Programmable Logic Controller (PLC)

Assembly Line

Comau and Siemens collaborate to integrate robotics and artificial intelligence in the PLC

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Partnership, Programmable Logic Controller

🏢 Organizations: Siemens, Comau


SIMATIC Robot Library and the “Comau Next Generation Programming Platform” use Profinet’s “Standard Robot Command Interface,” a growing industrial communication protocol. Thanks to this standard, manufacturing companies can quickly and easily program and manage Comau robots using Siemens software and control systems. As the integration and automation between the Siemens PLC and the robotic controller do not require prior knowledge in robotic programming the solution reduces work time and costs, increasing production efficiency.

Read more at Comau Uploads (PDF)

Dear vPLC, how real-time are you?

📅 Date:

✍️ Authors: Josef Waltl, Diogenes Javier Perez

🔖 Topics: Programmable Logic Controller

🏢 Organizations: Software Defined Automation


Modernizing the factory automation stack requires more than an update of the latest PLC models. Instead, a paradigm shift towards software-defined automation is required. The design and implementation of flexible manufacturing systems for individualized products are crucial for competitive production systems of the future. In such systems, reconfiguration or redeployment of industrial automation systems can be done for every piece, the application of machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms is essential, and full-loop feedback systems enable self-optimizing production systems.

Uncoupling of hardware and software not only allows scaling but also helps to overcome supply chain challenges with proprietary PLC hardware due to the vast availability of standard x86 server hardware. The term virtual PLC refers to a soft PLC that runs within a virtual machine managed by a real-time hypervisor in a commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) server. Servers and computers can offer enough resources to fulfill the functions of PLCs, Human-Machine Interfaces (HMIs), and programming terminals together. A server hosting virtual PLCs that communicate with the shop floor and cloud. Coupling the cloud and shop floor further allows the implementation of software-based PLC operations (Ops), as well as data collection and use of advanced machine learning algorithms, while still satisfying deterministic real-time requirements. Virtual PLCs help overcome the limitations of hardware-based PLCs by offering more flexibility, better resource usage, scalability, and lower costs.

Read more at Software Defined Automation Blog

Modern Software Meets Legacy Hardware

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Programmable Logic Controller

🏢 Organizations: Grantek


However, through the efforts of one of our talented Principal Engineers, Grantek was able to pair the advanced PID Loop Tuning software LOOP-PRO TUNER (from Control Station) with Legacy Siemens/TI 505 PLCs as well as its newest compatible 2500 series PLCs processors manufactured by CTI.

Read more at Grantek Blog

Robot integration ease of use a priority

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Xavier Schmidt

🔖 Topics: Industrial Robot, Programmable Logic Controller


Leading robot manufacturers – ABB, Comau, Epson, Fanuc, Jaka, Kawasaki, Kuka, Nachi, Panasonic, Stäubli, TM Robot, Yamaha, Yaskawa – joined forces at the initiative of Siemens to develop a solution. Around 70 percent of the world’s robot manufacturers were on board. Now, the joint work has paid off. A uniform data interface between the PLC and the robot controllers has been defined to make robot programming uniform – and thus more efficient – for PLC programmers and PLC suppliers. Via this data interface, robot programs can be written completely in the PLC by calling the robot functions and reporting the required robot state information back to the PLC.

Read more at Plant Engineering

The Old Switcheroo: Hiding Code on Rockwell Automation PLCs

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Sharon Brizinov

🔖 Topics: Cybersecurity, Programmable Logic Controller

🏢 Organizations: Claroty


Team82 and Rockwell Automation today disclosed some details about two vulnerabilities in Rockwell programmable logic controllers and engineering workstation software. CVE-2022-1161 affects numerous versions of Rockwell’s Logix Controllers and has a CVSS score of 10, the highest criticality. CVE-2022-1159 affects several versions of its Studio 5000 Logix Designer application, and has a CVSS score of 7.7, high severity. Modified code could be downloaded to a PLC, while an engineer at their workstation would see the process running as expected, reminiscent of Stuxnet and the Rogue7 attacks.

