Automation integration and configuration platform supports software and hardware platforms

B&R’s Automation Studio assists with efficient software code generation, smart device integration, and safety.
March 30, 2011

B&R Automation Studio is an integrated software development environment that contains tools for all phases of a project. The controller, drive, communication, and visualization can all be configured in one environment. That reduces both integration time and maintenance costs.

B&R’s Automation Studio assists with efficient software code generation, smart device integration, and safety.For example, conventional solutions for automatic code generation in Matlab and Simulink are based solely on MathWorks‘ Real-Time Workshop. B&R also offers the possibility of generating even more efficient and easier-to-read source code based on the Real-Time Workshop Embedded Coder. Source code generated in this manner requires less of the available processing power and memory, creating conditions for efficient high-performance algorithms on the target system.

Moreover, the automatically generated source code is clearly structured and documented. B&R says this makes it ideal for use in critical applications with validation or certification requirements. "Real-Time Workshop Embedded Coder has TÜV Süd certification and meets the IEC guidelines relevant to model-based design," says Tom Erkkinen, embedded applications manager at MathWorks.

Another example for working with hardware involves using FDT/DTM technology for fieldbus device integration. Functionality is now available that harmonizes communication and configuration of fieldbus devices from various manufacturers, independent of the bus system used. Automation Studio is equipped with a universal Field Device Tool (FDT) container for linking any Device Type Manager (DTM) using a plug-in interface. Fieldbus devices delivered with a DTM can be easily integrated directly into the control system topology.

Embedding the device manufacturer’s graphic interface in Automation Studio simplifies its configuration and diagnosis. This reduces project setup and commissioning time to a minimum. Transparent integration of the I/O data was a main focus during the implementation of this technology in Automation Studio. Using integration in the B&R system, data points are linked with the program’s logical process variables in the same manner as with B&R modules.  For the application, this takes the focus off of the fieldbus being used. This seamless integration provides investment security for the software by ensuring that any future changes to the fieldbus won’t affect the application.

Manual re-programming after replacing a fieldbus device is now eliminated thanks to centralized storage of device parameters on the PLC. The controller automatically loads the necessary configuration data onto the new device. This reduces service time and makes on-site maintenance much easier because no programming tools are needed for the process.

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Edited by Peter Welander,