Growing Automation-Software Connection

April 28, 2011

2 Min Read
Growing Automation-Software Connection

Connecting softwareapplications such as simulation and modeling to automation has been talkedabout, and even implemented in specific instances, for years. But the topic hasgathered quite a bit of steam recently.

At HannoverFair this year, Siemens made news with its focus on software-enabled concurrentengineering. This initiative by Siemens will center on expansion of its TIA(Totally Integrated Automation) Portal to includes its PLM (product lifecyclemanagement) software, as well as its MES and HMI software. The company's visionis to enable a combined product and production lifecycle using a joint datamodel, allowing all software applications to access the same database forconcurrency. Youcan access the full news article on this announcement from Siemens here.

This week, Maplesoftand B&R announced a partnership aimed at hardware-in-the-loop simulations (whereinactual plant control operations are included in the development and testing ofreal-time embedded systems of automated devices).

B&R'sprogramming and development software -- Automation Studio -- is built on an openarchitecture, which reportedly allows for the physical models designed in Maplesoft'sMapleSim simulation software to be transferred to B&R's controller hardware.According to the Maplesoft, the result is a hardware-in-the-loop simulationthat emulates a machine's behavior in real time, in a safe testingenvironment before rolling it onto the production floor for use.

"UsingMapleSim, Automation Studio users can develop high-fidelity models of thecontrol plant, analyze the dynamics, and then generate optimized, real-timecode for the plant," said Dr. Laurent Bernardin, vice president, Research andDevelopment, Maplesoft.

The alliance with MapleSoft is not B&R's first ventureinto connecting simulation and automation. The company also has a relationship withMathworks, using Simulink to transfer automatically generated source codes to machinecontrol systems. To enable this, B&R created Automation Studio Target forSimulink, which gives product and systems designers an interface though whichto connect B&R's Automation Studio with Mathworks' MatLab, Simulink and Stateflowsoftware.

Youcan access an article explaining how OEMs can use Automation Studio forSimulink to generate PLC source code here.

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