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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.

Collaborating on solutions: Made with PLCnext Technology at Gutshof-Brauerei Rethmar


Craft Beer is trending. More and more small gastro and home breweries are being founded worldwide.  The aim is to revive the traditional beer market with new and innovative creations, by consciously distinguishing oneself from the global mainstream. Intensively hopped beers with unique tastes are created. Many of these recipes are developed and optimized by hand. Ultimately, after achieving a satisfactory result, the aim is to make the recipe as easy to reproduce as possible. Then there is no getting around the topic of automation.

Upgrading to future technologies: Made with PLCnext Technology in the power plant in Huntorf


What many people do not know is that Germany is home to a unique power plant -- and not only since today, but going all the way back to the year 1978. The Huntorf power plant is a combined compressed air storage and gas turbine power plant, which is still the only one of its kind in Europe. The power plant uses the working medium of air to store surplus electricity from, for example, wind energy in large underground taverns under high pressure and to release it back into the power grid at a later time. In this way, the compressed air storage system makes a significant contribution to maintaining grid stability. Using this method, the power plant can generate an output of 320 megawatts for several hours. Whereas in the past there was a permanent staff on the site, the plant is now designed to operate with virtually no staff, which means that the operator monitors the power plant remotely to perform switching operations.

In times of climate change, this power plant plays an increasingly important role because renewable energy is often difficult to store. When Huntorf began operation in 1978, the Walkman had just come onto the market. It has now been completely replaced by the smartphone. But why throw away an entire power plant - if you can easily upgrade it to future technologies?

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.

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