Adopting the AutomationML provides consistent data exchange
Mitsubishi Electric has implemented AutomationML within its iQ Works integrated software programming suite. Adopting the AutomationML open standard simplifies complex equipment design, installation and maintenance. Hence AutomationML provides consistent data exchange between electrical wiring and control software.
Production systems regularly adapt to meet changes in demand, thus leading to reengineering and reconfiguration of hardware and software components. This impacts on all planning phases, disciplines and corresponding tools and systems.
The goal is interconnection of the range of modern engineering tools used by different disciplines. These includes mechanical plant engineering, electrical design, HMI development, PLC, CNC, robot control. Hence there is a reduction in both costs and lead time, and fewer errors.
AutomationML provides consistent data exchange
AutomationML (Automation Markup Language) provides a neutral data format based on XML for storing and exchanging plant engineering information. It describes real plant components as objects encapsulating different aspects. An object can consist of other sub-objects and can itself be part of a bigger composition. It can describe a screw, a claw, a robot or a complete manufacturing cell in different levels of detail.
Achieving interoperability and a seamless integration requires the efficient import and export of the data. The key to this interoperability is the transfer of data in an efficient way, and without loss. Furthermore, OPC UA, as an existing and already present communication standard in the automation level provides this.
Another important aspect is the collaboration and integration with other existing (companion) specifications. For example, OPC UA for devices, OPC UA for IEC62264 (ISA95), OPC UA for FDI, OPC UA for IEC61131-3 (PLCOpen).
Implementing a universal interface for the automatic exchange of data between software environments ensure consistency of information throughout the lifecycle of a project and fulfils today’s requirements to shorten time to market.
Designers, integrators and end-users will enjoy a streamlined approach to system implementation. This will drive down costs and shorten time to market. Additionally, ensuring seamless information flow between different systems is also a key driver. It is significant in the digital transformation of manufacturing on the journey to Industry 4.0.
Mitsubishi e-f@ctory Alliance
Showing this in practice, Mitsubishi Electric has worked with e-F@ctory Alliance partner Eplan. They implemented data exchange of hardware configurations using the open standard. Hence it enabled them to exchange I/O tags and network configurations between iQ Works and Eplan Electric P8.
Finally, the interface ensures interoperability from first design, through engineering processes and commissioning. In addition, it continues through the whole lifecycle management of the automation system.
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