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TC2 – Motion Control



Based on application requirements and project specifi­cations engineers are required to use or select a wide range of motion control hardware. In the past this required unique software to be created for each application even though the functions are the same.  PLCopen motion standard provide a way to have standard application libraries that are reusable for multiple hardware platforms. This lowers development, maintenance, and support costs while eliminating confusion. In addition, engineering becomes easier, training costs decrease, and the software is reusable across platforms. Effectively, this standardization is done by defining libraries of reusable components. In this way the programming is less hardware dependent, the reusability of the application software increased, the cost involved in training and support reduced, and the application becomes scalable across different control solutions. Due to the data hiding and encapsulation, it is usable on different architectures, for instance ranging from centralized to distributed or integrated to networked control. It is not specifically designed for one application, but will serve as a basic layer for ongoing definitions in different areas. As such it is open to existing and future technologies.

Overview of the results

Currently the suite of PLCopen Motion Control Specifications consist of the following parts:

Part 1 - Function Blocks for Motion Control
 Part 2 - Extensions ( in the new release 2.0 merged with Part 1)
Part 3 - User Guidelines
Part 4 - Coordinated Motion
Part 5 - Homing Procedures
Part 6 - Fluid Power Extensions

Part 1 – Function Blocks for Motion Control , version released in April 2005 as version 1.1. and implemented in over 30 products. Version 2.0 (merge of Part 1 and Part 2) released in March 2011.

Part 2 – Extensions, containing additional function blocks. Released September 2005 as version 1.0.

Part 3 - User Guidelines, showing guidelines and examples for users. Released February 2013 as version 2.0.

Part 4 – Coordinated Motion, focused to the coordinated multi-axes motion in 3D space. Released December 2008 as version 1.0 

Part 5 - Homing Procedures, as extension of the homing function block as defined in Part 1, as well as the description of a general homing software tool to add additional homing modes for applications not yet covered. Released as version 2.0 in November 2011.

Part 6 - Fluid Power Extensions. A new initiative, started in June 2009, to optimize programming and integration of fluid power devices and systems by defining function blocks employing PLCopen standardization and modular methodology. Released as version 2.0 in November 2011

Basically every specification contains 3 sections:

definition of the state machine
definition of a basic set of FBs for single axis multi-axes motion control
compliance rules and statement

Definition of the state machine

See Part 1 and part 2. 


Function Blocks Definitions

See Part 1 and part 2. 



Included in the specification are the rules for compliance and certification. Basically this is a self-certification, from which the results per supplier are published on the PLCopen website. Certified companies are allowed to use the logo below, with additional number, date and number of supported compliant function blocks:


The publication of the specification and the first implementations clearly showed that the multi-axes implementation certainly fits within the framework as defined by the IEC 61131-3 standard.

With many implementations becoming available, motion control will never be the same: more hardware independence give the users less training costs, and the possibility to create application software that is usable on a number of different targets more easily, and targets which can be selected in a later phase of the overall machine development cycle. This brings a higher efficiency and reduces costs during development, maintenance and training.


More information

Click here for a marketing introduction.

Download specifications.

Download Application Examples with PLCopen Motion Control.

Presentations on Motion Control.

Compliance Statements of Suppliers.

Logic, Motion and Safety. The combination of logic, motion, and safety in one environment provides the user with a harmonized view to the overall application in one software environment, for both the safety and the functional applications. The document is published April 2008 as version 0.41.