PLCopen 30 years, and the PLC over 50 years
The PLC has changed. In its 50 years of existence, it changed from a big, clumsy heavy rack sized unit (however modular and rugged) to small flexible and low-cost devices, that despite their smaller format have of course a lot more performance.
It has changed from strict logic to the combination of logic, motion, and safety, both in the development environment as in the controller. And, on top of that, the ever more important communication and exchange.
Also the software has changed: from a couple of rungs of ladder diagram, to a massive number of different functionalities linked together with structuring tools, different programming languages and an ever-increasing libraries of function blocks.
The PLC has changed from a stand-alone unit to a key part of an automation solution. It has moved into the drives, in embedded controllers, in trucks, in farming equipment, and a lot of other places beyond the classical industrial automation. The PLC is more alive than ever, and it is here to stay!
Along with the PLC, PLCopen developed as well. From an organization focussing on increasing the acceptance of the international standard for programming languages IEC 61131-3 in the industrial control field, to the the leading vendor and product independent worldwide association for topics related to industrial control programming that is is nowadays.
Join us on a view of 30 years PLCopen:
It is very clear that in the future we will be even more dependent on software. And this software will be in more and more application areas, with possible new areas that we are not aware of now. Who would have imagined the impact of the smart phone in its 15 years of existence? Or of Google in its 20 years of existence? Or of Amazon or Facebook? Or even of a software driven car like Tesla makes them?
With the growth of the capabilities and functionalities in the IT domain at such a high pace, the impact on industrial automation is imminent. How will it look? Certain initiatives like Industry 4.0, Industrial IoT, and Made in China 2025 already show clearly that the role of software will become even more prominent, or even at the core of the new business models that will arise. Communication is key, but also a key target for sabotaging actions, so the security, and aligned safety gets to the forefront. New ways of communication make new architectures possible, creating new business opportunities that were not possible before. We have to think about new flexible solutions providing new business models, new ways of serving the market and new ways of production.
PLCopen will continue to support these trends with its focus on global harmonization. The PLCopen organization offers a solid base, now and in the future, for harmonizing principle technological challenges and a platform for members to work on these.