The independent association PLCopen was founded in 1992 just after the programming standard IEC 61131-3 (originally 1131-3) was introduced. At that time the controller market was a very heterogeneous market with different types of programming methods for many different PLCs. Today, IEC 61131-3 is a highly accepted programming standard and many industrial software and hardware companies offer products based on this standard, which in the end are used in many different machinery and other application fields.
PLCopen has members from all fields of the industry and together we concentrate on technical specifications enhancing the IEC 61131-3 standard in order to reduce costs in industrial engineering. This resulted in standardized libraries for different application fields (Motion Control and Safety functionality), harmonized language conformity levels, engineering interfaces for exchange (XML based data exchange format) and transparent communication (mapping to the OPC Unified Architecture).
Since its foundation, PLCopen has grown into a professional worldwide association headquartered in Europe (The Netherlands) and with offices in the USA, Japan, China and Korea.
Software plays an ever-increasing role in industrial automation. This results in an increase of the software costs even to the point that it becomes the highest part of the total system. To control these costs, one needs higher efficiency during the application development, while increasing the software quality. PLCopen and IEC 61131-3 provide a basis for this. We enable faster application development, faster commissioning time and reduced life cycle costs. We are able to accomplish this by being a platform of cooperation for our members.
Also in the future the practical automation tasks will be challenged by new industry demands and new products and PLCopen will remain focusing on global harmonization. It is very clear that we will become even more dependent on software. And the software will probably be in new areas that we are not aware of now. Certain initiatives like Industry 4.0, Industrial IoT and Made in China 2025 already show the prominent role of software. Communication is key and new ways of communication make new architectures possible, creating new business opportunities that were not possible before. PLCopen will continue to support these trends.
Have a look at 25 years of PLCopen.