Hello! I'm the CTO of Inxton! More than a decade ago my pet project turned into a full-time job - INXTON. Now I'm on a mission to bring industrial automation and information technologies together.
So, what do PLC systems need in order to walk alongside IT technologies?
First of all, bringing the performance of PLC systems up to a satisfactory level is needed, especially in their ability to communicate with IT technologies. Many implementations of OPC interfaces for traditional PLC systems are far below the needs of manufacturers that require data-based applications.
The second important element is making use of new programming methods, mostly object-oriented programming. Object extension brings a new paradigm that requires some changes to the approach of programmers. Although object-oriented programming is not a cure-all, it brings value in the form of a program's ability to map physical parts of devices on program objects.
Another important aspect of object programming is the ability to modify behavior and properties through inheritance as well as an abstraction through interfaces. Both of these features allow for efficient componentization that is not possible with procedural programming. The right approach to componentization has a direct impact on the time and cost of program development.
Even though the implementation of object extension is standardized (IEC-61131-3), most PLC system manufacturers have not implemented this feature.
Part one: Rise of the PLC systems
Part two: PLCs are challenged
Part three: Different ways. Different results.
Part four: Tools matter. What can Australian natives teach us about modern PLCs?
Part five: Will Industry 4.0 save us?
Part six: How to get out of this?
Part seven: Why Beckhoff?
Part eight: Unlimited programming