Growth in Model-Based Design for Automation Control
By working from a model to structured text and finally an application, the Simulink PLC Coder from The MathWorks generates structured text from the model that an IDE can deploy to an industrial control system. (Source: The MathWorks)
Yes, I've been hearing about these simulation techniques. Apparently it's less expensive to simulate and prove the plant before putting the actual pieces together. And apparently it's faster. Plus, a highly optimized and efficient plant configuration can be captured in software and taken to the next plant. It becomes best practices captured in software.
Al, the continuing enroachment of digital devices has been moving apace. In the SoC world the software team is now larger than the hardware team. Tools that allow software design to start at the begining of a project have a major effect. From your article, this seems to becoming the rule in the mechatronic domain as well. These models can be complex and the control functions that can be handled in a microcontroller will often are extensive. This should help shorten time to market in a critical automation area.