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Software generates IEC 61131 code for PLCs

20 March, 2010

The US software developer, The MathWorks, has announced a product that generates IEC 61131 structured text for PLCs (programmable logic controllers) and PACs (programmable automation controllers). The Simulink PLC Coder software will allow model-based design of equipment controlled by PLCs and PACs.

Using the software, engineers can generate code for industrial control systems, including closed-loop and supervisory control applications, automatically. The Mathworks says that this will help to eliminate errors associated with traditional hand-coding, as well as cutting development and validation time.

“Industrial automation is a competitive field as companies continuously seek ways to innovate and develop more complex mechatronic industrial systems,” says Tony Lennon, industrial automation and machinery industry manager at The MathWorks. “Our customers recognise that model-based design with automatic code generation is the best way to design and validate these complex systems that span electrical, mechanical and control system domains.”

Simulink PLC Coder generates source code in structured text format from Simulink models, stateflow charts, and embedded Matlab code, and then uses a development environment from an automation vendor to compile the code and run it on a PLC or PAC.

The MathWorks is working with industrial automation vendors, including Rockwell Automation and B&R Industrial Automation, to help users integrate model-based design into equipment development.

“By collaborating with The MathWorks, our customers gain the ability to use model-based design for developing PAC applications, enhancing machine performance,” says Jason Weber, strategic alliance manager at Rockwell Automation. “Model-based design aligns closely with our virtual design and production strategy, which allows customers to speed time-to-market, reduce engineering costs and further validate machines before production.”

According to Philip Wallner, lead developer for mechatronics technologies at B&R, “model-based design opens a new development approach for customers validating the integration of electromechanical and control systems for industrial equipment. Automatic code generation speeds up testing and deployment to the final system.

“Simulink PLC Coder complements B&R Automation Studio Target for Simulink,” Wallner adds, “letting our customers chose between generating structured text and C-code, depending on the needs of their application.”

US list prices for Simulink PLC Coder start at $10,000.

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