1. Keys to Fast & Flexible Factory Automation
BY D. CARO & C. RESNICK NOVEMBER 28, 2001 ARC INSIGHTS# 2001-052MD
Factory Automation, PLCs, OPC, XML, Foundation Fieldbus, Ethernet/IP, Profibus
In recent years, the demands for increased productivity, more efficient processes, and
greater access to plant floor information have created a need for faster application devel-
opment and flexibility. These demands, however, often result in frustration with
existing control systems technology. In many applications such
In many industries such as material as material handling and packaging, processing speeds and
handling and packaging, processing throughput must be raised while simultaneously adding the
speeds and throughput must be raised
flexibility required for quick, continuous product changeovers
while simultaneously adding the
required for collaborative manufacturing. In applications that
flexibility required for quick, continuous
product changeovers required for require multiple control system elements, structured costs must
collaborative manufacturing. be lowered, system performance must be increased, and infor-
mation exchange must become easier.
Delivering faster application development and flexibility to the factory floor involves a
multitude of factors. This Insight focuses on three areas, faster application development
for PLCs, integration of diverse Ethernet networks, and exchange of enterprise data.
A Roadmap for More Rapid & Efficient Application Development
The biggest problem in building a PLC application is the totally unstructured program-
ming environment. Programs become “write-only” and are difficult to modify.
Spaghetti-code is almost required by design. A well-integrated development environ-
ment for PLC programs is badly needed.
Programming Language Abbreviation Description
Relay Ladder Logic RLL Graphical interconnection diagrams of pushbut-
tons and relay coils and contacts
Function Block Diagrams FBD Graphical interconnection diagrams of
Sequential Function Charts SFC Graphical state machine diagramming
Structured Text ST A programming language similar to PASCAL
Instruction List IL Sequentially executed commands
ENTERPRISE AND AUTOMATION STRATEGIES FOR INDUSTRY EXECUTIVES