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To:                  Subscribers PLCopen Newsletter

Subject:           PLCopen newsletter November 2011



Welcome to the PLCopen electronic newsletter.

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PLCopen Newsletter - Issue November 2011



1.      PLCopen releases Part 5 of the Motion Control Specifications

2.      Kick-off meeting for PLCopen and OPC Foundation on Manufacturing Execution System (MES) connectivity, November 17

3.      Strong support for PLCopen XML specification

4.      New PLCopen Motion Control certifications

5.      PLCopen at SPS/IPC/Drives in Nuremberg, Germany



1. PLCopen releases Part 5 of the Motion Control Specifications


The suite of PLCopen Motion Control Specifications has been extended with the release of Part 5.


Part 5 – Homing Procedures – enables users to create their dedicated homing procedures by combining harmonized functionalities. “This is like a set of Lego building blocks, with which a machine builder can easily create its own dedicated homing procedures”, says Eelco van der Wal, Managing Director of PLCopen.


The success of the PLCopen Motion Control started with the release of the first specification in November 2001. Feedback from both users and implementers resulted in an update in 2005, Version 1.1. Also in 2005 the first release of Part 2 – Extensions, was published. This year both parts were integrated in the Version 2.0, adding also new functionalities.


The new specification can be downloaded from our website


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2. Kick-off meeting for PLCopen and OPC Foundation on Manufacturing Execution System (MES) connectivity, November 17


PLCopen and OPC Foundation cooperate on Manufacturing Execution System (MES) connectivity, defined as the integration of machine and process data for utilisation by MES based on OPC UA and PLCopen.


“We are glad that SAP and also organizations like VDMA and ZVEI are supporting this initiative” says Stefan Hoppe, President OPC Foundation Europe. “MES experts will influence the content and connectivity which is handled via OPC UA and IEC 61131-3 technologies. Within short time all major players from controller and MES manufacturers signed to support the new group” Stefan adds.


“With the basic cooperation between PLCopen and OPC Foundation in place, and the first results of the coupling of IEC 61131-3 Software model to OPC UA available, this is the next logical step” adds Rene Simon as chairman of PLCopen. “This will definitely change the connectivity in the plants” Rene adds.


For MES connectivity two aspects are therefore of essential significance:


a.   How does the communication take place?

The use of proprietary protocols for accessing a diverse range of machines is no longer appropriate. The application of international communication standards enables identical access mechanisms for different equipment from different suppliers and communication between the devices. This facilitates interoperability and makes the communication more efficient. Safety concepts and authorization mechanisms also play a significant role, particularly in an MES context.


b.   What is communicated?

Key factors not only include the specification of which process data and measured values are used for the calculation and what they mean. Further considerations include how they have to be determined and which specific sources these values provide. The aim is to create a common and integrated understanding of the exchanged information.


This working group consists of controller and MES manufacturers as well as users and system integrators for the MES integration of process, production, system and machine data. Also other organizations like ZVEI and VDMA are involved.


The aims of this joint working group focus on two main topics:

1. Definition of communication mechanisms via OPC UA for MES integration

2. Definition of the semantics for MES integration


Based on the OPC UA communication mechanisms any desired information can be exchanged between the control level and MES systems. It is assumed that the content can be adjusted on a project-specific basis in the products (e.g. controllers). For example, in an IEC 61131-3 based control system the controller programmer can define the content and program the processes through suitable data structures and function blocks.

Nevertheless, it makes sense to define the content further. To this end, common semantics that are understandable for all participants are defined and specified with the aid of clear information model definitions. Where appropriate, generic profiles with general key data can be found or defined with sector-specific profiles. These profiles can then be realised through a standardised PLCopen block library, for example.

In this context the focus should be on synchronisation with other activities for specifying key data and MES interface content.


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3. Strong support for PLCopen XML specification


Although perhaps not on the forefront of the PLCopen activities, the XML schema as created by PLCopen is certainly still going strong and not only via AutomationML. Many machine builders have to integrate different software tools within their whole automation project. Different tools to support different requirements, different views to the project, and serve different needs of different people. This results in the need to assemble the project from different sources. Sources like I/O lists coming from lay-out tools, dedicated configuration tools, basic requirements generated by specification and project tools, to name a few.


“The need for support in the real-life products of the XML specification is growing” says Eelco van der Wal, Managing Director of PLCopen. “I am therefore very glad to be able to announce that several crucial companies are already supporting the latest version or are about to support this” he adds.


This is related to the following companies:


·        3S with their product CoDeSys, since SP4 of July 2011 for Structured Text, FBD and most of their IO configuration. SFC will follow early next year while Ladder is in implementation.

·        logi.cals, with their products logi.CAD, supporting V1.x and V2.01 for export and V1.x for import; logi.DOC, supporting V1.x and V2.01 for export and V1.x for import; and logi.SIL, supporting V2.01.

·        KW-Software has been supporting PLCopen XML for all languages for both import and export with their MULTIPROG products since 2007. Support for Version 2.01 will be included in the course of new product releases in 2012.


With PLCopen XML supported in the products of these independent software suppliers, the number of supported suppliers will effectively be much larger. And with that, a critical mass will have been reached.


The PLCopen Technical Committee (TC6) - XML opened up the IEC 61131-3 development environments by specifying an XML schema for this. As such it provides an open interface to other software tools. PLCopen TC6 published their first XML schema and documentation in June 2005 as version 1.01. After that, feedback came in from companies starting to implement this specification, not only from Europe but also from Japan. End of 2008 the update of the PLCopen XML Specification was released, based on the additional requirements from the organization AutomationML, strongly supporting software specification and simulation tools.


The specification can be downloaded from our website


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4. New PLCopen Motion Control certifications


Two of our members have been awarded the PLCopen Motion Control Certificate for their products. These companies are:

·        Omron Corporation, for their product Machine Automation Controller, NJ-series, Automation Software, Sysmac Studio

·        Mitsubishi Electric Europe B.V., for their product L Serie LD77MH4 simple motion module, GX Works2


This brings the total number of certified companies to 26 and of certified products to 38.


The product of Omron also complies with Part 4 – Coordinated Motion – of the suite of PLCopen Motion Control specifications.


For more information please check our website


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5. PLCopen at SPS/IPC/Drives in Nuremberg, Germany, November 22-24


Please visit the PLCopen booth at the coming SPS/IPC/Drives in Nuremberg, Germany.

You will find us in Hall 7, booth number 291.


To learn more on the PLCopen activities mentioned above, please join us at the Vendor Presentation at the Forum of ZVEI on Wednesday November 23, at 18:00 in Hall 8-504.


For more information on the SPS/IPC/Drives itself, check their website, or go to and register with the number 110152397 for your complimentary entry ticket.


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Kind regards,


Eelco van der Wal

Managing Director PLCopen


PO Box 3009

NL 4200 EA Gorinchem, the Netherlands

tel.: +31-183-660261

fax: +31-183-664821