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Soft-PLC cuts hardware costs with Profinet support

15 March, 2007

The Austrian automation software developer Copa-Data has released a soft-PLC that supports real-time Profinet communications via Ethernet hardware, thus avoiding the need for costly Profibus connectors and terminations. The Straton soft-PLC allows control engineers to cut system costs by using a "soft" Profinet server and standard CAT5 cables and connectors instead of dedicated fieldbus hardware.

The capabilities of this software were demonstrated at last Novemberís SPS/IPC/Drives show in Nuremberg, where a Straton soft-PLC acting as a Profinet controller was linked via a 200m-long Ethernet cable to a Profinet slave hosted by Wago I/O modules. This was used to control a display of blinking digital outputs remotely.

One beneficiary of the new Profinet support is the car-maker BMW which already uses Copa-Dataís zenOn SCADA/HMI software at its plants worldwide. At present, it needs gateways to collect plant data, but with the Straton soft-PLC integrated into the zenOn SCADA software, it will get direct access to the data via Profinet.

Straton has been developed by a Copa-Data subsidiary, Copalp. It supports all five IEC 61131-3 languages.

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