Many brands, one software

What is PLC-PROG?

Ladder Logic is still the language of choice for most PLC-programmers and it is used in the ‘traditional’ way, without the use of new ‘object oriented’ capabilities that the IEC- 61131-3 standard provides. However, common paradigms (Ladder Diagram, Grafcet, etc.) have currently reached their limits, as modern industry requires more agile PLC- programs. Currently, PLCs must not only control the installation (which may include multiple processes running in parallel), they must also support an interactive dialogue with operators, and need to exchange data with other control equipment or the Internet. In addition, complex programs developed with, for example, Ladder Logic diagrams, easily extend beyond several pages of graphical code or are so obscure that they become unusable. Ladder Diagrams were not designed for these complex requirements, causing significant software development problems: weak software structure, low levels of software re-use, poor data structure, limited support for sequencing, limited execution control, cumbersome arithmetic operations and no native support for external visualisation and communications. This means two main drawbacks: 1) Programming costs are extremely high in terms of time efforts for the development and maintenance, and 2) Security of the PLC operation is very difficult to guarantee due to the difficulties in verification of Ladder-based programs (highly relevant for industrial applications).

In order to solve all these limitations, the consortium is developing a new and innovative PLC brand independent programming tool called PLC-PROG. This tool defines a new paradigm for programming PLCs based on a friendly interface where the user just needs to drag and drop graphical objects for constructing complex programs.  The main innovations the PLC-PROG editor software will incorporate are the following: