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What's right for your application?


Ira Sharp Jr.

Director of Product Marketing- Automation Phoenix Contact


Programmable logic controllers are one of the wizards behind the curtain of industrial automation. Until recently, these digital mainstays were almost exclusively in the domain of people working directly in the service and manufacturing industries. That, however; has changed as the maker movement, an offshoot of the DIY trend, has gained traction. 

Not only have more affordable alternatives to traditional PLCs like Raspberry Pi and Arduino become available, there has been a rise of maker communities for novices and also a growing demand for experts in the robotics process automation market. Industrial PLCs and their consumer product counterparts are key to helping makers of all levels of expertise bring their ideas and inventions to life. 

Safety meets Security


Marcel Luhmann

Technology Manager


In the IT sector, especially in software development, containerization is a major trend. It is a lightweight alternative or companion to virtualization. Developers can speed up their processes without the need to keep an eye on the application’s target environment. This is done by encapsulation of the software and all its dependencies. Hence, the software runs uniformly and consistently on any IT infrastructure. With this, software becomes easily portable which reduces errors and improves quality. Furthermore, encapsulation brings quota management of system resources per container. Besides, this method is very secure,since all interfaces must be precisely defined. These advantages can not only be used in IT but also in the industrial automation world.

Safety meets Security


Arno Martin Fast

Product Manager Digital Services


The trend towards digitization involves both opportunities and risks for the industry because digitization requires large computing power and storage capacities. Industrial cloud computing enables companies to process and evaluate the growing volumes of data in order to optimize the entire value chain.

When talking about cloud computing, it is assumed that there is a connection to the cloud via the internet. However, in many applications data must be collected, checked and fed back into the process in very short cycles. In such a scenario, a public cloud solution would not be suitable because of the latency periods found on the internet. Edge or fog computing solutions are therefore increasingly being used in such applications. But how do these models differ? What are the advantages and disadvantages?

Safety meets Security


Anne Breuer

Technical Writer


Safety plays a central role in automation. In the past, the areas of safety and security could be considered separately. However, digitalization and the networked automation systems of Industry 4.0 are creating mutual dependencies that require a holistic concept. In the following article, you will learn more about what happens when safety meets security and what you should consider for a holistic concept.

Augmented Reality


Christian Vilsbeck



Augmented reality (AR) can make many processes in manufacturing even more efficient. Especially in complicated changeover processes or maintenance work, the technology offers high savings potential. The cost of implementation is usually still high, but the solutions are improving constantly. For an efficient rollout a flexible, powerful and open control platform in the field is recommended as a basic requirement.



Anne Breuer, Alexander Kost

Technical Writer, Robotics Engineer


Alexander Kost works as a robotics engineer in the manufacturing engineering interface department of Phoenix Contact Electronics GmbH in Bad Pyrmont. The future has already been at this place for a long time: Alexander Kost has successfully accompanied the introduction of two cobots into the production processes of electronics and plastics manufacturing, thus setting an important milestone on the way to digital production. He says: "From my view, the cobots are an enrichment for every production employee as well as for the company itself. They are a support for the employees and guarantee a future-oriented competitiveness. Cobots have the potential to make Germany more attractive again as a production location and bring back production from abroad. A cobot can also become an irreplaceable support when it comes to digitization because a cobot is usually equipped with the latest control and safety technology, which increases flexibility and mobility in productions and greatly simplifies programming in contrast to a conventional industrial robot".

Performing real-time: Made with PLCnext Technology at Schweizer Bundesbahnen


Weeds in the track bed are a problem for railroad tracks. Because of the strong root penetration, some plants grow very large, the track bed can become unstable, which would impair safety. For this reason, the weeds on the track must be regularly removed to ensure the operation of the train is safe. Currently the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) uses about 2.5 Tonnes of chemical herbicides such as glyphosate annually to control the unwanted growth. But in the context of sustainability issues in recent years, more and more hope has been put into digitalization. The goal: to automate and digitize weed killing and thus to dispense with chemicals.
Together with a team from SBB, Phoenix Contact has developed an application with PLCnext Technology which makes it possible to eliminate the future use of glyphosate.

Header PLCnext Community Business Case Combining programming languages chemical company TU Dresden

A chemical company, the Technical University of Dresden and Phoenix Contact: Research and industry, hardware and software. The project brings together three very different partners with different backgrounds and requirements for the project. The use case demonstrates how different components can be used to integrate a simple and suitable monitoring system that facilitates the exchange of data between man and machine.

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