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Python in industrial automation


Yuri Chamarelli

Lead Product Marketing Specialist


When we start the conversation about which programming languages to use for industrial automation use cases, we usually begin by talking about IEC 61131-3 languages for PLCs, such as the classic Ladder Diagram (LD) or Structured Text (ST). For applications like robotics, we often see compiled, low-level programming languages like those found in the C family.

Until very recently, nobody was talking about using Python on the factory floor. What’s changed to make an interpreted, high-level language become suddenly appealing? Python code typically runs slower than a compiled language that’s closer to machine code, and it’s certainly not up to the task of real-time control, which is a major sticking point when developing industrial systems.

5 THings your PLC can't do but should


Dipl.-Ing. Boris Waldeck

Senior Project Manager Software


Today, the comprehensive protection of machines and systems against unauthorized access is an important requirement for automation systems. Is it enough here to extend devices with security functions? Or is security a function of the entire automation solution? The IEC 62443 standard specifies the security processes and functions required for this. Read the following blog post to find out what you need to consider when implementing this standard in your automation system.

The worldwide security standard IEC 62443 aims for a holistic approach to cyber security in automation technology. For this purpose, it describes three roles (operator, integrator and component manufacturer) and defines the necessary measures. For all roles, security-by-design proves to be an essential framework condition. The IEC 62443 series of standards consists of 13 parts in which the security requirements for processes, the functional measures and the state of the art are specified for each role

When developing automation devices, their function can only be secured through security-by-design. Once the foundation has been laid, the security of the individual integration phases defined in IEC 62443 is transformed into a secure-by-design solution that is suitable for numerous use cases.

5 THings your PLC can't do but should


Christian Vilsbeck



Open Source is of central importance for Industry 4.0 and IoT. Powerful and open control platforms use an open source Linux as a basis. The openness enables the use of free software for individual control tasks or applications. This minimizes not only the development costs and risks, but also increases flexibility for changing production conditions and makes complexity manageable by using existing solutions. The advantages outweigh when important basic conditions are taken into account.

5 THings your PLC can't do but should


Marcel Luhmann

Technology Manager


In current time it's hard to find skilled staff for automation engineering. The challenges in automation are getting more and more complex. The way to meet these challenges is equally complex and different than in the past. Due to the complexity, automation engineers get an even wider range of tasks like maintenance and support.

5 THings your PLC can't do but should


Zachary Stank

Product Manager Control, Safety, I/Os


Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) are extremely common across a variety of industries, including manufacturing, oil/gas, and transportation. Essentially, they are just another type of computer. Though they differ from PCs in many ways, Machine Design provides a succinct definition that highlights their differences: “a programmable logic controller is a digital computer designed for automation and industrial controls. It was created to resist to a wide range of operating conditions, including temperature, pressure, electrical noises, and vibrations. The most important feature that truly led to its success is that it is a hard real-time system.”

A PLC collects inputs, analyzes them with its internal logic, and then creates outputs based on that analysis. It repeats this cycle ad infinitum, all the while withstanding harsh environments. This makes PLCs dependable tools, and so businesses around the world rely on them in production environments.

Everything, however, has a limit. PLCs are no different. In fact, as we move towards Industrie 4.0 with the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), these limitations are becoming even more pronounced.

These are the top five things that PLCs can’t do.

Safety and Industry 4.0


Steffen Horn

Master Specialist Safety Technology, PLCnext Technology


Functional safety is a property of a machine or system that guarantees that it does not pose an unacceptable risk to human health during operation. Dangers can arise, for example, at direct physical human-machine interfaces due to unforeseeable or undetected technical faults in the machine. Organizational and technical measures of functional safety are designed to avoid systematic errors during development and to detect and control random errors (e.g. due to hardware failures) during operation at an early stage. This article describes the challenges related to industry 4.0 and the resulting opportunities for functional safety, based on the principles of functional safety and its design principles.

Anomaly Detection


Alexander von Birgelen M.Sc.

Software Engineer


No manual programming of complex rules and algorithms


In automation, the use of machine learning is becoming increasingly widespread, with the application often focusing on already familiar subject areas: Condition Monitoring (CM) and Predictive Maintenance (PM). In a use case, data from normal plant operation is used to learn a model that, compared with live data, indicates anomalies and indicates wear.

Hello world


Anne Breuer, M.A.

PLCnext Technology  / Technical Documentation


A virus shakes the world and the world as we know it is now a different one. The changes affect our everyday life, our work and private life, our plans for the future and sometimes our view of the past. We are facing new challenges. Challenges for which we do not yet have solutions. What really matters now is above all: technology and kindness.

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