this means that the software tools and the architecture for development, installation and maintenance will differ widely. This incompatibility incur costs consideration: applying different implementations is confusing, engineering becomes difficult, and the software is not reusable across platforms. Overall this means that there is too little standardization in the market. Standardization of flexible solutions which are open to new developments. It is not only meaning harmonizing the programming languages, like done within the worldwide IEC 61131-3 standard, but also the interface of software towards different motion control solutions, like distributed vs integrated. In this way the benefits of standardization software are:
• Less hardware dependence
• Transparent program
• Higher level of reusable code
• Lower commissioning, installation and maintenance costs
• Wide industry acceptance
• Reduction in training costs

Motion control gets more and more integrated with the classical PLC environment, creating a good basis for standardization. This vision was shared among many different suppliers as part of the PLCopen organization, and resulted in the definition of a PLCopen Motion Control library.

This standardization effectively is done by defining libraries of reusable components. In this way the programming is less hardware dependent, the reusability in support and training reduced, and the application becomes scalable across different levels of control. Such as it is based on IEC66131-3 Function Blocks, creating application programs which are understandable and reusable commonly across platforms. It is usable on different architectures due to the data hiding and encapsulation, like from centralized to distributed control. And it is open to existing and future technologies. This standardization is expected to cover around 80% of the market of motion control.


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