PLCopen Software Construction Guidelines Released

The PLCopen industrial automation and control Coding Guidelines version 1.0 have been released and are available for Download.  The guidelines are useful for both new and experienced engineers and technicians to develop high quality industrial automation and control applications that are easy to maintain.  Development and maintenance of industrial automation and control software has become a significant part of the initial and lifecycle cost of projects.  The Coding Guidelines help users efficiently meet the increasing need for greater automation that requires more complex and larger programs.   Following the Coding Guidelines users will create high quality structured in reusable application code.  This first official version of the Coding Guidelines contains 63 rules for software programming, spread over different sections like: Naming Rules, Comment Rules, Coding Practice,  Languages, and even Vendor Specific IEC 61131-3 Extensions. These rules provide the basis for companies to develop internal guidelines and best practices tailored to their specific requirements.   The guidelines are  also very useful to train users and can be a good basis for universities to help them teach IEC 61131-3 programming more efficiently.

Additional working groups active under the Software Construction Guidelines will focus on the following topics:

Guidance for documentation in software programs
Software quality issues and software consistency
Software development process
Object orientation in the 3rd edition

The results of the different subgroups will be made available on the PLCopen website on an ongoing basis.



PLCopen Overview

Software standards are essential to achieve competitive manufacturing by leveraging the benefits of Industry 4.0, Smart Manufacturing, Industrial Internet of Things, and Internet of Things.  Since 1992 PLCopen vendor member companies have been committed to developing open industrial automation software standards to increase functionality while reducing engineering, training, operations, and maintenance costs.  PLCopen standards are valuable in a wide range of applications including large controllers to embedded devices.

PLCopen member companies understand locking customers into closed proprietary technology is not good for themselves, industry, or the customer.   This lesson has been learned in other industries including computer, cell phone, and consumer electronics.

PLCopen vendor member companies recognize they must have products that deliver superior value that make their customers successful.  

PLCopen certified function blocks are only available from PLCopen member companies and are certified to perform as defined in open specifications.  This insures function and quality leading to more efficient engineering, faster start-ups, and easier service.

PLCopen Vendor Member Products Advantages

Simplify Training
Increase Code Quality
Enable Code Reuse
Lower Software Maintenance Cost
Improve Documenting

Industry 4.0 – Industrial Internet of Things – Internet of Things (IoT)

Industry 4.0, Industrial Internet of Things, and Smart Factory applications are growing and implementation is simplified with PLCopen standards including OPC UA function blocks.   PLCopen industry standards improve automation system device interoperability and simplify sensor to enterprise, cloud, and Internet communications.

 Learning Resources

Programming Industrial Control Systems Using IEC 1131-3 (I E E Control Engineering Series) IEC 1131-3 programming methodology SPS-Standard: IEC 1131

IoT Manufacturing Business Value


Industry 4.0, Internet of Things (Iot), Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), and Smart Factory applications are fundamental for manufacturers to compete.  Implementation is simplified with PLCopen standards including OPC UA function blocks.   Theses open industry standards improve automation system device interoperability and simplify sensor to enterprise, cloud, and Internet communications.

This presentation was first delivered by Bill Lydon, Chairman – PLCopen North America at the OPC Foundation Information Revolution Conference held at Microsoft’s Redmond Campus. Bill Lydon is an experienced industrial, process control, and building automation professional with technology and business experience including product design, corporate experience, co-founder & president of a start-up company. Bill is an industry consultant, editor of and editor International Society of Automation InTech magazine.



IEC 61131 Basics

Learn about IEC 61131 and PLCopen functions which is implemented worldwide in virtually all industrial and process control devices and systems.