The software capability is not only required advanced software, but also an increase in the controllers of hardware capabilities. Many vendors of semiconductor began to redesign their products for Industrial Applications with the decline in world-wide demand for PC components. Currently control vendors are incorporating industrial versions of floating point processors, DRAM, solid-state storage devices such as CompactFlash, and fast Ethernet chipsets into industrial control products. These vendors enable to develop more powerful software with the flexibility and usability of PC-based control systems that can run on real-time operating systems for reliability.
These characteristic criteria the functionality of the controller by defining the software capabilities:
1. Multi-domain functionality, At least 2 of logic, motion, drives, PID control, and process on a single platform. Except for some variations in I/O to address specific protocols like SERCOS; process, logic, motion, and PID are simply a function of the software.
2. Single multi-discipline development platform incorporating a single database for access and common tagging to all parameters and functions. It requires more advanced software PACs to design more advanced applications such as multi-domain designs. The software must be a single integrated software package instead of disparate software tools which are not engineered to seamlessly work together in order to make system design efficient.
3. Software tools that allow the design by process flow across several machines or process units, together with IEC61131-3, data management, and user guidance. Another component that simplifies system design is high level tools of graphical development that make it easy to translate an engineer’s concept into code that actually controls the machine.
4. Open modular architectures which are mirror industry applications from machine layouts in factories to unit operations in process plants. The hardware must offer modularity so the engineer can pick and choose the appropriate components because all industrial applications require significant customization.
5. Employ de-facto standards for languages, network interfaces, etc., such as OPC & XML, TCPIP, and SQL queries. Enterprise of communication networks is critical for modern control systems. The communication software is the key to trouble-free integration with the rest of the plant.