Standard equipment: Yaskawa introduces mechatronic control system compatible with IEC 61131-3, PLCopen
Yaskawa Electric America released MotionWorks IEC Mechatronic Control System, which is compatible with both the IEC 61131-3 and PLCopen control programming standards. “International standards are extremely important for our OEM customers,” said John Payne, vice president for research and development at Yaskawa. Payne pointed out that use of standards improves communication compatibility for system integrators who work in multi-vendor environments and makes complex control systems more accessible for maintenance technicians who have to keep them running and for operators who have to use them.
“Customers drive the move toward standards,” Payne continued, stating that machine builders demand access to the best-in-class equipment for each component and only industry-wide standards can assure availability. In the absence of such standards, OEM customers must choose between equally unpleasant alternatives. Recognizing that no one company can provide the best solutions for all elements, customers can choose one vendor who provides best-in-class solutions for one or some control-system elements. That vendor’s solutions will all work together, but may not provide the best possible overall solution. Perhaps that vendor provides the best motor and drive combinations for >50 hp. The user interface might, for example, be clumsy. In such a case, the customer is left with either shoring up the poor performance of the compatible off-the-shelf components, or accepting sub-optimal system performance. An alternative is to insist on best-in-class solutions for all system elements. But in this example, users must cobble together patches or work-arounds to pass control information among incompatible elements. A standards-based approach, such as that taken by Yaskawa, will offer the best of both worlds. “We have invested R&D resources in supporting with the IEC 61131-3 and PLCopen control programming standards because we recognize that OEM customers will ultimately favor vendors who do so,” Payne says.