Schneider Automation seeks patent for using XML in a PLC

Schneider Automation applied for a patent on Feb. 7, 2002, for web function blocks in PLCs. So far, it's unclear if this action affects Schneider's recent donation to the PLCopen organization of its XML sources for converting graphical PLC languages to XML format [as reported on May 14 on the Daily News Desk at Control Engineering Online at www.

06/01/2002


Schneider Automation applied for a patent on Feb. 7, 2002, for web function blocks in PLCs. So far, it's unclear if this action affects Schneider's recent donation to the PLCopen organization of its XML sources for converting graphical PLC languages to XML format [as reported on May 14 on the Daily News Desk at Control Engineering Online at www.controleng.com ].

PLCopen, located at www.plcopen.org , is the main proponent organization for the IEC 61131 standard for programming PLCs. The 61131-3 section describes five languages for programming control. As a result of Schneider's donation, PLCopen has established a technical committee to develop a standard.

Neither organization has responded to requests for information by Control Engineering as to what impact a potential patent would have for a standard meant to be adopted by the industry.

Specifically, the patent application "relates to a communication system for automation equipment on a TCP/IP network. It controls an automation application by executing an application program written according to standard IEC 61131-3.

"The communication system comprises at least a reception WEB function block integrated into the application program to implement a WEB server function and/or at least one send WEB function block integrated into the application program to implement a WEB client function and an HTTP interface capable of routing messages between the TCP/IP network and WEB function blocks identified by a URL address. The contents of HTTP requests may be an XML frame or a URL-encoded frame."


Author Information
Gary Mintchell, senior editor gmintchell@cahners.com




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