Read more at Claroty Blog

PLCs improve predictive maintenance

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Damon Purvis

🔖 Topics: Programmable Logic Controller, IIoT, predictive maintenance

🏢 Organizations: Microsoft, AutomationDirect


There is no doubt PLC technology is already strongly established on the plant floor. However, by embedding IT protocols, Cloud connectivity, and security features into today’s PLCs, it is possible to gather data that may have existed idly and use it to provide a much stronger idea as to what condition devices and machines are in to prevent unplanned downtime.

Read more at Plant Engineering

MES & Machine Learning

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: manufacturing execution system, programmable logic controller, supervisory control and data acquisition

🏢 Organizations: Acerta


As the manufacturing sector continues to embrace digitalization, fully integrated manufacturing execution systems will become more and more useful for managing facilities. However, it is expensive for a plant to fully revamp their IT infrastructure. Manufacturers with partially integrated or non-existent MES won’t upgrade unless there are benefits that outweigh the costs, and returns that can be realized.

Incorporating a MES and subsequent machine learning platform into a facility’s or organization’s infrastructure reduces the cost of manual data processing. Tasks that have traditionally taken hours of manual labor, such as aggregating line data to identify trends, can be automated and completed in minutes or less. In this case, machine learning isn’t competing with statistical process control (SPC) or other traditional quality methods; it’s augmenting them so that engineers spend less time to get better insights into their operations.

Read more at Acerta Blog

Gaining an Edge on Line Control

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Vibhoosh Gupta

🔖 Topics: IIoT, Programmable Logic Controller, edge computing

🏢 Organizations: Emerson


Edge control provides access to real time OEE and information visualization that changes the value calculation. With edge control, end-users can easily tie together existing equipment, other legacy controllers and new external sensing. The combined raw data can be analyzed at the edge to generate information needed by operators to take fast informed action, and it is the foundation for more advanced production line integration, with the ultimate goal of insight-driven and adaptive operation.

Read more at Machine Design

Yaskawa and Phoenix Contact Announce Partnership Collaboration to develop next generation machine controller and PLC Platform

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Programmable Logic Controller, Partnership

🏢 Organizations: Yaskawa, Phoenix Contact


Yaskawa, a manufacturer of motion control, robotics, and variable speed drives and Phoenix Contact, a manufacturer of automation solutions are proud to announce an agreement to utilize PLCnext Technology from Phoenix Contact in the development of the next generation machine controller and PLC platform realizing the i³-Mechatronics solution concept lead by Yaskawa.

Read more at Yaskawa News Release

Unchain the ShopFloor through Software-Defined Automation

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Josef Waltl

🔖 Topics: Programmable Logic Controller, Lights Out Manufacturing

🏢 Organizations: Software Defined Automation, AWS


But, what happens as soon as insight is generated and the status of the physical process needs to be changed to a better state? In manufacturing for discrete and process industries, the process is defined by fixed code routines and programmable parameters. It has its own world of control code languages and standards to define the behavior of controllers, robot arms, sensors and actuators of all kinds. This world has remained remarkably stable over the past 40-plus years. Control code resides on a controller and special tools, as well as highly skilled automation engineers, who define the behavior of a specific production system. Changing the state of an existing and running production system changes the programs and parameters required to physically access the automation equipment—OT equipment needs to be re-programmed, often on every single component locally. To give a concrete example, let’s assume we can determine from field data, using applied machine learning (also referenced as Industrial IoT), that a behavior of a robotic handling process needs to be adapted. In the existing world, production needs to stop. A skilled engineer needs to physically re-teach or flash the robot controller. The new movement needs to be tested individually and in context of the adjacent production components. Finally, production can start again. This process can take minutes to hours depending on the complexity of the production system.

Production systems will optimize themselves based on simulated and real experiment. Improvements will rapidly be propagated around the globe. Labor will optimize the learning, not the system. This could also differ over time or by external influence. In times where renewable energy was cheap, output could have been one of the core drivers for optimization, while the minimization of input factors could have been paramount in other circumstances.

Read more at Engineers Rule