25 Jul 2024


Automation software aims to cut costs and time-to-market

Following a phase of testing with pilot customers around the world, B&R Automation is releasing the latest generation of its Automation Studio engineering software. The software has been designed to meet three goals: keeping quality high, engineering costs low and time-to-market short.

The Automation Studio 4 software, which was previewed at the SPS/IPC/Drives show in Germany late last year, is intended to simplify the engineering of structured software architectures.

A new System Designer tool, allows hardware to be configured faster, with fewer errors, using a visual editor and lifelike representations of hardware components. It includes an automated plausibility check and configures basic parameter settings as well as offering functions for re-using parts of a system.

A bidirectional interface with Eplan’s Electric P8 software allows developers to integrate ECAD projects with hardware configurations designed in Automation Studio. This reduces the amount of work needed and eliminates errors that can arise from having two sets of master data. Similar interfaces to simulation software allow applications to be generated automatically from simulation data to test development results at an early stage.

Support for project modularity makes it possible to split individual projects into a series of autonomous modules. A team of software engineers can work on these modules simultaneously and load them to the hardware separately. This concurrent engineering not only shortens development times, but also makes it easier to include external developers in the process and to re-use parts of the system that have already been tested. 

Communication via OPC Unified Architecture ensures compatibility with systems from other manufacturers. Direct support of Web technologies makes it easier to develop visualisation, process control and remote maintenance applications.

Object-oriented programming in Automation Studio 4 has become more efficient thanks to a function called SmartEdit that generates context-related suggestions from function libraries and existing program sections. Visualisation templates also accelerate user interface design.